MeiLin's blog

New banners, Second Life, etc.

  • Posted on: 12 June 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I got the idea for this series after Katie came up with some banners for me. I like 'em. New readership is languishing, folks, so any way you can help spread the word, please do. If you have a MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal or other blog, please remember to blogroll or otherwise link MeiLinMiranda.com. It costs you nothing and gets the word out. We've got a hardcore 500-600 daily readers, but I need to at least double that.

If you're on Second Life, I've put out a "preview" notecard of the book at my china store (Mirandaware) on Mill Pond. Please feel free to take a copy of the book that dispenses it and put it in your own home or shop. I'm thinking about organizing a reading there. Oh--I'll also be in world attending Netroots Nation next month, so watch for me to be a little more active in SL in the coming weeks. My SL name is the same as my pen name, so I'm easy to find/recognize. Smile

And finally, chapter four is almost done. Anda comes for lunch. Wackiness and teh hanky ensues.

New chapter, art contest, request for reviews at Lulu.com

  • Posted on: 9 June 2008
  • By: MeiLin

First: Chapter 3, which has been a pain in the hinder, is in polishing. Watch for it late tonight. I'm hoping I've found my way into the story now, it's been eluding me.

Second: I really need some artwork for ads. My ads ain't pullin', except for the boobies ones, and they give people the wrong idea about what's here. Go to Project Wonderful, look at the ad sizes, and design me some eye-catchin' ads. The winner gets a free copy of the PDF. I really want to see some fan art in general. I draw a little, but I don't have a working scanner.

Third: If you've read the entirety of Book One, go review it at Lulu.com. I need some reviews there. The more hard copies and downloads I sell, the more people come into the story, the more people look at the website (read: the more pageviews for advertisers), the less I have to rely on donations.

Good news and bad news

  • Posted on: 8 June 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Bad news: I'm just not gonna get a chapter out this weekend. It's not gonna happen. So take Katie's second story for now, and watch for an extra chapter this week.

Good news: I'm feeling fairly well today (I have a chronic illness and can rarely say this), it's a beautiful day, and I'm going to get some housework done.

Bad news: Cuts into the writing. But I need to take care of my family at some point!

Good news: I finally figured out how to embed fonts in a pdf exported from OpenOffice.org, which is what I use to write this thing. Why is that good news? It's good news, because I am *this close* to having the first book ready to buy from Lulu.com. I'm just finishing up the cover work, then I have to order my own copy to make sure things are the way they're supposed to be, then I'll make it available to all y'all.

Bad news: Ad sales and donations are way down.

Good news: Your "just a dollar" is even more critical today than ever, as are your links to the story (we *really* need more links, guys). Every little thing you can do to help out is so appreciated.

New chapter live, new banners and stuff

  • Posted on: 5 June 2008
  • By: MeiLin

For those of you who want to put up a banner on your site or use an icon on your LJ, there are new graphics available. They feature the new logo.

And chapter two of book two will be up at midnight PDT, aka -7 GMT, aka about 50 minutes after this writing, Pagg willing and the scheduler behaves. Smile

Update: I was too worried about the scheduler and I need to go to bed, so I took it live a few minutes early. Smile

Site design

  • Posted on: 3 June 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I get more complaints about the site design here than I have on any other site I've ever done in 12+ years of web development. And yet this site is laid out almost exactly as countless others I've done that I've gotten no complaints about--in fact, the contrary. I'm wondering if it's a web serial thing, that people are used to sites developed by people who aren't trying to make a professional go of things, that don't try to leverage ad space or things like promoting feed subscriptions.

I've done what I can to make the navigation more prominent (one last tweak due, moving a block further up on the right). Tell me what you think would make it better. "Lose or reduce the ads" is not an option unless you guys want to see the weekly target soar out of sight (I've already dropped it $15 for the week).

Mercury is retrograde

  • Posted on: 3 June 2008
  • By: MeiLin

That's the only explanation I have. I swear up and down and sideways I had chapter one formatted and in the scheduler two days ago! I am so so sorry it didn't go live last night--the one night I wasn't up at midnight myself to check. I has a plague, as A would say.

When I woke up this morning and saw it hadn't gone live, I dug around grumbling, figuring the scheduler just didn't trigger. Oh no. There was no evidence it had ever existed AT ALL. It was nowhere.

But it's there now. Please forgive me.

Book Two begins Tuesday

  • Posted on: 31 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I think. I'm finishing up chapter one right now. I thought chapter one was going to be chapter two, then realized it really was chapter one after all. :? I know! Persnickety chapters.

