16 and 17 are in the can and scheduled to go live at midnight tonight and tomorrow. Be here or be sphere. Or something. I'm cranky. I have no funds for decaf latte! Nag nag. One more chapter to go and then we're back to twice-a-week-and-possibly-on-Saturdays.
I did get a nice BPAL surprise when I dug into the squee box today, the ammo box I keep my untried "imps" (sample sizes) in. I picked Osun, which is heavy with honey. Wet and immediately dry, it was overly sweet and cloying. But once it dried? Niiiice. Honey. mmm.
Oh! I wanted to ask you guys what stories I haven't followed up on that you're interested in. I know where we're going but sometimes a side trip is nice.
...which takes me partway to Wednesday. If the scheduling software works, 13 should go live at midnight PDT tonight. Cross fingers. If it doesn't pop up, no worries, I'll take it live by hand when I wake up in the morning.
Boy, I'm never gonna bet against you guys again!
ETA: Those of you who wanted to get in on the Challenge and missed the deadline, never fear! You can donate to this week's Latte Fund and keep me in foamy milk deliciousness while I write.
...and whether we get to $100 by midnight there will be at least one extra chapter this week. $65! My goodness. I'm totally amazed you guys stepped up, especially, as I've been scolded, for something frivolous. I promise to spend the rest of my donations from here on out on turnips and sackcloth.
$10 down, $90 to go to meet the BPAL challenge: You guys pony up to help defray my perfume update, and I'll give you a story **every day** next week, Monday through Saturday. Personally, I think I'm pretty safe, but you never know! Someone may come through. If we don't make the BPAL target, you'll still get an early chapter on Saturday the 29th as long as we meet the $20 weekly target (this Saturday, the 22nd, has already been paid for).
Chapter 12 is in the can and waiting patiently for the software to take it live at midnight tonight; I'm just finishing lucky 13 to be published this coming Tuesday. Or Monday, if someone unexpectedly drops a wad of cash on me.
And as long as I'm babbling, I'd like to know how people feel about warnings. In the comments, someone expressed feeling uncomfortable about Allis and Issak and their roles as the Embodiments of Sacred Twins Who are also Lovers. I can understand that, but it's how the story goes, and I can come up with dozens of examples in world mythology and actual history--thousands of years of ancient Egyptian history.
In any event, we're going to be heading into territory that will squick some people out. The bad guy in the story-in-story is about to appear and there will be much non-consensual (but hot) sex. And then there's Allis and Issak. I am willing to add chapter warnings, but I'd hoped that the big warnings at the top of the story were enough. The sex in this story is sometimes conventional and sometimes not.
It's urgent because I only have until the 23rd and it's ridiculous because it's for perfume funds. I'm only semi-kidding when I say that BPAL inspires me. It definitely gets me in the writing mood.
BPAL does what they call Lunacies every month, a limited edition release of scents that are on sale for just three days, keyed to the next month's full moon. This month's Lunacy also coincides with the last of her Lupercalias, the big Valentines update. I already desperately want a bottle of Passionate Shepherd, and that's getting ordered regardless. And luckily this month's Lunacy isn't one I'm interested in. But Beth, the creature, put up two that I really want badly, April Fool and Neya's Day, er, Beltane 2008. (And we won't even discuss the Tiki blends she just put out, with some of my favorite scent notes evar. I want all of them, it's killin' me. But I've got till late April to decide/save up for those.)
Anyway, if you like the story, kick me some perfume money!! please!
I have both chapters finished and put up with the scheduler to kick them over at midnight tonight and midnight Saturday (PDT -7 GMT), respectively. They were originally one chapter, but when I posted it, it was waaaaay too long so I broke it in two.
It's ready, and it brings the happy sex. Talking with the BFF in instant message, I pondered a special ransom to release it tomorrow/today/Monday (I know it's late, I'm trying to give the husband a head start in sleep so I don't cough him to death for the third night in a row). The BFF said, yeah, you could do that, or you could wait until Tuesday BECAUSE YOU'RE SICK.
sheesh. what's your point?
