I posted ch 30 as a blog instead of a book page. I went back and fixed it, but I lost Noodletwigmeow's nice comment. Sorry, kitteh! I'll give you points!
Sorry, guys, I tried. I've got rather insistent company (beloved but insistent), and it's both harshing my mellow and my muse. I'll have some writing time tomorrow and I'm pretty sure (95% sure) I'll have the chapter ready before end of day tomorrow.
The Gray Crayon put his Lovers' Temple button on and off he went:
Not only did he talk to six people about the story, he scored a cute girl's phone number. Yes. Behold the power of the Lovers' Temple, y'all. TGC scored 10 extra arbitrary points, because I can do that!
ETA: Isn't he cute? I'm old enough to be his mama, I wanna pinch his cheek, chuck him under the chin and call him bubby.
Chapter 28 will be live tonight at midnight. It will disturb some of you; it's the last non-consensual scene in this current book. If you skip chapter 28 you will miss some references later on, but you'll get the general swing of things, which, now that you mention it, should be quite swingy in 29 and 30.
In sum: don't read 28 if the non-consensual parts of Emmae's story really get to you, because it's mostly that (though there are some character moments with Temmin that would be sad to miss). Just don't read it, and we'll see you on the other side with chapter 29.
Remember, comments and donations are love. Target resets tomorrow.
BPAL has issued a whole bunch of new American Gods and Good Omens scents, all authorized by Mssrs Gaiman and Pratchett and benefitting the sainted Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (note to self: must put up CBLDF in links section) and, for Pratchett's part, the Orangutan Foundation UK. Plus huge new sections of the General Catalogue: Doc Constantine (medicine show inspired) and Steamworks (steampunk-inspired). And this month's Lunacy is out. Dragon Moon.
I can't buy any, but you should. You should buy lots, and then tell me how they are, srsly. I really wish I didn't have this habit, because this really hurts. I don't even have my Atomic Luaus yet, and probably won't. sigh.
I've been saying that y'all will hate me after chapter 27. I was wrong. You're going to hate me after chapter 28. This one is on the short side, but 28 is on the long side, so it all balances out. Saturday's chapter is well under way, about 2/3rds finished.
--We're almost halfway to completing our membership target--48/100ths of the way there, to be exact. Remember that the marketing challenges do count toward extra chapters and they cost you nothing, so please take a minute and go through them if you haven't already.
--Are you a regular contributor? Do you mean to be, but forget? I've made it easy for you to subscribe and send $1 or $5 a week (or $5 or or $10 a month) via PayPal. One of you, and I won't say who, sends me $1 every week like clockwork--at first with an apology because it was "only" a dollar. But I tell you, that weekly dollar means the world to me, because it's consistent and heartfelt. It's always lovely when someone drops $20 on me in a go, don't get me wrong. But I realize that'll probably be the only donation that person ever gives, and for all I know the person never stops in again (not likely, but hey). That weekly dollar means someone is still reading the story and loving it. And I love that. You don't have to subscribe; it's just a convenience for those of you who are regularly donating. Subscriptions do count toward the Saturday target.
--Speaking of which, I have made a policy change on the targets. Any amount over and above the weekly target gets rolled into the next week's target. For instance, right now we're $26 over this week's target of $30. So we'll start the next target on Saturday at $26. I think we're going for $50 next week, folks. The whole thing has been very cheering after what has been a bad week for financial and personal news (sick friends). TGC said you guys might surprise me, and damned if he might not be right.
--Speaking of whom, thanks to TGC for buying me a copy of "Stardust." It's about time I read that. I now have a pile of stuff on the foothills of Mount Toberead that lie near my writing chair: "Stardust," "Good Omens," and Lady of Light and Shadows--a book/series that gives me hope for my own ambitions, let us say--as well as one last Georgette Heyer.
Brief preview of 28: If you hated Hildin before, you'll really hate him after. And now, to return to writing it, some light reading, some dinner-making, and after that, I may just henna my hair! squeal! It came in the last trade package I will be doing for a while at BPAL.org. un-squeal. sigh. oh well! henna! squee!
