Barring a miracle, Chapter 9 will NOT be appearing at midnight. I'm expecting midday tomorrow if I give it a good whack tonight. I'm a page (of six) in.
In the meantime, putter around in the wiki (and thanks to those of you who have), or buy a copy of the book. I just got the book back to its $14.95 price after a big kerfuffle with Lulu.com that resulted in me entirely reformatting it and putting a new cover on it. Make the Kingdom portable! Loan it to your computer-hating friends!
ETA: Also! I've been thinking about scheduling my nervous breakdowns, like AE has. What do you guys think?
yay! I got my Lunacy order! Hay Moon and Mead Moon and a little handful of frimps, none of which I think I have, which is always cool. I sniffed both of them and the Daughters and I decided on Mead Moon:
Golden mead, fermented with gruit, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger root, sweet-briar, rosemary, and lemon.
I'm really glad I like this, because I spilled it on myself! aagh! I still have plenty left, I'll just have people talking behind my back for a day or so!
In the bottle: *this close* to Sweet-Tarts!
Spilled all over me: ZOMG. Honey and lemon and rosemary, over a cushion of the spices. Nicely blended and just...ZOMG...I smell like a summer tisane! I LOVE THIS! I love honey scents anyway, and this is a summery one; usually they turn out more thick and cozy and wintery but not this one! whee!
You've seen the ad--you've clicked on it, if my stats are any indication--now read the review! I got a copy of Best Erotic Comics 2008 today in the mail, courtesy editor Greta Christina. One word review: Yikes!
Many word review: This is the shit, my dears. There is hot stuff, disturbing stuff, really hot stuff, funny stuff, extremely disturbing stuff, and stuff so hot I'm surprised the pages don't combust. Some of these comics may leave you confused (a Gil Hernandez that makes sense only if you're familiar with the rest of his work), some of them may leave you vaguely disgusted (everything by Cephalopod Productions--sorry, I just don't care for the style), but I doubt that any of them will leave you without an opinion, and often a good deal of food for thought. I dare anyone to look at Toshio Saeki's work presented here and not at least ponder the often extremely fucked-up Japanese erotic impulse--which I adore, as it happens; even as disturbing as I find Saeki's stuff, which is to say "very," I find myself unable to look away from it.
Not all the characters are white, or straight, or huge-boobed. This isn't a stroke book, though you will get turned on by many of these images. This is an often thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a sexual being, an exploration that also would love to get you hot and bothered.
The Fickle Finger of Squee, wielded by No1 Daughter, landed on Mania today, an apropos choice any day the way things go around here:
The personification of insanity [see? apropos--MLM], Mother of Manes, Goddess of Night Spirits, Mistress of Undeath, She Who Gives Life to the Dead. With Mantus, she rules the Etruscan underworld, and her scent is roiling chaos and churning madness, but because she is the mother of the Lares, benevolent household spirits, her perfume also bears an underlying gentleness, and, like madness, a strange sweetness. Screeching white musk collides with a howl of red musk, with sharp white grapefruit and pale strawberry leaf.
In the imp, it's a rich, sweet musk. No1 Daughter took a sniff and said, "Ooh! That's going to smell good on you!" And she was right.
It's quite sweet, wet. I don't smell strawberry leaf, I smell strawberries. Dry, it's all a well-balanced (?! What's with the balance? it's supposed to be Mania!) musk, on the sweet side, with the tiniest glimpse of grapefruit and no strawberry at all. Me likee.
It's driving me crazy. I'm stalled--in the middle of the wedding night, no less--and I need to put it down and let it think about what it's done. I'm happy with it right up until the last few paragraphs, where it all just kinda goes to Harla in a handcart. It doesn't help that I have had a stomach bug or something today and it is suddenly the muggiest, stickiest place in the world here. Rain, already! for cryin out loud!
I'm putting this thing down for a while and hopefully things will be better later. Sorry, guys, I'm trying.
I've changed the "newest first" link to be not just chapters only but the teasers for the entire site. People are missing blog posts etc about what's going on, like scheduling matters, so now I'm making it so you see them whether you read the blog or not. I'll be paying extra mind to the teasers now in blog posts, making them extra-short for things like "Squee" posts and extra-long--the entire post--for posts like this one. If you want the old page back, bookmark it; it hasn't gone anywhere, I've just changed the aliases around. But don't come wondering to me when you don't know what's going on.