Anyway, if someone does drop a huge wad of cash on me today, I'll release the chapter, but it wouldn't mean a new chapter on Tuesday. It'd just mean an early release. Or I could just forget the whole idea. What do you think?
About happeh secks: Sadly, "Two Kingdoms" doesn't have a lot of it. It's not that kind of story. Chapter 10 has the last happeh secks for a while, at least for the story-in-story, which gets very twisted very quickly because, as my husband and anyone who's read any of my Whofic involving the Master constantly remind me, that's apparently how I'm wired.
Over at Pages Unbound, an otherwise extremely flattering review (thanks, Donna) says the website is clunky and hard to use. Being a web developer, I find that unacceptable. What makes it clunky, and how can I make things easier to use? Please tell me, folks.
A kind soul--our first donor from the UK--kicked in the whole $20 overnight, so there will be a Saturday chapter next week. That doesn't mean you shouldn't donate if so inclined. In fact, an earlier donor suggested I set up subscriptions so people could automatically kick in a buck or two a week or a month or whatever. I'm a bit skeptical that people would actually do that, but I'm willing to try it, and once this miserable cold or flu or whatever abates I'll hie me off to PayPal and get something set up.
So far, I've gotten enough donations to cover what I've spent on advertising (most of what you've given me has gone straight on to Ms. Alexandra), though I've cut back my ad-buying pretty hard after the first burst. As you can see, ad sales here haven't exactly taken off yet, but give it time. I deliberately priced the units higher to avoid those damn lingerie ads. I don't mind sites like that advertising here, but please give me some decent-looking creative. sheesh.
My next goal is enough to help cover my March BPAL order, which I've got to make before the Lupercalias go off sale on the 23rd. I have to have a bottle of Passionate Shepherd, if only because it reminds me of the outdoor bits of this story. So far, I've got most of shipping covered. In another post for another day, I'll outline which BPALs remind me of which characters (preview: Arta smells like White Rabbit). I'm totally serious when I say BPAL inspires me, and I use TAL oils on candles when I need to pull in some mystical big guns to help with the story (notably Hymn to Pan).
Anyway, my writing goal for the next couple of days is to get a story outline going--where we've been and where we're going both longterm and short term, the questions I want to answer and raise in each chapter, etc etc. I know you're supposed to do that BEFORE you start writing, but I always do things ass-backwards, it seems.
Woohoo, chapter 9 is up. I came to a logical stopping point for the chapter, though it's short, waited until midnight on the east coast, and posted that bad boy. No story-in-story this time, but I'll make up for that in Tuesday's installment. Or Farrday, as Temmin and his people would say.
Just because I can, here are the Kingdom's days of the week:
One of the gods doesn't get a day; every night belongs to Harla the Bloody One, so she is skipped. Saturday/Sunday are not a weekend. Weekends as such don't exist, nor is there a regular church-going day in a week. Temple observances are seasonal for everyone and otherwise people go when they feel the need or if they are very observant. Someone devoted to, say, Farr would visit His Temple on Farrday to ask a boon, light a candle or make an offering.
I don't want to say more about the religious system because I want it to unfold organically in the story, but since I started using the day names I thought I should at least explain this much.
I haven't been this sick in forever. But I've still been banging at chapter 9 and am about halfway through it--a little less, perhaps. I'm hoping to have it ready for tomorrow, but it'll be up Sunday latest.
Watching all the speculating in the comments is fascinating. A couple of you almost have it, but not quite. Those of you who are most certain you have it are farthest off-base. One subtle clue hasn't been picked up by anyone, nor do I expect anyone to see it for some time, if ever.
I have the flu, really badly. This is the worst I've felt in ages and ages. Chills, high fever, full chest. It's bad. I was worried if I didn't finish 8 today it wouldn't be done till the weekend, and I'm hoping the Saturday update won't be late. I really shouldn't write when I'm sick because it probably shows, but this is me. I do those kinds of things. So be patient, chant anti-flu spells, whatevah. Thanks.
