MeiLin's blog

Heads Up: Break Has Arrived (Updated)

  • Posted on: 25 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Remember when I said a while back that I'd need to take a couple of weeks off to earn some serious $$? Yeah, well, those weeks have arrived. Tomorrow's update will be the last for two weeks. I will still be around every day, checking on things, blogging, answering comments etc, but no story for two weeks. We have some bills that absolutely MUST be paid, and right now I'm lucky if two people contribute here a week. (This week's $50? Two contributors--three if you count the $9 we started with.) That's not a complaint, that's just the honest truth. I'm happy to get what I get, it's just not going to pay my bills at this rate (squee or no squee).

So bottom line:

Hiatus begins after tomorrow's update, 7/26/08

Hiatus will end on or around 8/11/08

Donations during the down time will still count toward a $50/wk target for an extra chapter, and will be especially blessed. Smile

Update: Do you have a poem, a drawing, an essay, that you want to contribute for the break? 10 x-points for each piece. I'll put them in the scheduler to be new every update day.

Today from the Flower Pot of Squee: The Blood Garden

  • Posted on: 25 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I grabbed an imp at random from the flower pot in my quest to get through trying all the CD scents before they go away. So far, out of all these scents, I've committed to bottles of Habu, Grindhouse, Australian Copperhead, Illustrated Woman and Torture Queen. I have no idea how I'm going to afford them. But somehow, it'll work out.

Today it's The Blood Garden:

Vast open tents have been erected further down the lane. Ornately carved wooden poles support swaths of drooping black lace and blood-crusted burgundy velvet. Grapevines and ivy creep over the beams in the tent and curl like cocoons around bodies that hang upside-down in the caliginous gloom of the tents. Within the shadows, pale figures recline on divans covered in moldering, frayed fabric. As you pass, a feral, white-haired man hoists a tall-stemmed crystal glass of deep red liquid in a toast to you.

Blood accord, bitter clove, English ivy, Tempranillo grape, red currant, oak, leather, blackberry leaf, and ginger lily.

In the imp: Grape and red currant.

Wet: Grape, currant, oak and leather.

Dry: Head shop.

Eh. Into the giveaway box. Which is actually a relief.

Today from the Mailbox of Squee: 13 (6/08)

  • Posted on: 23 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Every Friday the 13th, BPAL releases a new 13. Each of them is a little different. In June, we had a Friday the 13th, and for 24 hours a new 13 was available. It was described as:

In our paean to all the mysteries surrounding this enigmatic number, there are thirteen lucky and unlucky components, including white chocolate, dark chocolate, apple blossom, honeysuckle, frankincense, allspice, nutmeg, black tea, tonka, and sandalwood.

In the bottle: Chocolate! Light, bright chocolate, very sweet. I think the sweet is the honeysuckle and apple blossom.

Wet: Chocolate! Really sexy chocolate!

Dry: The chocolate evaporates over time, leaving a sweet, spicy scent. I smell the allspice especially, and the sandalwood (I amp sandalwood), the black tea, the tonka.

I'm so glad I gambled on a bottle!

Today from the Flower Pot of Squee: The Illustrated Woman

  • Posted on: 22 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Since I did Torture Queen yesterday, I suppose I'll do her companion, The Illustrated Woman, today:

Skin musk, smoky vanilla, pine pitch, patchouli, Indian resins, golden honey, and tobacco.

In the imp: Pine pitch and patchouli, maybe the resins.

Wet: Patchouli and tobacco. Very resiny and there was a weird, sickening whiff of floor soap--I think the pine.

Dry: Musk, vanilla, honey and tobacco. The resins and pine are gone and the patchouli has faded into the background.

Sir likes it. The drydown is splendid, four of my favorite notes together. This could also be a man's scent, again, on the right guy.

Web Fiction Guide

  • Posted on: 21 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Chris Poirier, Sonja Nitschke and a bunch of other web authors have gotten together to do the Web Fiction Guide, similar to Pages Unbound but easier to read (I'm not so much with the white-on-black text at Pages) and perhaps more useful in the end. It contains staff reviews as well as leaving room for readers to leave their reviews, thus making things a little more balanced than Pages where a single 10-star review can put a mediocre story at the top of the listings.