Anyway. I'm a little timid just because I have nothing written but an outline for book two, whereas the Warin/Emmae story was in draft form already. Somehow I think that's the only way I'll get it written--knowing you guys are waiting for it and that I have a deadline to meet. Smile So Tuesday it is. Into the unknown, dear friends!

Upcoming interim stories

  • Posted on: 25 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Here's the tentative schedule for fill-in stories drawn from the points pool until I start up Book Two:

Tuesday--Kitabare's request: The "juvenile attachment" of Jenks and Ansella

Thursday--Sarianna's request: Issak on how he's changed since becoming the Embodiment of Nerr

Saturday--Katie's request or TheBoy's request, whoever gets to me first. Hurry up, you guys!

I may be ready to start Book Two by next week, we'll see. Sir and I are working on maps; I need some geological advice on weather patterns etc. I have a couple of friends I can tap for that.

In Book One news, I'm sending out proofreading copies this week; I already have several out and will be shipping out copies to those of you here who've volunteered in a sec. If anyone out there is interested, comment here by Tuesday latest. The tentative price for the paperback is $13.95; the tentative price for the ebook is $3.95. I'll be offering it in pdf and Kindle form for certain, and I'll be trying for at least one more format as well. Ebooks will be offered for sale here and via Amazon Kindle; paperbacks at Lulu, Amazon and any bookseller throughout the world who can order via an ISBN number.

Vote us up at StumbleUpon!

  • Posted on: 23 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I've just finished a critical little bonus story that happens the night of Temmin's first ball, the one at the Keep where he meets Allis and Issak for the first time. I'll be releasing it to everyone at some point--it's that critical--but you can read it RIGHT NOW if you vote us up at StumbleUpon! (You have to have an account there already but it's free and easy, and also a pretty neat way of finding new stuff to look at on the web.)

This form is now in the rightmost column on every page, but I'll put it here for your ease:

Enter your Stumbleupon username:


Once you've voted you'll be redirected to the bare bones version of the story, formatted just enough for readability. (This will change, but I'm out of time for today.)

PLEASE DON'T COMMENT ON SPECIFICS OF THE STORY ONCE YOU'VE READ IT--NO SPOILERS!!! Limit your reactions to "Holy shit!" or whatever expletive best suits your mood. Wink

What's A-Foot: Stumblers

  • Posted on: 23 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

First off, hello to all you Stumblers out there! We got Stumbled, and so a horde (see? I can spell it right), yes, I say a horde of Stumblers are now checking out the site. I hope a few of you stick around. Smile We got listed under "medieval history," which is kinda weird, but hey! Whatever works!

I have an incentive Allis and Issak story for people to mark the page at StumbleUpon; I'll be putting it up soon with instructions.

One book down, unknown numbers to go

  • Posted on: 22 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Well! Approximately 113,000 words later, I seem to have produced a book some time between the first of the year (when I first started putting the draft of Warin and Emmae together) and now. I am utterly exhausted. Today was a very trying day, and 43 was just not wanting to come together. I'm still unsure if it did! But in any event, here it is. It's done. A whole book.

I'm taking a week or possibly two off, and what that means is this: I will still be here actively reading and responding to comments and forum posts. I will still have something new for you to read every Tuesday and Thursday, and Saturday if a (very modest while I'm on break) marketing target is met--points bonus stories, and just stuff I'm moved to write. In the break I'll be plotting out the next big arc. I've already gotten some really good inspiration, which is heartening considering I've been staring at the blank page with this arc's name on it and a very vague idea for six months. Nothing like a deadline.

Anyway, here's to us. We made it through a book. Smile mwah!

What comes after 42?

  • Posted on: 20 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

We have one more chapter to sorta wrap up Book One and set up Book Two, then I'm taking a short break to lay out the bones of Book Two and get Book One ready for publication. I'm hoping I can bring the book in below $13, and the ebook version will be somewhere around $3.95.

I'll write points bonus stories in the hiatus so there will always be something new to read on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturday stories are not looking good; donations are way off. We still haven't met last week's target, and I'd feel bad except it's not just me. I'm hoping advertising will pick up the slack. I have heard from my ad network that they're very excited about Digital Novelists, and I hope that excitement will translate into ad sales sooner rather than later.

Tuesday's chapter

  • Posted on: 19 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

...is underway, after much lethargy and inertia. I finally fed my mojo bag some Hand of Hermes oil and tucked it back into my cleavage where it belongs, and boom. Out come the words. I've put an actual dent in that bottle, first dent I've put into a BPAL/TAL bottle evah. Anyway, I'm not sure I'll be done in time for midnight, and I'm not going to stay up late to finish. You may have to be young refresh fellows tomorrow until I get it posted, and considering I do my errands on Tuesday mornings without fail, I can't say as how I can give a time.