Don't get used to this; I'm posting early because I'm so worried about the NEXT chapter (I was worried about finishing this one, so I'm probably good to go on Saturday, but still). I'm sure it's Thursday somewhere. Just west of Greenwich, yeah. This one's for you, uh, west-of-Greenwich'ers. (What's west of Greenwich? I really need to sleep off this cold or I'd google.)
Some of you, maybe most of you, maybe all of you, won't like this chapter. Temmin isn't so likable in it. But never worry, he's young and there's time.
Oh, and there's more badly written sex.
Looking at ye olde donation targette, we are on track for a Saturday update, with a $25 margin. Go you guys! The tracker resets whenever I post the Saturday chapter, and the amount goes up to $20 for 3/21's target.
Other than that, I'm still dying of some consumptive lung disease struggling with a bad cold. I'm also contemplating where to stash my best friend's body after she spilled part of my brand-new bottle of BPAL's Her Voice. See, she usually helps me with that kinda thing...
You guys exceeded the donation target by 300%! Well, actually, two of you guys did.
That means there will definitely be a chapter on Saturday. And it also means that the donation target will go up for the week ending 3/21/08. Because I'm mean like that. It'll only go up to $20, and we can do that, especially if more people donate.
We sure can't expect $10+ donations consistently, so we need to see more people donating, even if it's just a buck or two. Many hands make light work and all that. So even if you can't donate a huge sum, a small sum will do.
And if you really can't donate at all--and being broke-ass myself a lot of the time, I totally understand that--then I ask you to help by spreading the word. Right now the donations we've gotten cover most but not all of the $$ I've spent on advertising. I have to cut that back soon--I can't keep up that expense for long, nor did I mean to. That means "Intimate History" will be more dependent than ever on word-of-mouth advertising. That means you.
Tell your friends, blog about it, review us on PagesUnbound.com, use the bookmarkers on these pages to bookmark us at del.icio.us, StumbleUpon and other places, use the "Intimate History" icon at LJ, put a banner or button up on your website--whatever you can think to do to spread the love.
I know I'll never be raking in the big $$ doing this; no one goes into fiction, especially webserials, expecting that. It'd be nice to defray hosting and advertising expenses and maybe have enough left over to fund the writers' space I belong to and my perfume habit. But mostly I just want to be read. A lot. By lots of people.
I'm just wrapping up chapter 7. And I must say, in all of my years as a writer, I never thought I'd be researching late medieval slang for "penis." Not that it's set in the late medieval period--down, you anachronism police--but one does look for ideas wherever one can find them.
And yes, that's a hint that there are "good bits" in this chapter, though not entirely consensual good bits.
And the story-within-the-story begins on Tuesday. That's also when the story starts to get very adult, very quickly. See you then. Well, I'll be hanging around in the comments, so I'll, uh, see you around.
OK, OK, I'm setting an update schedule! I will officially be updating every Tuesday and Thursday, with a possible update on Saturday if we meet a donation target. Otherwise, that Saturday update will have to wait until the Tuesday after. So you want chapters sooner, donate. Mama needs perfoom.
The initial donation target is modest: $10 gets you a Saturday update. Go!
Knocked this one out fast--had a few hours to myself this afternoon. (Oh rapture! Oh wifi! Oh decaf lattés!) Hopefully it makes sense.
Chapter six may take a bit longer. I really need to take care of some things like, oh, laundry, eating, etc. and I'm also starting to head into parts of the book that I've already written. You might think that'd speed things up, but you'd be wrong.
Please help spread the word about "Intimate History!" Tell people about it, put up a banner or an icon, write a review at PagesUnbound.com. And, y'know, if you like what I'm doing...*scuffs shoe*...there's, um, a Paypal donation button to the right now... I'll only spend it on hosting, groceries, the mortgage, and oh yeah, perfoom, but hey. And the more perfoom I buy, the more inspired I get.
Don't get used to this, you guys, I tend to work in gushes. People are already starting to speculate in the comments, which tickles me to pieces.
Still no sex. I'm building towards it. I promise.
More observant folks may note that I've taken the words "erotic" and "erotica" out of descriptions and advertising for the site. It's just not the direction the story is going in. I've started to think of myself as a fantasy writer who leaves the good bits in rather than an erotica writer using a fantasy setting.
