MeiLin's blog

"Scryer's Gulch" on Hiatus for a Time, Possible Kickstarter News, and more

  • Posted on: 10 April 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I'm going on hiatus with the Gulch for a while; I need to work hard on the draft of "The Machine God" if I'm going to have it ready for release at the end of the year (and have time to work on book three of the History). I'm about 10,000 words in, and it'll weigh in around 60k when I'm done--almost half the size of my usual books, OMG!

The good news about the break is, I'll also be working on compiling the first 53 episodes of the Gulch into both a paperback and an ebook. That means the original ebooks and paperback will be going off sale. I'm getting rid of the remaining four Gulch paperbacks in stock for the measly price of $4.95. I'm not sure how many pages the new Gulch paperback will come in at, so I can't give you a price point yet; I'm thinking in the $11.95 range. Dunno yet. Ditto with the ebook, though I'm thinking around $3.95. You've already gotten a look at the new cover; it's to the right in the sidebar, and it's on the home page as well.

That'll make four book releases for me this year: "Son in Sorrow"; "Scryer's Gulch 1-53"; "The Amber Cross"; and "The Machine God!"

Speaking of "The Machine God," I may be posting a (drafty) sample of it tomorrow in lieu of a Gulch episode. I'm considering running a Kickstarter pre-sale for it; it needs editing, and while book sales are going really well they're not going well enough to afford Netta's hiring. My royalties are budgeted for living expenses--I know, right?--though they're trending well enough that some day I won't have to depend on pre-sales to hire my production squad.

I worry about two things:

Going back to the well too soon. I know other people who use Kickstarter as their regular pre-sale channel and make their goals every time. I'm still not 100% confident that this tactic will work for me. I know, I know, shut up already!

No one's invested in "The Machine God" as they are in the History or even the Gulch. To that, I can only say as much to myself as to you: Yet. I'm really digging the characters and story I'm working on, and there will be four other books by four other writers connected with it and all released at the same time--yes, five novels, all in the same universe written essentially about the same period in time, and all really different though related. A whole series at once! We may even write more books set in this universe. Once the set of five is done, it's up to us as individuals whether we want to continue.

So I'd appreciate your thoughts on that.


Shopworn sale: I've got six copies of "Lovers and Beloveds" that have seen slightly better days, now on sale for $10.95. That's $4 off the usual cover price! ONLY six copies. When they're gone, they're gone. (By the way, I'm strongly considering selling two--maybe three, can't remember--copies of the original draft book one, the only ones left. It's out of print and will never be going back into print.)

Ebook drawings: I'm holding free ebook drawings for both my Facebook fan page and my email newsletter when they reach certain mileposts. I was going to do the drawing at 300 fans on FB, but that's not gonna happen any time soon so how about 250? Thirty more to go before that drawing, and two random winners will be announced. But your chances are better/sooner for the mailing list drawing! It's one random winner at the 100 member mark, and there are 91 people on the list at present. Join them both and get a chance to win!

Launch Day Update

  • Posted on: 29 March 2012
  • By: MeiLin

Son in Sorrow is off with a bang! It's in the 20k rankings at Amazon in all paid books--which sounds horrible, but is actually not bad at all! It means when it finally gets properly shelved it should be in a top 100 category. Here's hopin'! Four of you have left reviews at Amazon. Thank you! Please, if you've read the book, review it (honestly) there and "like" it on Facebook.

The book is now also at Barnes & Noble, if you prefer to buy books directly for your Nook there. And of course you can always buy direct from me and get three formats in DRM-free editions, which means you can then pop them into something like Calibre and convert them to practically anything. Oh yeah, and it's also at Smashwords for even more pre-formatted goodness.

There is now a Goodreads page for the book, where reviews and adds to your shelves (even "to be read") would also be extremely welcome and helpful, as would Facebook and Twitter mentions.