OK, folks, here's the sitch. I just did our taxes. Without going into details, it's serious turnips and sackcloth time--I mean, serious to the point that I may have to stop writing and somehow find a job a disabled mom can do. I need your help so that that doesn't happen, and I'm not necessarily talking about dropping huge wads of cash on me. Not that I'd turn that down.
If you're pondering buying me books, ponder sending money instead, or if you're buying for yourself or gifts, ponder buying yourself stuff of whatever kind through my Amazon link. If you haven't done the market challenges, get crackin'. They're free to you, they count toward chapters, and they raise page views and visitors here. That leads to more advertisers, and we really need advertisers.
When the husband and I were discussing stuff, we thought about the Perfoom Challenge we did here a few weeks ago, where I updated daily when you guys met a $100 challenge. You met the challenge in 48 hours. I'm wondering if income here might go up if I started updating daily--if I moved to AE's model and did updates 5x week and a bonus if a (much higher than current) target is met. I know I don't have the fan base to get $250/wk. You guys have been so fabulous to support such a new story at the level you're supporting it. But I have to take this to the next level, or stop and focus on stuff that makes us money.
What do you think? I'm grasping at straws here, and I'm under a lot of pressure to bring in more cash, some way, some how.
Still kinda funny lookin', but I'm waiting for a new logo so this is how it's going to be for now. I lost the beauties at the bottom for now.
I updated a theme file here and broke everything. So I'll be fixing stuff. Chapter 26 is done, and I'll put it in the scheduler when the world stops being broken. I will add that the world will probably look different once it's back, too, just warning you...
ETA: World not broken any more but definitely funky-looking. Hold fast, I'm working on it.
I'm just putting a little more polish on chapter 26 before it goes into the scheduler. It's a little short, but the next one is a little long so it all balances out. Barring disaster, it'll be live tonight at midnight.
That gives me time to angst about 27, which contains Hildin's final outrage against Emmae and it's a biggie. I think I may lose some of you over it. Those of you who've been squeamish about the Hildin segments might want to skip the whole thing and rejoin at 28.
In happier news, y'all have been plugging away at the marketing targets. And we're a third of the way to Saturday's chapter. I'm so proud. *sniff.*
And what a lovely day it's been. Got a lot of writing done, the hubby is healing well, the girls had a lovely time at an activity, all's well in my world. Well, my real world. The imaginary world may be in for some trouble soon. If you didn't see the little bonus snippet, be sure to check it out. Just a little folk retelling of a Tremontine myth.
I'm stuck here at the hospital waiting for the husband to come out of surgery recovery. He's fine; he had his tonsils out. I am contemplating a Cafepress store whilst procrastinating on Chapter 25 (it'll go quickly once I get my teeth into it). What on earth could one put on a t-shirt for this story? With all the enthusiasm, I was thinking of a "Property of the Lovers' Temple" shirt, but beyond that I am stymied. Idears?
Smoke em if you got em. Oh yeah, you know it, baby. Dan, if you're reading, you may want to skip the chapter, though if you do you'll miss the introduction of three new characters. Minor characters for now, but they'll be recurring.
Remember that comments iz love and so are donations. And so is fan art! I'd really like to see some fan art. I may start drawing some myself. I am a little handy with a pencil, not enough that I'd turn this into a comic, but enough that I could give you general ideas what the characters look like in my head.
Chapter 25 is somewhat under way. Barring surprises from my cantankerous characters, Emmae and Warin's story will be back in 25.
You may also note that there's an Amazon box now in the lower left. If you are a regular Amazon buyer, please buy through my links. Even if you don't buy what's linked, I get a credit as long as you got to Amazon though my link. One more way to support IHGK and keep the hubby happy!