I'm *this close* to finishing chapter 8, but it's Macca and Hov's wedding night and you really don't want me rushing that, do you? I might write something anatomically impossible. (So far it's actually rather funny and sweet.)
Seriously, I've only got like a page and a half left (of 6 6x9 pages, which makes up the average update--I write in book block formatting so all I really need to worry about are typos and stuff when it's time to send a book off to Lulu.com, I mean, why not). But I need to go to bed. We're on the road tomorrow with the family and I'll write a little on the way--well, no, I probably won't. I don't think Sir will let me. We'll see. In any event, looks like Sunday. SO--go to bed, my dears, go to bed and dream of whatever it is you dream of when there's no update.
I'm enjoying going through all the General Catalog scents like this; there's so much good stuff in there. I mean, the Limited Editions are really fun, and some of them are more than fun, they're spectacular, but the GCs--they're inexpensive and always available. Kinda like this website.
Today the Fickle Finger of Squee picked Ephemera, described as:
The scent of loss, love and the echo of time without end: sorrowful violet and chamomile with muguet, white geranium, calla lily and tea rose with a hint of autumn leaves.
In the imp: Violet and...pineapple?! Seriously, I smelled candied pineapple in there...
Wet: A lovely, soft, sweet violet, rich but not heavy.
Dry: Violet and muguet, tea rose, and at the very back, the dry leaves and a little geranium. Really one of the loveliest of BPAL's violet scents. This is not an everyday scent; it reminds me of dressing up and having some place fancy to go to. If it were the 40s, I'd wear this out on the town for cocktails and a dinner show, then romantic dancing afterwards. Something you wear with furs, an evening gown, and a hat with a veil. I'll have to see what Sir thinks.
I was really looking forward to trying Hellcat. A gal I've talked with for a while over on the BPAL forums says it's her "first date" perfume--what she wears when she wants to get lucky. So hell yeah, I wanna get in on that. But then, the description:
A soft, sensual, luxuriant blend with a wicked bite: hazelnut, buttercream, honey mead, rum and sweet almond.
Ackphthtfllll! Almond! oh noes! One of two notes guaranteed never to work on me, the other being cedar (which I love everywhere else but on my skin). Even myrrh, which ruined Bilquis for me, works occasionally. But never almond. And sadly, Hellcat proved the rule.
In the imp and on wet, I definitely smell the almond, almost a cherry almond (must be the mead). Dry, still almond, but not as bad as the wretched Queen of Sheba (the most massive Do Not Want I have ever smelt). An hour or more later, the almond and everything else but the rum has faded. It's a nice, soft rum, barely there. But not nice enough to avoid Hellcat being banished to the Do Not Want box.
A renowned exotic dancer and courtesan, possessed of aristocratic elegance, matchless charm, an iron will and a streak of fearlessness. The actual events of her life have met with much speculation, and to this day it is unclear whether or not she was truly a German spy. Despite shaky evidence of her guilt, she was tried for espionage by a closed court-martial and was executed by a French firing squad in 1917. Her scent is striking and bold with a delicate yet dark undertone: five roses with soft jasmine, warmed by vanilla, fig, tonka bean and mahogany, spiced with a drop of coffee bean.
Mata Hari smells in the imp and wet as if I've opened a box of Bee and Flower soaps--rose and a little jasmine, very soapy. I smell no vanilla, no fig, no tonka, no nothin'. Just rose soap. I amp rose. I'll see what this smells like in an hour or five. So far, it's do not want.
Later: Now I smell the vanilla and finally, the coffee. The florals have backed off, but this is an imp that goes in the Do Not Want box.
So this morning I get a note from Lulu.com: Would I like an ISBN number and distribution to places like Amazon? For free this time? Sure I would! Signed right up. Problem: In doing so, it jacked the price of the book up from $14.95 (fairly reasonable for a 300-page nicely printed trade paperback) to $24.95 (completely unreasonable for same). Aaaaggh! I have a ticket in to Lulu.com to back the "Published by Lulu" option off the book so I can once again offer it for $14.95. May take a day or two. If making the book reasonably priced means you guys won't ever be able to buy it at Amazon, I can deal with that. I have to do all my own publicity anyway, so I may as well push people to Lulu.com as anywhere else.