I promise to shut up about the book launch at some point soon. It's just been SO LONG in the making. I woke up this morning jangly as a housekeeper's keys, to the point that a friend whisked me off to the local sauna and calmed me down.

Transition--in the Labor Sense

  • Posted on: 27 March 2012
  • By: MeiLin

When you're in labor--labor, like having-a-baby labor--you come to a point just before you're ready to push called transition. Transition sucks. It's the darkest night of the soul imaginable. You feel like nothing matters and what if it did. You can't do it. You just can't do it. Make it stop already. You give up. Uncle.

That's how I feel right now.

Book two is probably going to drop tomorrow.

Temmin's Journey in "Son in Sorrow," in Two Songs

  • Posted on: 26 March 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I often think of songs as I work--not so much soundtracks, but inspirations. Sometimes I get story inspirations wholesale, as in the case of Iron & Wine's "Woman King"--that entire EP spawned dozens of ideas in me, and in fact Woman King is the working title of book three. Nickel Creek's Why Should The Fire Die? has the same effect on me, though I can't tell you exactly what songs track to what bits of book business.

And sometimes I associate songs with particular characters, or their particular story arcs. For Son in Sorrow, I kept coming back to these two songs, both favorites. I once thought one of them belonged to Tennoc, one of the main characters in the story-in-story, but on further reflection they both belong to Temmin.

Tem starts here, and ends up here just before the climax of the book.

I haven't found anything yet for Tem's state of mind at the very end.

(I must add that Sting is hotter than hell in that video. homina...)

(And I did try to embed but for some reason t'weren't workin'...)

Ask me questions

  • Posted on: 21 March 2012
  • By: MeiLin

Hey guys, I've decided not to do a book trailer. It's all the rage and stuff, but I haven't seen much evidence that it sells books and they're expensive to produce unless you do it yourself. I HATE the one I did for Lovers and Beloveds. The one I did for "Scryer's Gulch" still cracks me up but I don't think anyone's come to read the serial from that trailer.

So I've decided, on the suggestion of a friend, to try something different. I'm going to answer reader questions in a video blog of sorts--questions about my books or about my writing process, hopefully. I answer questions here on the site all the time, but I'm hoping this will bring out something different. I'm just gonna set up my web cam and my groovy mic and answer them off the cuff.

To do that, I need questions! Please ask me some here. I don't know if this'll sell any more books than a trailer will, but I think we'll all have more fun. Smile

Now We Are Four

  • Posted on: 21 February 2012
  • By: MeiLin

On February 21st, 2008, I posted the first item on I had no idea what would happen; I just wanted a place to post these racy stories I was writing, and I thought it'd be fun to have my own site to do it on. I'm a web developer, it's not hard for me to throw up a site, why not. I didn't really expect anyone to read what I wrote. I had a small following for my Dr Who fanfiction, but this was original; no one wants to read original fiction by some no-name. Ha! Not even no-name! I was using my Second Life name as my pen name! What a dork, eh?

That week, I posted the first episode of "An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom." I had no idea what I was doing and didn't take my writing in the least bit seriously. Sure, I'd written professionally for thirty years, but that was all journalism and nonfiction. I was just having a bit of fun--and for fun, I did what some other webserial writers were doing: I put up a challenge. If I raised $10, I'd release an extra episode. Figured it'd never happen.

I got the $10 almost immediately. Like, within the hour. I sat up straighter. Maybe I'd have to take this a little more seriously.

Four years later, that first contributor is still a staunch reader, bless him. I've written two full-length novels in the History series, a bunch of short stories, a second serial, a new collaborative universe novel is underway, and the Kickstarter that ended on the 12th of this month raised $5,250. Floored ain't in it, my friends. I cannot believe what has happened since that first timid post. I have readers, readers who pay for my work, even. I take my writing dead serious--but I'm stuck with the goofy pen name! Biggrin

So much has happened that it feels like ancient history. That first little post changed my life so radically, but it was just four years ago. Thank you to everyone--those who've been with me from the beginning, and those who've come along for the ride in recent days. I love you all.