What Temmin and Ellika look like

  • Posted on: 19 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

We were watching Masterpiece Theater tonight; the presentation was Cranford. It dawned on me that two of the leads--though playing sweethearts rather than brother and sister--are almost exactly what I've been thinking of when I picture my characters. Simon Woods (who is also in "Rome" and has been pointed to elsewhere here as a possible Temmin) played Dr Harrison and in this part is very close to a dead ringer for my boy:



And Kimberly Nixon as Sophy Hutton isn't quite Ellika but she's dang close:



Charming production, by the way, catch it if you can. It made Sir cry, but then, he's a terrible moosh.

Missed the target

  • Posted on: 17 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Ah well, I'd feel like I suck, but AE's in the same boat. And if she's in the boat with me, then it's a low tide for everyone. egads, that's some bad writing there... I'm leaving the target as-is, so we only need to meet $30 next week to get a chapter on Saturday. If we can't do that, then I really DO suck.

Just in case I suck enough that no one wants to donate, but not so much that no one wants any more extra chapters, there are still marketing targets to do. The closest one is always highlighted on the right, and currently that's the Pages Unbound one. Six more reviews and we get an extra chapter.

Stuff: I'm going to work on a world map. I'm a writer, not a cartographer, but I'm going to give it a bash. It'll be ugly in any event because I don't have a scanner.

Question: Do we need a wiki?

Bonus chapter 41 is up

  • Posted on: 16 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Why didn't I wait until midnight? Because this is the bonus chapter you earned for making the "every 100th user" marketing target. A regular donation target story is very unlikely this weekend, so I figured why wait.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the "good foot" blog entry. I've adjusted my marketing strategy and my attitude. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, I don't have to rely on sex to get people to read this thing.

Get on the Good Foot

  • Posted on: 16 May 2008
  • By: MeiLin

In so many ways I started this whole story thing on the wrong foot. And by "started," I mean almost at birth.

I've been thinking about what happened to Always Aroused Girl, a blogger who writes anonymously about her sex life, parenting and whatever else is on her mind. Her blog is entertaining and informative and quite frank. Her fundamentalist parents, who had been told not to go borrowing trouble and search for her work, did anyway, found it (or more likely, were tipped off by someone malicious) and confronted her recently in a really painful, horrible way.

I am luckier in that my parents aren't fundamentalists. But my mom is very sex-phobic, especially when it comes to me. My sexual nature came out at an early age, and she has been pretty freaked out by me ever since, even though I wasn't a high school slut or anything. (I would have been if I could have gotten over the deep sense of shame I carried around. I would have been much happier, I think, if I'd at least gotten to kiss someone a little. Nope. I was 18 before I even got that. I think maybe I held hands a couple times.)

And here's my problem: I tried to write fiction for 40 years, but I knew where my fiction would always arise from: My libido. It always starts from psycho-sexual stuff, even if there's no sex in the piece; it's always there, and easily spotted. (I couldn't even create a D&D dungeon without things getting a little...odd.) I would read what I wrote and think, "I can't let my mom see this." And for 40 years, I've been waiting for either my essential creative drive to change, which isn't going to happen, or my mom to die, so I could write. I really, really hated sitting here waiting for her to die so I could write. I mean, jeebus, what a creepy, sad thing to do. I love my mom. I love my mom to bits. She's a supportive, great mom. She just can't handle some aspects of who I am, and I accept that now.

And then, I had a life-changing event and almost died. I realized that my plan, waiting for mom to go first, might not work. I could precede her. And my stories would go untold, even to myself. That wasn't creepy and sad, it was just sad.

So I started writing late last year. And just as I had feared, all this sex stuff came pouring out. At first I thought, well, I must be an erotica writer. So I went and hung out with the erotica writers and quickly realized I'm not an erotica writer.

But the sex thing--the idea that my writing and any worth it might have completely revolved around sex--it stuck to me, or rather, I clung to it. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I'd held it all in for so long that I just couldn't see past it. Perhaps I was afraid no one would read it unless there was promised smut.

In any event, here I am. I've done a lot of the marketing of this site around the sexual aspects of the story. I'm beginning to think I'm doing it a disservice and that I'm not taking my own work seriously enough. I can tell you, I really do take it seriously; my friends and family can tell you I'm a crashing bore right now, this is all I think about. But somehow, when it comes to talking about what I'm doing, I feel a need to denigrate it. It's "just" a genre story. It's "just" a soap opera. It's "just" smut. And it's showing in the marketing.

I think I need to get off the wrong foot and get on the good foot. Ideas and thoughts appreciated.

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