Chapter 7 will go live either at midnight PDT or tomorrow morning at 7 am. I just updated the software and now I don't know if it behaves the same way or what, and I can't stay up tonight to make sure. I just can't. I have to get back on a somewhat sane schedule. I think I'm sick or something; I have a node raised in my neck and I just can't stay awake. I'm going to try for a Saturday chapter (you guys still have an unused target), but until things improve I am a little hesitant to say, yes, there will be one.
Oak, tonka, vanilla, white sandalwood, lily of the valley, white ginger, amber, and apricot
In the imp, the first thing I smell is sugar, like a candy apple. It's very, very sweet, almost too sweet. I think it's the apricot and vanilla together.
Wet: It's still very sweet. It keep shifting from caramel to candy apple. Not sure about this; I have lots of caramel-type smells and I'm not sure I want another.
Dry: In a word, superb. My skin amps vanilla and amber, and those are the main hits, with the tonka, sandalwood and oak as foundation. I can't smell any of the lily of the valley, which is a pity because I love it, and the caramel/candy apple smell is completely gone. I get a little sparkle of the ginger, but not much. Way in the back there's the apricot. Mostly this is the woods, the tonka, the amber and the vanilla, and it's an effort not to sniff my wrist. On me, this is perfectly blended. Sir said, "Yep, a keeper." Somehow I must obtain a bottle.
On the outskirts of Deneen Town rose a hill, the most prominent in the landscape. In the side of the hill was an opening in the hill, framed in black rock. On either side, torches flickered even in the day. And coming and going was a small but constant stream of traffic, larger today than usual.
This was the Temple of Harla. The Temple in Tremont might be the larger and more elaborate, but Corharla Hill was the first, Her Home on earth, where all true devotees must descend at least once on pilgrimage and where her most devoted sent their bones to be added to Her ossuary. It was here, before dusk fell and Harla's Day began, that Henrik of Belleth went to find Macca of Sairland, for Macca was a lay priestess of the Bloody One.
It goes live, and we resume updates, on Mon/Tue at midnight. In chapter 7, we have tea with Connin and Maeb and see the book from Sedra's end.
In your smoke-addled confusion, the Midway seems strangely empty and devoid of life. The tents that line the path appear distorted, out of proportion, and cartoonish, their angles arching menacingly.
For a moment, the only sound you hear is the soft squelch of your boots on the damp ground. As your eyes adjust, the tents right themselves, the sounds of the Midway swirl around you, and you feel the press of the crowd against your body. The Calliope's eerie drone lilts above the swelling chatter.
Wine-colored storm clouds are gathering, and the scent of incense and ozone is thick in the wet air.
Thunder-charged ozone, plum-colored incense smoke, opium tar, and wormwood.
In the imp and wet: Incense and opium, definitely plum-colored, thick and a little bitter.
Dry: Out comes the ozone. Still very incense-and-opium-y, smoky, but smoke with impending rain and lightning looming over it threatening to blow it out of the air. On the right guy this would be hypnotic, even though it reads a little feminine; there's something very menacing about it. It's quite "toppy." I keep hearing The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove...
Amazon credit for MLM!
Drag the link above to your browser toolbar. Any time you want to buy from Amazon, just go to the product page you want at Amazon, and click that bookmarklet. The page will reload with my affiliate code. Make your purchase then, and I'll get credit for the sale. It doesn't matter what you buy there, or how you got there. Just go to the page you want, reload it with the bookmarklet, and MLM will get the credit. Easy and painfree way to support this site. Thanks to Dori for the bookmarklet!
A psychic friend told me recently I'd have three serial going at some point. GK is one, the second one, I think, is tentatively called "Lainie" and is about an indentured servant, and the third may be this one, which is tentatively called 40 "50":
He saw her before he heard her, standing on the pier in the mercury lights with a couple of bored-looking people who must have been friends. She looked strong, and she handled her guitar more like a shovel, but there was something graceful in her movements. As he got closer, he began to hear her over the wind and surf, singing strong and passionate against railing acoustic strings:
Broken bottles under children's feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end street
But I won't heed the battle call
It puts my back up
Puts my back up against the wall...