Here I was complaining about no comments and we has filk. *fwump*
IHGK regular SongCoyote sends us the following lyric, and for some reason I'm blushing uncontrollably:
(C) 2008 Gareth Storm
(Based on Mei Lin Miranda's Tale of Two Kingdoms)
You look at Her body and look at Her face
You smile at His touch and fall to His embrace
For a night and a day you'll forget there are others
When you give yourself up to the heat of The Lovers
So dance, dance, dance in the firelight
Watch how their bodies entwine as they lay
With each other, with you, as together you're learning
Delight in sweet sharing and pleasure in play
There are two who would teach you to touch and to tease
With a smile or a fingertip placed where you please
They will show you such torturous tickling tricks
That you'll pray that each hour would last five or six
Even with all they know they seek wisdom from you
For each moment of sharing is a pleasure brand new
And they teach more than kindling lust's burning fire
For there's power in learning to control your desire
Remember His hands, how they woke up your skin
And Her warm invitation that pulled you right in
These are more than love-making, for they take and they give
They accept your mistakes and your errors forgive
So you danced and you laughed and you slept through the day
And your memory of Them will outlast the sun's rays
Through Their playful exchanges you have learned how to see
With compassion and wisdom and real empathy
So the sweet dance you danced in the firelight
Became a more beautiful thing than you feared
It enfolded, embraced and ennobled you further
Than you thought could occur without blood, sweat and tears
So dance, dance, dance in the firelight
Feel how their bodies entwine as they lay
With each other, with you, as together you're learning
Delight in sweet sharing and pleasure in play
And know that you'll always remember this day
Now, a brief legal note:
Filk and fan art = OK, in fact, I'll put up a way to let members post that stuff here soon
Fanfic = not OK, at least not until I'm done writing this thing. When there is no more from me, fanfic is OK, but until such time, please don't. I'm not the BBC, or Fox. This is all I have.
Well, sometimes when you go fishing for compliments you get a bite.
I do see how many people read this (I use a couple different stats trackers), and I suppose I should just be content with that. But when people don't comment, it feels as if I'm not reaching them. Possibly this is because I'm an inveterate commenter myself, but even I don't comment on everything I love. I'm sure D., my therapist, would find deep psychological needs for affirmation or something in all this.
Anyway. Thanks, everyone, for commenting. Thanks to those of you who can donate; that helps me convince the husband that all this time is not wasted time. And thanks to those who can't donate but help with the marketing targets, because the more eyeballs we have, the less we have to depend on donations. We need to reach a critical mass here of people who will attract advertisers by their very presence, and to increase the number of folks who are willing and able to kick a little in the pot.
The next big financial push will be to buy us 10 ISBNs and set up an account at Lightning Source so that when "Two Kingdoms" is done (at which point I'll be moving on here to "The Queen Who Ruled by Herself") I can publish it for folks who prefer to read in paperback rather than on the web. That won't be for a bit yet. "Two Kingdoms" ends when Teacher finishes telling Emmae and Warin's story, and we have a bit to go there, especially if Temmin and the Obbys keep interrupting. That won't generate a huge amount of income, but it'll give people more options for reading, and that's all to the good. I really want to have "Two Kingdoms" ready and printed by November of this year for Orycon, the big SF/fantasy convention in Oregon that I plan to attend. In fact, I'm agitating for a panel on web serials and self-publishing.
And I have a hunch you will be peeved with me once you come to the end. Happily peeved, I think. Maybe not, I dunno. Be patient. Thursday is coming. hee.
I'm a little worried about how things are going here. Readership has leveled off and so have comments, and donations are nonexistent. Of course, we've only been on the air a month, but it concerns me. I worry that I'm losing audience. I mean, I've stopped advertising as extensively--I've had to. And I expect an audience drop from that. I even expect to see donations drop. After all, I sprung that BPAL Challenge on y'all and I think I tapped the core out on that 'un for a while. (Never doing THAT again...)
But comments? eeeeek! Please leave comments. Comments keep me writing. Srsly. I live for comments. i r comment ho. kthxbye.
ETA: Woohoo! someone dropped a wad of cash on me and we will have a Saturday chapter! yay! Thank you!
And unless someone drops $24 on me before midnight, which I'm not counting on, that's the extra chapter you earned for meeting marketing target #4. If someone does drop $24 on me before midnight, there will be a second extra chapter Sunday or Monday. We're going away for the weekend, which means sex scene research. eheh. Otherwise, kids, after midnight goes live I'll see you with a new chapter Tuesday!
I finally got a toehold on chapter 22, the pesky thing. When you read it, you'll go, "THIS is what you were fussing over?!" yeah, well...