The staff review of the History was written by Sonja Nitschke and gives me four out of five stars. I'll take it. She notes the slow start (and I agree), and says she has a hard time relating to Temmin, that she finds him uninteresting. Fair enough. I hope you're enjoying book 2 then, Sonja, since we see a lot more of everyone else this time around. Some day I may rewrite book 1, but I think it's more likely I'll let it stand as an example of where I was when I started.

So here's the deal about WFG reviews, kids: I will add reviews there to the marketing target of every ten reviews earning a new chapter. Sonja's review doesn't count because it was an editorial review, not a reader review. Same rules apply as at Pages: Don't spam WFG. Give an honest assessment of the story. I'm an old woman big girl and can take my lumps, and I pay attention to these things, to a degree--I mean, *I* like Temmin, a lot, but then, I'm his "mom." Smile

Today from the Flower Pot of Squee: The Torture Queen

  • Posted on: 21 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I don't make these scent names up, kids.

I'm still working my way through the Carnaval, going through the Act IV scents I have stashed in a flower pot on my side table. Today I picked out Torture Queen:

A cluster of wooden wagons stands off to the side of the Midway, removed from the bustle of the dirt-caked makeshift street. A bonfire burns in the center of the lot, shining its light on a tattoo-covered woman. The images embedded in her skin writhe like living things, and the sigils that mark her glow faintly. She is filing her nails and smoking a cheroot while chatting idly with an impassive naked blonde who has been hoisted into the air by thick, gleaming meathooks. The blonde is pinioned; the blackened metal cables that bind her hang tightly from the branches of a massive grey oak. Her skin seems strangely translucent, and her veins and arteries are boldly visible. Two painted signs are propped, sideways, against the side of the tree:


The tattoo'd woman winks at you as you pass by. "Break time, honey," she growls, as she blows a smoke ring in your direction.

White amber, vanilla musk, white tea, ambergris, gardenia, and chrome.

In the imp: Tea, amber, musk, ambergris. Masculine but for the faint whiff of gardenia, and on the right guy that's not an issue.

Wet: "That smells masculine," said Sir. The musk and amber are at the forefront, with a strong chrome tang.

Dry: The gardenia, the tea, and the metallic tang of the chrome to the front, the musk and amber to the back.

This is haunting and rather formal. I love it. I'll see what it's like in a few hours; I suspect it doesn't have much stay, though the gardenia guarantees throw, at least on me. I'm all about tea scents, and this is a lovely one, with the chrome sharpening the sweetness of the gardenia in a wicked way. On the right guy this could have women following him around begging him to look their way.

This may join the "must have bottles" row.

Temporary draconian measures lifted

  • Posted on: 20 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

A Chinese spambot has figured out how to bypass the reCaptcha, so right now anonymii are not allowed to use any HTML. At all. This may be a good time to get an account, no? This is, however, a temporary measure until I can get more anti-spam measures in place.

If you're a registered user, check your input format; you have to choose "full html" for now. I promise to get this solved quick. In fact as a measure it may not last the night.

Edit: I think I have this solved, thanks to Akismet; anonymii can once again use full html. However, it'd still be a good idea to get an account. Stay tuned.

Today from the Flower Pot of Squee: L'Heure Verte

  • Posted on: 20 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I misplaced an entire baggie full of Carnaval Diabolique decants from Act IV--decants of everything but the Grindhouse girls, seven of whom are allegedly arriving in decant form next week. I should be getting Act V decants at the same time. Since CD is going down soon, I really want decants so I know what to order bottles of. So far, Grindhouse and Habu are the only must-haves, but I haven't tried the first three acts much yet. (Need decants!)

Which brings us to today's scent from Act IV, L'Heure Verte--I found the baggie of decants and the untried ones are now residing in a flower pot on the table next to me:

A large tent striped in many shades of green grabs your attention, and you walk towards it. You peer inside the open tent flap and see a room crowded with people in various stages of profound intoxication. Tables are littered with glasses filled with thick, cloudy emerald liquid, and candlelight glints on discarded silver spoons. The scent of spilled absinthe, opium smoke, lilac blossoms, and rose water permeates the stifling air of the tent. As you close the tent flap and turn to leave, you see a scantily clad server bend close to a rugged laborer that is sitting slumped in a sagging chair. A low velvety voice voice asks, "Another drink for you, Monsieur Lanfray?"