Jeremy loved that song, and to hear it again, even on an acoustic guitar on a Manhattan Beach pier instead of on his iPod on Manhattan Island made him almost visibly ache. He set his chin and followed the sound of a song that wouldn't be written for four more years.
Sir says, "The only Blockhead I know is a circus freak show act." Yes, dear, that's what it's named after. "You do know what the Blockhead does, don't you?" Yes, dear:
Back out on the Midway, a huge, leather-clad man leans against a post. He smiles at you, guilelessly, baring a mouthful of sharpened teeth as he hammers huge rusted nails into his skull.
Rusted metal, leather, and a pop of pink bubblegum.
"You do know if you keep talking to me like that I'll turn you over my knee?"
Imp: Just weird. Sweet and...odd
Wet: Pink bubblegum, big time. Pop of bubblegum? Pop in the head, more like.
Initial drydown: The bubblegum fades fast and I'm left with a very smooth masculine but not too masculine scent. A little woody (heh), a little spicy, a little leathery--I really like it!
Longer drydown: It's becoming a lot more metallic, the (appropriate) coppery tang of blood. But it's faint. Either my nose gets used to this one really quickly or it doesn't have much stay on me. The bubblegum is back, but in the most indistinct way--like smelling a discarded Dubble-Bubble wrapper.
Verdict: Imp is good, bottle not so much. Into the girl box, which I really need a couple more of. It's getting cramped in there.
ETA: There's a "what would YOU smell like" thread at BPAL.org--if you were made into perfume, what would it smell like. This is as close to me as I could get:
plum blossoms, sharp lemon, vanilla, musk, a touch of cocoa, and a bare hint of truffles.
If I thought I could get away with it, I'd add nutmeg, black currant and honey.
Good morning, pretty children! as Malla would say.
I had a good writing day yesterday. Most of chapter six's story-in-story is done, and I've got a good outlining device for the framing story, which seems to twist and turn so much that I don't like to plot it too much; if I do, then it doesn't allow for characters to surprise me as much, like Ansella did. (She just came bustin' through that door, and I was as flummoxed as Temmin, I tell ya. That scene was going entirely somewhere else and she just hijacked it.)
If you're curious, it goes like this: I have a text doc with the names of all the characters actively in play for the next segment. Underneath each, I have where the character starts out, and where I want him or her to generally get to by the end of the book. Example:
When we begin:
--is carrying on multiple affairs
--is still trying to bond with Temmin
--is concluding diplomatic negotiations with Sairland
When we end he will...
Oh, like I'm going to tell you his arc. But you get the drift. It really helped, this mapping-out thing! The way this story is just sprawling like Houston I think I might have to start a wiki sooner than later. You guys up for populating a wiki?
Anyway, I'm discovering that book one went together so easily, relatively speaking, because I had the story-in-story in draft. So I'm going to try for getting a big chunk of Macca's story actually written out ahead of time and see where that process takes me.
I really wish I could get Mac OS 10.5 to run on this thing--it tells me when I try to install it that it wants to erase the entire hard drive and start over, for some reason, no matter what settings I choose for installation. sigh. There's a piece of novel management software I'm told by friends is stupendous that helps you manage a sprawling mess like this one, and it only runs on 10.4 or greater. I'm on 10.3.x. I've also worn the decals off my keyboard. What's that? Mei needs a new computer? Yes! you're right! Some day, maybe I'll get one, even!
I got not one but TWO packets in the mail today, one from BPTP containing a bottle of Hunger Moon that I got from eBay, and one from a decanting circle of Carnavale Diabolique Act IV, The Interlude (good gravy, you gotta love goths), minus the Grindhouse girls. Both generously frimped. So now I'm awash in smelly goodness, and I have two more decant circles (a selection of CD snakes and a selection of Grindhouse girls), the Four Seasons Inquisition (the goblins say I'm La Primavera) and the latest Lunacies still coming. After I finished the book I, uh, I kinda went a little berserk...but they're mostly decants, not full bottles!
ANYway, I'm going to try The Grindhouse first:
Throaty laughter captures your attention. Across the lane you see a buxom Venetian woman standing before a huge black and red striped tent. Her head is inclined towards a dapper, leering man, and they appear to be sharing a private joke. He reaches into his waistcoat and produces a gold coin. The woman plucks it from his fingers. He bows, and walks into the tent with a swagger. A sign flashes above the tent flap in letters that seem to be aflame: The Grindhouse, Dead or Live Girls.