It doesn't look like this week's target is going to be made for a Saturday story, so here's how scheduling is going to go now that you guys have earned an extra chapter:
If the Saturday target is met--Chapter 22 will be Saturday's story and an extra chapter, 23, will be posted Sunday.
If the Saturday target is not met--Chapter 22 will still be Saturday's story, and that will be your extra chapter.
That is all.
Boy, you guys really moved fast on target #4--reviews at Pages Unbound. Way, way faster than I expected. You've earned an extra chapter, but I'm temporarily suspending that target. I really don't want Alexandra Erin, writer of Tales of MU and proprietress of Pages Unbound, to think I'm encouraging you to spam the site. Really, really don't want that.
So if you're sincerely moved to review the story there (for good or ill, I emphasize), go for it. But for now, the marketing target is suspended; you won't get an extra chapter for that. I may re-open it, but not right now.
Chapter 22, which is the first available candidate for extra chapter status, is giving me fits, but I'm feeling more on top of it this morning. For someone who follows politics so closely in real life, you'd think I'd have a better handle on how to write about them in fiction. But alas, tisn't so.
After getting pwned by Miss AE last night, I contemplated an April Fools chapter here, but just couldn't seem to muster the energy. (If I had, you would have gotten a ToMU/IHGK crossover. And isn't THAT a scary thought.)
I'm stalled on chapter 22, which is Saturday's update if the target is reached and next Tuesday's otherwise. All of my writer mojo is focused on that. I need to put some Block Buster oil on, mayhap. I'm heading into the political situation in the country, and I always have a hard time getting into those kinds of plots--or at least I did in my fanfiction days.
But I'm about to head up to the treadmill and thence to the shower, both prime thinkin' time. I need to put a desk on my treadmill, actually, then I could work and walk at the same time. Half of what bothers the hubby about this fiction thing of ours is that I sit on my hinder too long.
Here's what's gonna be happening, kids:
Schedule remains the same: Tuesday and Thursday updates, with the possibility of an extra chapter on Saturdays if we meet the donation target. Currently, we're on track to miss a Saturday update for the first time since I started this. (Deep breaths, Mei, they'll read it eventually.)
But now there are a set of non-financial targets you guys can also meet to get extra chapters. You'll find them gathered here.
I followed a link on Sonja's novel (Hey, Sonja, great to see you commenting here!) to Novelr, where I found this great post on 1000 True Fans. Which is not a band, though it should be. It explains how guys like Jonathan Coulton, who I adore, can make a living without being on MTV: They just need 1000 true fans. It's a totally great article, and it makes me even more committed to building the fanbase here over any other goal. Thanks for helping me do it.
Chapter 20 will be appearing 4/1/08 at midnight (tonight), no joke. It's done, Chapter 21 is well under way, no ransom. Chapter 21 will appear on Thursday as scheduled.
For now, I'm going to stick with the update schedule, no matter how ADD I get. So that means updates on Tues/Thurs this week and a Saturday update if the target's met.
I'm mulling over a number of options, only one of which I'm committing to right now:
--A paid newsletter that would give you chapters ahead of schedule as they are written (not really thrilled about it but I'm thinkin' about it).
--Advertising target #1: Every x number of readers who send me links to where IHGK is linked on their site (blogrolls, banners, what have you), then I'll release an extra chapter (as opposed to a ransomed chapter).
--Advertising target #2: Every time we get x number of new signups from different IP addresses, I'll release an extra chapter. (I may make some side content available to registered users only, somehow.)
--Advertising target #3: Every time x number of people use a "tell a friend" feature (yet to be implemented) to tell a friend about the site, I'll release an extra chapter.
--Advertising target #4: Every x number of bookmarks at del.icio.us, I'll release an extra chapter.
--Advertising target #5: Every x number of reviews at PagesUnbound.com, I'll release an extra chapter.
--Advertising target #6, and this one I'll commit to right now: When all five advertising slots are filled for a month, I'll do another daily M-Sa update week.
--Advertising target #7: Every x number of people who follow me via twitter, I'll release an extra chapter.