Spilled absinthe, scorched sugar cubes, opium smoke, lilac blossoms, and rose water.

In the imp: I'm not entirely sure what absinthe smells like, but I think that's what I'm smelling. It's herby, sharp, tangy. I smell the sugar and opium and the florals, but that tangy smell is predominant.

Wet: An almost apple-like tang. Very pleasant.

Dry: Sweet, very soft lilac and rose. The herbal tang is sadly gone. I like this, but I'm not going to get a bottle of it. If the tangy smell had stayed, I think I would have.

Chapter 16 in the scheduler for midnight PDT (-7 GMT)

  • Posted on: 19 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

It's a little short and you guys are going to hate the ending. }:)

Tuesday we'll find out the rest of what happened, along with how Sedra's ball went. It turns out to be more interesting to us than to her. I think we're wrapping up the ball on Tuesday. Thursday I expect to be the Neya's Day Spectacle the night after the ball. And if things go well, we'll have Temmin's private Neya's Day with Allis on Saturday. If, that is, you guys meet the target.

I got one donation this week. Luckily for you, you carried over quite a bit from last week and made this week's target. We'll start the week at $9 and the target will be $50 for the foreseeable future; I'm not going to be adjusting it up and down, it stays at $50 until you're either consistently exceeding it or the readership jumps and holds steady at that pace for a few weeks. I make the target less than 10% of the steady readership donating a dollar apiece, which places it at $50.

Thanks as always to everyone doing the free marketing targets, which are important as well. Bookmarking the story on stumbleupon and, talking it up on your LiveJournal or on other forums you participate in, telling friends on email lists you're a member of--all of these things are important to the story. I have lower funds than ever for advertising; I really need your help getting the word out. The more readers we have, the less I have to rely on just a few of you to make the target. It gets spread out over more people, and advertising dollars increase and help take up some of the burden as well.

OK, I'm rambling. Time for bed.

A haiku from me

  • Posted on: 16 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Haiku and speculation have broken out all ovah, not necessarily in the same comments. Here's one from me:

Clever readers think
they know what's going on here.
That's what they think. Ha!



ps: I got Dr Horrible from iTunes. I would pay Joss Whedon $2 just to STAND THERE, so getting 13 minutes of Whedon-y goodness for that? Easy call. It's freakin' brilliant and gets funnier every time I watch it.

pps: I have another fambly event this evening, so look for chapter 15 tomorrow evening, since I have yet another fambly event tomorrow afternoon. Durn fambly. Go read the wiki, if you're bored, or throw money at Joss so he makes more direct-to-web stuff.

The Squee Box Strikes Out

  • Posted on: 16 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Yesterday was a Bad Day for Squee. First the Fickle Finger picked Milk Moon '07, a Lunacy, described as:

sweet milk, golden honey, fig fruit, pomegranate, dates, and white grape

Sounds nice, huh? No. MASSIVE DO NOT WANT. Nothing sweet about the milk, in fact, it smells spoiled. I had to wash it off. Only the second time in my BPAL history I've had to do that.

Except then I followed up with Jack:

The scent of warm, glowing jack o'lanterns on a warm autumn night: true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove.

DO NOT WANT again! I have some other BPAL pumpkins from last year's Samhains which do smell pumpkin-y and wonderful, but this has a harsh overnote that may or may not be almond. I amp almond and it is the Death Note on me. Another wash-off.

The third strike? Eden:

At the center of the Garden of Eden stands the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Though modern interpretations of the Bible claim that it was an apple that the Serpent of the Tree offered to Eve, it is widely believed that the true Fruit of True Knowledge was, in fact, a fig. This oil contains the innocence of the Garden, coupled with the Truth and Erudition found in the fruit of the Tree of Evil: fig leaf, fig fruit, honeyed almond milk, toasted coconut and sandalwood.

I now know what the Tree of Evil smells like: Almond, almond, almond. Gah!!!

I gave up for the day. Hopefully today will be better.

First royalty payment! glee!