Now it can be told: The Drifting Isle Chronicles

  • Posted on: 14 February 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I've mentioned a project I'm working on with a bunch of other fantasy writers. Now I can talk about it more. We have a name for our series: The Drifting Isle Chronicles. The blog Shared Story Worlds will be writing about our progress throughout the coming year as we work on this project together. Up first is this interview with Joseph Robert Lewis, who organized the collaboration. The other writers working with us are Coral Moore, Katherine Tomlinson and Charlotte E. English.

As Joseph says in the interview, it's amazing how the five of us each gravitated to a particular section of the world we've created and said, "Right, I'll sort that bit out." The world we've created is part steampunk, part magic, and has some really interesting little quirks in it. We're still working out the magical rules, but we've come a very long way in a very short time.

We'll be releasing five novels--one by each writer--by the end of the year. Each will be stand-alone but interlinked with the others; you can read just the one, but reading all five will enrich the experience of each individual book. We will each retain ownership of our books, and if we want to write more in that universe, there won't be anything stopping us.

Mine is tentatively titled "The Machine God." It will, as my books often do, explore choice, agency, religion, mythology and relationships. But this time, there won't be any sex! I don't think there will even be kissing! I NO RITE?! As the project progresses, I'll be sure to let you know how it's going.

This is it! Last hour! (updated: We're done!)

  • Posted on: 12 February 2012
  • By: MeiLin

Soon you won't have to put up with these updates any more--we're in the last hour of the Kickstarter presale for book two. Right now, 100 people have backed me to the tune of $5,230. That's nearly 350% what I asked for. I'm so overwhelmed and grateful right now. Here's the link one last time. If you want a presale package, it's now or never.

Update: We're done! Final tally: 102 backers, $5,250, 350% funded!! I am OVERWHELMED with gratitude. So unexpected, so affirming, so...just...damn. Thank you.

Presales end in less than 16 hours

  • Posted on: 11 February 2012
  • By: MeiLin

The Kickstarter ends tomorrow morning, and with it, presales. Yep, this is your last chance to get in on the presale.

Once it's done then I can start assembling the acknowledgments and get the final manuscript out to those who bought the right to read it in its unformatted state. I should have that ready to distribute early next week. I usually have typo notes back from the presalers in a week or two at the most, and then I can format the ebook and get it out to the rest of you--and start the serialization. The paperback should follow in about a month to six weeks depending on the typographer, cartographer and cover artist.


Three days left to raise $250 at Kickstarter--and you don't need Paypal to do it!

  • Posted on: 8 February 2012
  • By: MeiLin

The Kickstarter is about $250 shy of $5,000 now, with only three days and two naming packages left--one naming package purchase would put us over $5,000. You get a ton of stuff plus a book two character named after you or someone you love. I don't know what I'm going to do for everyone if we get to $5,000, but I'll do something. I thought about a video of me belly dancing but realize that's an anti-incentive. Smile I'll do...something. Suggestions welcome.

Taslin, here on the site, said she hadn't become a backer because she has trouble with Paypal and that's all I take here on the site. But then she realized Kickstarter only takes credit cards via Amazon Payments, so no Paypal involvement at all! She became a backer. If Paypal's been stopping you, now you can get in on the awesome. The $30 reward package contains $50 worth of stuff (and it gets better as it goes), so you might wanna do that. Smile

Only four days left to get in on the Kickstarter!

  • Posted on: 7 February 2012
  • By: MeiLin

The Kickstarter is within range of $5,000. That's well over 300% funded. It's not likely to hit $5,000 in the four days left, but it's possible! Two naming packages remain. The average backer's giving $30 or so, and this is what they're getting for the money:

--Books one and two in ebook form ($10)

--High-res digital copy of the world map, drawn by Robert Altbauer ($5)

--Choice of one of ten of the original high-res character studies by Alice Fox ($5)

--The complete audiobook of book one ($20)

--Whithorse, a brought-up-to-canon collection of short stories set during Temmin's childhood ($2.95)

--The raw manuscript within hours of my dotting the last "i", and acknowledgment in the book (priceless!)