The Madam turns towards you and smiles. As she approaches, someone within the tent strikes a few keys on a tuneless piano, and begins to play Jelly Roll Morton's 'the Crave'. The light within the tent illuminates the interior, shining behind the silhouettes of naked women gyrating lewdly upon raised stages, writhing in time with the music.
In the distance, behind the tent, you hear a whip crack, and a man's scream. Tittering laughter follows, and the screams continue.
"Voulez-vous un morceau de la boîte de bonbon?" she asks, gesturing gracefully towards the tent.
The Madam's perfume envelops you.
Florentine iris, red musk, mimosa, magnolia, Damascus rose, clove, and vanilla bean.
(Interesting note about the artwork that accompanies CD: Many of the figures are portraits of BPAL workers and fans; the Grindhouse girls are the moderators of the BPAL.org forums. So cool.)
In the imp: Elusive. I pick up the vanilla and musk first, maybe the mimosa and clove.
Wet: Ooh, here comes the iris and clove. Yikes! Here comes clove, looking for iris's lunch money! Iris retreats.
On drydown: Apparently sated, the clove fades and now I'm getting the musk and rose, with a whiff of the vanilla and floating over the top, the iris.
My verdict: MMmmm. Sir's verdict: "Not my favorite, but not bad." Probably not a bottle, but happy to have the imp. Into the girl box it goes.
In related news, No1 Daughter has absconded with Sugar Moon, and on her it works. On me, it turns bitter.
Later: Now that Grindhouse has been on a while, the vanilla is finally at the surface, sharing with the red musk. The clove is back, but much better behaved. Sir and I have changed our verdict. Mixed with, uh, pheromones? This is intoxicating. ahem.
Today, the Fickle Finger of Squee (assisted by No1 Daughter) chose Intrigue:
A sultry, exotic scent that inspires devious plotting and clandestine affairs. It is a scent painted in artifice, veiled in deceit, and slithering with whispered secrets. Black palm, with cocoa, fig and shadowy wooded notes.
In the imp the "shadowy wooded notes" are at the fore, smelling like a very dry, dusty patchouli/sandalwood to me. Very dusty. Wet, it's still dusty but not as dry, and I smell more of the cocoa and fig. I'm honestly not sure what black palm smells of, but this is definitely shadowy. It's a light shadow, though, like a shadow of a potted palm in a bright, white courtyard. I see someone slipping through a loggia to an assignation.
On drydown it has more of that dry courtyard smell to it--a shadow in bright sunlight. It smells like No 2 wood pencils, too--that lead and wood smell of a sharpened pencil. Aak! grade school flashback!
No1 Daughter likes it, I'm not so sure--I don't dislike it, but it doesn't have much staying power. I gave it to her.
Later: Sir has decided he likes it, so if I get another frimp ("free imp"--the lab is always generous with the frimpage as are swappers and sellers at BPAL.org) I'll keep it for myself.
I'm going to start doing my perfume reviews here. Why not? No one reads my LiveJournal to speak of, and you all are here, tapping your toes, waiting for me to get done with my whatever it is I'm doing this week.
For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about already, here's the deal. I collect BPAL perfume. Some, but not all, of the proceeds here go toward my addiction. (Most goes toward advertising and hosting.) BPAL is just amazing stuff; Beth has a Gods-given nose, and her olfactory evocations of moods, gods, spirits, fictional characters and so on are unnervingly accurate. She does pirate scents, Alice in Wonderland scents (my favorite series), steampunk scents, erotic scents, Neil Gaiman scents (he's the bastard person who tempted me into all this in the first place on his blog), Lovecraft scents, and more.
Once a month on the full moon she does a "lunacy," a scent to be worn on the next full moon and available only for the three days the moon is full. Right now there's a Lunacy up--two, actually, Hay Moon and Mead Moon. Ordered them both, couldn't stand it. Hay and honey, two of my favorite smells EVER. She does weird limited edition themes like the Shungas (19th century Japanese erotic prints), Atomic Luau (fruity drinks and tropical blooms), and the amazing Carnival Diabolique, which I won't even try to explain. And when there is an unusual occurance, like Leap Day or Friday the 13th, out will come a fragrance that will be available only on that day, for 24 hours. I'm a sucker for those, and I'm glad of it, because Sir's favorite, Frederick (named for "The Pirates of Penzance"), was the Leap Day scent.