  • Posted on: 15 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I got my first royalty payment from today. Sure, it was less than $50, but it means that enough of you liked the book that I got a royalty check, and that's more than most folks get from their first novel (not even counting what you guys have sent me in donations). I'm so grateful I cannot even tell you. If you've considered buying the book for a friend, say, who doesn't like to read online, I can tell you that it's a very nice book, physically--the printing is crisp and clear, the cover is shiny, all the pages are there--"it looks like a real book!" as one of my friends said. Smile

Anyway, thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who've bought paperbacks and ebooks (shall I say how many I've sold? Not many, but each one thrills me). I've thought of setting up a marketing target of "extra chapter for x number of books sold" but we'll see. That may be too much.

Mail server problems continue

  • Posted on: 14 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I am nearly bald from tearing my hair out, but Sir is worse. He's about to start in on his mustaches. We're incredibly frustrated and so is our hosting company. We don't know what the problem is, and every time we have a fix it breaks again. What it means is that people requesting new passwords or trying to sign up for accounts can't get email from here, and it means that I'm having a great deal of trouble sending and receiving email myself. We're working on it.

Late night meanderings

  • Posted on: 13 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

We're leading into the momentous events of Neya's Day--momentous for Temmin, anyway. I've been staring at a semi-blank page, and decided to give my brain a refresher, so I've started compiling the bonus stories into a book. When there are 100 pages in it, I'll put it up on Lulu as "Bonus Stories Vol I." I'm intending to expand on some of the stories, so there will be an incentive to buy it. And, of course, it'll be dedicated to the people who asked the questions, so there's always the appeal to vanity. Wink Right now there are 30 pages not counting frontispiece, etc, so about a third of the way through.

Today's Meet n Sniff was fun! I ran into an old friend I haven't seen in at least 5 years, if not more. Apparently that's why I was supposed to go. I did some trading and got some imps and a bottle in exchange for stuff I didn't want any more, and I did some serious enabling, sending my non-perfume-loving friend home with a couple of imps and sending a few more folks in search of the magical sex powers of Death Cap, the perfume that always gets me bent over furniture and stuff if I wear it anywhere near Sir. }:) I was hoping to get rid of all my unloved imps, but alas.

Schlepping my collection around, I realized that I am in dire need of a better storage solution for bottles. The ammo cases work great for imps, but I'm out of room in the little case I stole from No1 Daughter that I'm using for bottles. Must go to Joann's or Michael's and dig around.

And now I'm babbling, and so to bed.

Today from the Side Table of Squee: Habu

  • Posted on: 11 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Another one of the Snake Pit scents, Habu is described as:

Snake Oil with ho wood, teak, black musk, and bamboo.

(Remember, Snake Oil is this spicy vanilla that's, like, whoa, perfume crack.)

In the imp: Bamboo, really sharp and sweet, almost sugar cane.

Wet: Omigod, says Sir, smells like those fruit candy canes, the ones you bite into thinking they're peppermint and they're not? You're totally right, says me, I love those! Really? he says. I was always disappointed. A faint whiff of banana hits the nose. (wtf?)

Dry: Woods over musk and vanilla. Bamboo almost gone. Possible bottle, though this is like a LOT of my other BPALs, so I dunno. Then again, I keep sniffing myself. (Every time I write that, I cringe.) I bet this is AWESOME aged.

Later: Holy crap. This is awesome NOW. The woods have faded to back the vanilla and it's nom nom nom. Someone buy me a bottle of this. I've had really good luck with the Snake Pit scents.

Map roughed out

  • Posted on: 11 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Sir and I sat down late last night and roughed out the world map. Three large continents (Tremont's, Inchar, Nija), one smaller one, as yet unnamed. Many small islands, including one larger chain called Vakalele. We've roughed out where Tremont Town (the capital), Valmouth and Valmouth Town, Belleth, Barle, Arrentown, Alzeh, Sairland, Apecto and Cordeneen are, as well as some major rivers, the only one of which that has been named is the Leute. We've placed a few of the mountain ranges, including the one around Tremont Keep. It's not ready to be published yet. I'm going to do a more detailed one of just Tremont first.