So that's nearly $50 worth of stuff for $30! Add another $30 and you get all that plus an autographed book 2 and a printed copy of the world map. That's $80 worth of stuff for $60! And it gets more awesome the higher up the rewards packages get.

There's enough coming from this that for once I'll get something from it. This is gonna be my present to myself, in burgundy. It'll double as the dress I want for the 10th anniversary of my first heart attack in April.

Four more days, folks, and that's it. You won't get me blathering on about this any more, and you'll have to pay retail for all the awesome extras. Smile Everyone who's backed me so far: I LOVE YOU MADLY!

You guys! We're over $4,000 at Kickstarter!

  • Posted on: 31 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I can't believe this! When I launched the Kickstarter on the 13th I figured it would take the full 30 days to make it to the target of $1,500. It was the bare minimum I needed to finish the book up, and in retrospect it wasn't enough; as usual I forgot to factor in taxes because I'm one of those fuzzy-headed creative types.

So imagine my shock when today we crossed the $4,000 mark, with 11 days left in the fundraiser.

I'm running out of adjectives for this.

Thank you. I hope the book lives up to your expectations, folks. I'm almost done, like it goes to the betas for a final check-through in about two hours.

A new project: Team-written fantasy

  • Posted on: 24 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I just agreed to something that should be pretty damn fun for the writers as well as the readers. I'm collaborating with four other fantasy writers to produce a series of novels in a shared universe. We're creating the universe right now and as details become available I'll share them with you. For now, here are my collaborators:

This is exciting, as it's going to force me to up my game. I have a lot of writing to do this year now. Stay tuned!

And now the fun begins

  • Posted on: 22 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I got the book 2 manuscript back from Annetta Ribken and now comes the fun part, by which I mean the part where Mei forgets to eat and sleep and tortures herself. Oh wait, that's any time I'm writing.

ANYWAY, just a quick update. This thing is getting close. I'm shooting--praying--for late February for the ebook/return of the serialization, and April for the paperback. We'll see. I literally haven't opened the file yet. I'm terrified...

Update: I've read through Netta's notes. Really not that many. I'm going to (try to) take my time, since I have it; my deadline is when the Kickstarter finishes, right around Valentine's Day. The trick is always not tinkering too much.

Kickstarter update: Holy Hannah!

  • Posted on: 20 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

There are still 22 days left on the Kickstarter, and the total stands at $3,552 as of this writing. That's 236% more than I asked for, and I'm really happy because what I asked for was so bare bones I would still have been out of pocket for part of the book's productions (if you include the audiobook for book one especially). This is insane and wonderful and I'm verklempt and grateful like you wouldn't believe.

Since we made it to $3,500, all of the bonuses have been unlocked. This is what each package gets now:

PLEDGE $5 OR MORE: Book 1 ebook as soon as the project funds and a high-resolution digital file of the world map of Tremont

PLEDGE $10 OR MORE: All the above and finished book 2 ebook

PLEDGE $30 OR MORE: All the above, your name in book 2's acknowledgments, a new collection of rewritten prequel stories called "Whithorse," the book one audiobook, a high-resolution digital file of your choice of ten character studies, and the raw manuscript with 24 hours of its finishing

PLEDGE $60 OR MORE: All the above, a printed poster of the world map, and an autographed book 2 paperback

PLEDGE $100 OR MORE: All the above, an autographed book 1 paperback and digital copies of all ten character studies

PLEDGE $250 OR MORE: (limited to 5 people--ONE LEFT): All the above, and your name "Tremontine-ized" and used for a walk-on character (author's choice; character may not reflect you personally)

PLEDGE $500 OR MORE (limited to 2 people--TWO LEFT): All the above, a 15-minute Skype chat with the author, and your name "Tremontine-ized" and used for a minor secondary character instead of a walk-on (author's choice; character may not reflect you personally)

PLEDGE $1,000 OR MORE (limited to 1 person--TAKEN if you can believe it): All the above, your name "Tremontine-ized" and used for a major secondary character in book three instead of a book two character (author's choice; character may not reflect you personally), and a 30-minute Skype chat with the author instead of a 15-minute chat.