And you get a walk, a folly, a dance and a flirtation. Next time, you'll get a ball, a lightning bolt and hussies!
Some of you are probably wondering wtf--where's teh secks?! Isn't this supposed to be an erotic novel? It totally is. Supposed to be, that is.
But in its first form, that's ALL it was--teh secks. And while that has its charms, it wasn't that erotic. Readers would tell me, "Wow, that was hot, but why does Character X feel the way he does? How does Character Y react to this event? etc?"
I bumbled along in the same vein, though. My fear has always been that I wasn't good at plot, that characters were easy but plot was hard. hah! That faulty belief led me to make a great mistake that turned out, like most great mistakes, to be a godsend.
I gave an incomplete manuscript--essentially a pile of notes--for this novel to a (perfectly nice but) vanilla straight boy. Mistake #1: Giving anyone an incomplete pile of notes. Stoopid MeiLin, that's just insulting. Mistake #2: Giving a pansexual erotic novel (with overtones of BDSM in spots) in any condition to a vanilla straight boy. To quote Jack Harkness, "Never doing THAT again..."
He told me it was disgusting. (The word he used was "disgustica," which I'm totally stealing except I don't think the final version of this work will be disgusting. At least it won't be if you're not a vanilla straight boy.) And then he gave me some solid notes on what needed to happen to make it into something readable.
At first, unsurprisingly, I was devastated. Then, as I thought about what he'd written, I realized some things, beginning with those two mistakes.
The first thing I realized was, I wasn't taking this writing thing seriously. I thought I was. But I wasn't. I didn't trust my own writing enough. I didn't trust my characters enough. I just wasn't taking myself seriously, and I wasn't trusting my story.
The second thing I realized was, I was trying to fit 50 pounds of mud in a 5 pound sack, as Dolly Parton once said. My natural medium is the web. It always has been. I was a radio producer long ago, got out of the business, drooped around for a while, and then got my first web page in 1994. It was like coming home. It was the medium I had always been waiting for; I just didn't know it.
So why was I trying to shoehorn this thing--strip it down to just the "good bits," which weren't so good by themselves--to fit into a 100 page affordable self-published paperback? Especially when I had a great example of how to self-publish stories like this, with all the room I'd need to paint the picture fully--to essentially "write my own story's fanfiction," as I told a friend?
Serialization worked for Dickens, among many others. And I love Dickens. And I'm doin' it.
So there will be sex--oh yes, there will be sex. There will be lots of it. There will be straight sex, bent sex, gay sex, lesbian sex, self-sex, voyeuristic sex, ritualistic sex, public sex, possibly some unwilling sex...yeah. Sex. But I am giving myself room to tell you who these people having sex are.
Whenever I wrote fanfiction I always worked hard to make sure that if I had characters having sex that it wasn't just a description of a physical act that could have been any two (or more--hey, I was writing Torchwood!) people. I wanted the sex to say something about the characters. Why wouldn't I want to do that with my own work?
But unlike fanfiction, I don't have the luxury of a common vocabulary of characters with you. You don't know Temmin, or Ellika, or Sedra. I do. You've never seen Allis dance, or Issak smile. I have. You don't know what the Teacher looks like, or how much Jenks loves clothes. I do. I want you to see it, to know these things, too.
In chapter two, we get breakfast and a ride, not in that order. In chapter three (possibly up by Wednesday, we'll see how the muse likes me this week and whether those oils I ordered from Twilight Alchemy Lab actually work) we will get a walk and a dance, in that order. :) In chapter four, I am not certain, but I think there will be flirtation and giddiness. In chapter five we may get down to business. ;) Not sure yet, so don't mark your calendars.
Speaking of which, I'm still not sure I can keep a predictable--like, MWF or TuTh or whatever--updating schedule. My life is too weird and my muse is too unpredictable. I will say that the way things have been going around here since whatever-it-was in October (alien abduction? that would explain the anal sex scenes--oh behave, they're on the way), I'll be updating more than once a week, and I'll have to leave it at that.