Any other ideas?
OK you guys, walk this through with me.
--that I write like a maniac, but cannot commit to a daily schedule;
--that I need to bring in some income from the site to justify writing like a maniac to my family*;
--that you guys want more story;
--that it drives me nuts to have a completed chapter just sitting here in the scheduler when you could be reading it;
--and that you guys like an update schedule nonetheless
What, then, should I do?
Here's what I'm thinking:
I'm thinking that the update schedule will stay Tu-Th-Sa, with Saturday an official update day. If a chapter is finished early, and it almost always is, I will ransom it for early release. If people want to read the chapter now instead of wait, they'll pony up. If not, they'll have to wait until the regular posting day.
If I finish the Tuesday chapter, say, Sunday, as happened today, and someone ransoms it, which also happened today, then Tuesday's chapter gets posted asap. When this Tuesday rolls around, there won't be an update--it's already been released.
But! Thursday's chapter is already written, and could be ransomed for release earlier than Thursday. See where I'm going with this? The regular release days would always stay Tu-Th-Sa. But there would be the option, if a chapter is finished early, to get it released early if a donation target is met. If it isn't met, the chapter still gets posted, but not till its release day. Essentially, you're paying for instant gratification, or faster gratification.
Would this piss people off? Should I just restrain my own enthusiasm (I am my own refresh monkey, I live for your comments) and just keep the donation system and schedule the way it is?
*I know I joke about perfume and lattes, and I will readily confess that some of the challenge money went right to BPAL/TAL. But I make my living online. The time I spend here is time taken away from other projects that actually make money. There's also little things like housework that are my responsibility. If I made more money here, I could hire help for the housework, and I'd be able to write more. Right now, the site brings in enough to defray/justify its hosting and pay for advertising; if I hadn't done the Challenge last week, I wouldn't have had enough for a BPAL order and that's sure.
ETA: Somehow commenting got turned off on this. Total accident; I WANT comment on this, though I've already pretty much decided that the model as described above won't work.
Someone donated enough to ransom Tuesday's chapter! So it's up and live right now. I'm almost done with Thursday's and may do the same again. I have to refigure the donation system--what happens when, etc. I do write an awful lot and while I don't want to commit to daily, I do want to give you guys the chance to have a chapter early if you want it. I'm just not sure exactly how to work this thing...
So everyone is saying they wished there was more novel. Well, often, there is. I frequently finish chapters early and just stick them in the scheduler. Case in point: Tuesday's chapter is done and just waiting to go live Tuesday at midnight, and I'm about to start Thursday's.
Here is my proposal: If I finish a chapter early, I am thinking of putting up a ransom. If you guys meet the ransom, I post the chapter early. In the words of Joel Robinson, "Whaddaya think, sirs?"
Also: I've had no less than three friends lately ask me if I Twitter, with the latest being a writer friend last night who said she felt it helped build readership. So I'm Twittering. Follow me here. I've also put up the little widget in the right side bar with the latest "tweet."
The Week of Daily Updates is over, at least for me. I finished chapter 18 and put it into the scheduler for tonight at one minute after midnight. I'm probably going to take a day to catch up around the house before I start in on next Tuesday's chapter.
Note that the target has been reset (not a one of you bought me a latte, you naughty things, but after the Challenge I'm not going to complain too loudly). The ransom for the Saturday chapter is $30. No money? No problem. Just get the word out. The bigger the readership gets, the more tempting the advertising gets here, and eventually that will be what pays most of the bills. And there are bills to pay, far more bills than perfume and latte purchases.
Part of what I spent the challenge money on were some oils and a conjure bag from Twilight Alchemy Lab, BPAL's ritual oils division. I figured I owed it to you guys to invest in aids to writing, and being Pagan, I'm all about the ritual. I often burn candles while I'm writing; I figure every llittle bit helps, especially when you're new at this. So I cut back my BPAL order to one Lupercalia bottle and spent the rest at TAL.
I got Hand of Hermes, Hymn to Pan and the Hand of Hermes conjure bag. And I got notification that it's been shipped today! squeal! I'm so excited! Thanks to everyone who kicked to the fund.