If you've already bought a presale, you'll get the same things others at the equivalent prize levels get. If you've bought a presale and want a rewards package at Kickstarter, you can do that and when the project funds I'll refund your money from the presale. Future presales for book two will NOT contain the Kickstarter goodies.

When we do this for book three, I'll probably flip it: First at Kickstarter for big packages and then here for more modest ones--but for the same amounts as before. That gives people an incentive to Kick, I figure. I dunno, I'm just figuring these things out as I go along! I'd like to pretend I know some big secret, but I really don't.

I get the book back from Netta any day now, and then life becomes interesting again. And for those who've asked, yes, Scryer's Gulch is coming back, probably in the space between finishing the book one edit and starting recording of the book one audiobook. Smile

So, this happened: Kickstarter money bomb (updated x2)

  • Posted on: 16 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

Update 1: I've decided on some non-tangible bonuses in the form of high-res character study art from Alice Fox's original set. The tangibles are starting to cut into money I actually need. So if you're curious, check the Kickstarter page.


The Kickstarter is at $3,000-plus. I got money bombed this morning with a $1000 donation, a $250 donation and a bunch of smaller donations. "Smaller" being relative at present. Shocked

So now all the bonuses have been unlocked; all Kickers get a high-res digital file of the world map; Kickers at $30 and above (and the $25-and-up presalers) get the audiobook of "Lovers and Beloveds" and the rewritten prequel set of stories from Temmin's childhood (tentatively titled "Whithorse Stories"); Kickers above $100 get a printed poster of the world map--I hope. That last is dependent upon printing costs. I haven't priced it out yet.

I need new bonuses. Suggestions so far:

--Bookmarks. I'm definitely doing this. They'll be exclusive artwork and available only to Kickers and presalers.

--Incense. This would have to be if we go way over where we are now. Where we are now, as awesome as it is, will mostly go toward audio gear and map printing costs. Neya's incense is white flowers--tuberose, gardenias, etc.--and something bitter like myrrh; Nerr's is resins and woods with the bitterness. Sadly (?), it would not be hallucinogenic.

Other ideas? T-shirts?

I'm not expecting to go to $4,000. Though at this rate, who knows. All of my wildest imaginings have been met and surpassed. I kinda hope I do, because as things stand the extra money is almost eaten up with audio gear, computer upgrades, freelancer fees and printing costs. Not that I'm complaining; the map really needs finishing and I really need the audio gear to do the audiobook/podcast and I really didn't have the money to do either. It'd be nice, though, to have enough left over to tip Netta (she's been there for me every step) and go out to dinner or something. Smile

Update 2: I'm a Staff Pick today on Kickstarter! eee! I think it even got me a couple of backers. If you're still on the fence, check out all the rewards. You get hyooge piles of stuff now. If you're a presaler and want to move your backing to Kickstarter, let me know and I'll refund you when the Kickstarter funds.

The Kickstarter funded--but don't stop now!

  • Posted on: 16 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I came home from a bellydancing party to discover that not only had the Kickstarter made its goal in less than four days, it was $200 over! 113% funded!

But there are 26 more days to go and there's no reason to stop there! Every $500 I go over unlocks more rewards for backers.

If I go $500 over, I'm rewriting a set of prequel stories from Temmin's childhood to hand out to backers.