Heads Up: I'll be taking time off soon

  • Posted on: 10 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

In the next month I'll need to take at least a week off. I got a paying gig and I'll need to focus on it. I don't take gigs very often, so this won't happen very often. But Sir and I seriously need money, so I can't turn this down. This is advance vague warning. I'll give advance specific warning when I have a better idea when it's happening (that is, when the client gets all the stuff to me and I can start working). Sorry, guys, but we have some bills we desperately need to pay off (we got way behind on some things when I was ill), and this will help.

Working on chapter 13

  • Posted on: 10 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Remember the "quality time with Harsin"? We'll be getting some this chapter. Everyone is getting ready for the last ball of the season at the Keep, and Temmin is feeling manly. I am laughing as I write this chapter, for reasons I don't entirely understand.

Today from the Mailbox of Squee: Coral Snake

  • Posted on: 9 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

BPAL's most famous fragrance is Snake Oil, a sinuous vanilla that, when well-aged especially, will have crowds of people following you around sniffing--in a good way. Wink As part of the limited edition series Carnavale Diabolique, Beth has taken Snake Oil and made 13 different snakes from it, adding fragrances to the base Snake Oil. I got decants today of seven of the 13.

The first one I opened was Coral Snake:

Snake Oil with blood orange, red apple, lemon peel, plumeria, and gardenia.

In the imp, this smells like apple potpourri, the stuff your great-aunt puts in a simmer pot or in a jar in the bathroom. Oh dear.

Wet: Sweet, heady apples, still a bit potpourri-ish.

Dry: The basic spices and vanilla of the Snake Oil come through--I amp vanilla like anything--followed by the plumeria, the gardenia and the citrus. The apple is almost gone. No--there it is, but it's faint. I don't know if there will be a bottle of it in the future, but I like it.

Today from the Box of Squee: Eisheth Zenunim

  • Posted on: 6 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

This is one of the 13 Grindhouse Ladies scents from Act IV of Carnaval Diabolique ("Dead and Live Girls!"). I have a decant coming of this, but I got early frimped when I bought an unloved bottle of La Vita Nuova. The description:

Honey, ambergris, neroli, white peach, patchouli, and cocoa absolute.

In the imp: Peach, honey and neroli. Sweet, very girlish.

On wet: The peach disappears. The honey dives down. Cocoa, ambergris, patchouli, and quite honestly, a little piss come to the fore.

Dry: I shall report back later.

Reporting back later: Sir says it smells of apricots. Thankfully the piss is gone. (Whilst it may smell like Paris, it's not my thing.) Cocoa, peach, honey, patchouli and neroli, with a little ambergris, in that order. I like it, though I don't think I'll go for a bottle. I have another imp coming, so I'll dump them both in a roller bottle and top it off with jojoba oil. Save the vials as sniffies to give away.

mail troubles

  • Posted on: 5 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

If you've registered for an account and never gotten your "Welcome" email with password, request a new password now. Your account was created but the site was having trouble sending email for some reason. It isn't now.

Chapter 9 is live, nervous breakdowns pondered

  • Posted on: 4 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I am pondering nervous breakdowns. AE is the clever one, she schedules them--one week every three months now. This is splendidly sensible, though I am considering one week out of every FOUR WEEKS. AE is unmarried, childless and has the one job. I am very married, very childed, and have other money-making ventures I must attend to in addition to this. Sir is very much in favor. I am unsure, but then I have weeks like this where NOTHING got done and the story took forever to come.

Anyway. Pondering. Whilst I'm pondering, enjoy chapter nine. It's up. And consider joining the Facebook group if you're on Facebook, and listing "Intimate History/Greater Kingdom" (just like that) in your LiveJournal profile as an interest. We need new readers. Not that the old readers aren't good--they're FABULOUS--but we need more.

Moving slow

  • Posted on: 4 July 2008
  • By: MeiLin

But still moving. I was hoping to finish the update today but I have just had too many family responsibilities in the last few days. Pesky kids. Wink I'm about four pages in to chapter nine, but it hasn't come together all the way. I will have it out tomorrow for sure and then I will not be doing an update on Saturday because of the holiday. I'm sorry things have been erratic lately. Sometimes the story comes thick and fast, sometimes it doesn't come at all and sometimes, like lately, it comes in fits and starts.


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