BPAL comes most of the time in two sizes, 5ml and "imp's ears," which are the little sample tubes that hold about 1ml. I keep my imps in .38 caliber ammunition cases--they fit perfectly. I have probably close to 200 imps and about 18 bottles, though some are marked down to be traded. Of the 200 imps, I've "approved" about 50, some of which may grow up to become bottles. The ammunition boxes are called the boy box, for Sir's scents, the girl box, for my scents, and the squee box, for the ones I haven't tried yet. What I do most mornings is pick a scent from the squee box at random, and then I review it here.
Today's imp is Grandmother of Ghosts, described as:
Mania, Roman Goddess of the Dead, Matron of Madness, Governess of the Ancestral Spirits, Bestower of Divine Frenzy. Her scent swirls with a high-pitched tumult of laurel, stargazer lily, splintered woods, peony, mandarin and white musk, and is spiked with pale pepper.
Sir immediately said on smelling it, "I really like it--hey! It smells just like our favorite sex toy shop!" And it kinda does! My skin "amps" musk, and so I expected the musk to be predominant, especially on dry-down, but this comes off as more of a peony-and-pepper. G of G manages to be both soft and lively on me, and there may be a bottle in my future. Into the girl box.
Hey you guys! I'm going to take some time during my hiatus (which is going well; I've gotten the whole story-in-story mapped out and am now mapping out the framing story) to organize a blog tour for book one. I need help with it! I'm not very organized, and I need help researching the blogs to pick the right ones to approach. Anyone here into the whole marketing thing? I can't pay except for maybe in book(s).
Hi there, this is MeiLin, one of The Writer's personality facets. She's not multiple personality or anything, she just has a vivid imagination, as someone else here put it about herself.
Anyway. I think I broke her. Not the other person with the vivid imagination. The Writer, the person I come out of. I think she's broken. See, she has these kids, and this house, and this husband? Sir? That guy. And she has a body that she has trouble taking care of anyway but she really has to be careful about all that because she has a couple of chronic illnesses. She's not taking care of the body we're in, and she's not taking care of a bunch of other stuff, because I'm hogging all the energy.
Frankly, I wouldn't care. She kept me locked up in there for 40 YEARS. Now that I'm out, dammit, I'm going to live, LIVE, I TELL YOU!
The problem is, by doing that I've worn her out. Sure, I sorta let her take a break when she finished the first book, but I didn't, really. I kept writing bonus stories, and she worked on readying the manuscript for the printer.
She's got nothing left. She's pooped, and if she's pooped, I'm pooped.
So I'm letting her take a real break. I won't be writing for at least a week. Oh, we'll still be here, answering comments, blogging a little, taking care of things. But I won't be writing new chapters OR bonus stories for at least a week. That will give The Writer a chance to recover and me a chance to properly outline the new book (instead of rely upon a clump of scribbled note). It may also give Sir and the children a chance to talk to their wife and mother, whoever they are. *rolling eyes*
So bye for a week, maybe two. I'll take down the donation target info, but don't let that stop you from donating!
You guys, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. I'm holding a book--a real live paper book--with my name on it. Well, my pen name. But the words inside? All mine. And yes, self-published, and I did all the typography and design and stuff. Still. Holy shit.
I WROTE A BOOK!
If you've been waiting for me to say, yes, it proofs out okay, this is me saying yes, it proofs out okay.
Folks, I'm about to face plant in the keyboard here. I'm two pages into chapter five (6 6x9 pages being a chapter's worth) and I'm feeling like Ilhovin trying to impress Macca: I'm not getting any traction. So I'm going to bed. We have a family event tomorrow that will keep me busy most of the day, so we're looking probably at Sunday, though I'm going to do my best to get it out on Saturday. This Mercury retrograde has not been good for my muse.
I owe you guys a bonus chapter, and I owe V his points story. And I've got ideas for several bits of source material rattling around in my brain. Sir and I are working on the map and it's slowly coming together. And now I'm beginning to babble. I'll see you later on Saturday.