PS: There's a video thank you from me
If I go $1000 over, it'll speed up production of the book 1 audiobook (I'll be able to buy the remaining gear and set up my home studio) and $30 and above backers will get a full copy instead of having to listen to it piecemeal via podcast like the rest of the world. (The audiobook will be available for sale but it'll be something like $20.)

If I go $1500 over, I'll be able to hire help to finish the world map and ALL backers will get a high-res digital version of it. Everyone else will be able to see low-res versions here, and they'll be included in the books.

If I go $2000 over I'll investigate how much it'd cost to have the world map printed on posters and send those to $100 and over backers. I haven't committed to that last because a) I don't know how much it'd cost and b) I have no serious reason to believe I'll go $1000 over let alone $2000 over. Even so, I never thought I'd get one taker for the $250 level reward (having a walk-on character named after them) and 3 people bit. One never knows!

This has been an incredible weekend and I'm absolutely exhausted now. Thank you all so, so very much.

PS: There's a video thank-you from me at Kickstarter. Smile


  • Posted on: 15 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I canNOT believe this. As of this writing, I am 94% funded at Kickstarter--less than $100 to go until I reach $1500. This is amazing. I truly expected it would take the full month to get there and even then I worried I wouldn't make it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Even when we get to 100%, for every $500 we go over new bennies unlock, so don't stop pledging! Oh gods, I just can't believe this.

Kickstarter Update: Almost 90% funded in less than two days!

  • Posted on: 14 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

HOLY CARP! As of this writing, the Kickstarter project is at $1,300+ of a $1,500 goal--in less than 36 hours! I have 28 days to get $200. Biggrin

What happens if we go over?

At $500 over, I'm rewriting the stories about Temmin's childhood to make them work with current canon, and I'll be packaging them up as a free ebook for
donors of $30 or more.

At $1000 over, I'll be able to record the book one audiobook MUCH sooner than otherwise. Everyone at $30 or more will get a free copy of the complete audiobook. I'll be podcasting it in half-hour or so installments over the course of--well, probably a year--and the complete audiobook will be available for purchase here.

If we go $1500 over, I'll be able to hire help to finish the map of the world. Everyone, regardless of pledge level, will get a high-res digital copy.

If we go $2000 over, I'll be investigating printing a poster of the map for pledges of $100 or more. I don't know how much it'd cost, so I can't 100% commit to that.

As things stand, what I'm asking for is the barest of bare minimums. There won't be much if any left over for me--it's all spoken for. So I really hope we go over! Biggrin

Kickstarting Book Two

  • Posted on: 13 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I gave in to the inevitable and launched a Kickstarter for book two. Funds were coming in here fairly well, but Kickstarter is more visible. People have a more secure feeling about it. And it may also reach people who read and loved book one but don't check this site.

If you originally bought a presale here, you're not missing anything in terms of rewards per dollar amount at Kickstarter (ie, if you bought a $50 presale, you're getting the same things as someone who "kicks" $60--it's more to account for overhead), but there are some opportunities I didn't offer here. For instance, for $500 I'll name a book two minor secondary character after you (my choice, not necessarily someone who looks or acts like you) and you'll get a 15-minute Skype chat with me. For $1000 I'll name a book 3 major secondary character after you (same provisos) and chat for 30 minutes.

Anyway, here's the video. Yes, that's what I look like:

Second edit of book two is with Netta!

  • Posted on: 9 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I compiled the latest version of the book and sent it off to Netta today. The last version she got was 160,000+ words; this one was 147,000+ words. No major plot points were excised; I just severely tightened up the writing. Not too much, I hope.

Adding to today's big news: I got the first concept sketch from Bea Gonzalez today for the cover. Nothing I can show you guys yet, but when there is you'll see it.

I have decided to do a Kickstarter for the remaining money I need for book two. Fundraising here has done well; it's just that there are a lot of readers who don't come here and don't know about the presale. Kickstarter is a way to reach them, and I'm pretty confident I can make the rest of the money pretty quickly there.


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