MeiLin's blog

Insomnia and Editing

  • Posted on: 7 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I can't sleep and I'm forgetting to eat again. I'm not dancing. I'm miserable. Welcome to the final stages of writing a book.

I'm in the thick of editing book two and I'm like a freaked-out maniac. I'm just obsessed. I don't know if I'm in the middle of a (mild now that I'm on meds) manic swing or if it's just anxiousness to finish the damn book. I think it's the latter, but I don't know.

I'm coming to bed later and later. Velvetackbar has put his foot down; I am coming to bed at 9 when he does. "It'll be easier once I've finished this book," says me. "Baby, there will always be another book," says him. He's right, you know...

Still waiting for cover concept art from Bea Gonzalez. When I get it, you'll see it. I'll also be starting a Kickstarter at that point for the final leg of fundraising.

Anyway, I'm on chapter 11 of 18-plus-epilogue. I'm cruising right along. Netta still needs to look at the edited version. I have to go back with her notes (which so far have been minor).

And then you guys get it. Jumpeveryone

New review for "Lovers and Beloveds"

  • Posted on: 5 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I don't get many reviews these days for "Lovers and Beloveds"; I've been too busy writing "Son in Sorrow" to pursue them. But now and again one falls in my lap. This time, Maria T. Violante of Write, Read, Review has written one of the longest, most thoughtful reviews of LaB yet:

Note: I do not read erotic fiction, but I still found LAB to be captivating – almost like an anthropological study of sex, identify, gender, relationships, power, fetish, etc. Unlike your normal smut novel or porn piece, the sex is heart-breakingly realistic, full of warts and rough edges. People are attracted to individuals that fall outside of their mold – without really knowing why – and are uncomfortable with it. People have sex, not just because they are “in love” or “horny”, but for many of the reasons they do in real life – loneliness, compensation for a bruised ego, the need to feel included or cared for. One motivation touched on is power – the need to possess it, to punish, or conversely, the need to yield to it, to be forgiven. We are shown a full spectrum of relationships that crosses lines of age, of gender, of occupation. At the same time, it isn’t romanticized – Tremontine sex has as many consequences as in real-life. One of my favorite moments was the reaction of a mother whose husband had engaged in a few too many dalliances, and as a result, sired a daughter. The author could have presented the situation in many ways, but I think that with anyone, there’s a definite wish to give your opinion on the matter – to either condemn or condone – but instead, Miranda was adept enough to instead offer us the observer’s window into both the wife’s anger and resentment, and the husbands confused mixture of pride, apathy, even reminiscence – without making us feel pushed into either judging or forgiving. Without a skilled hand or a perceptive eye, the scene wouldn’t have worked; Miranda pulls it off beautifully.

Whenever someone really "gets it," I weep.

ETA: Maria is interviewing me on her site soon.

"Fears Moon Woman" ebook free at Amazon Kindle Stores through 1/2/12

  • Posted on: 1 January 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I'm giving the KDP Select thing a try on a couple of stories. Thus, "Fears Moon Woman," an erotic, rather melancholy short story featuring Rabbit Runnels of Scryer's Gulch, is free today and tomorrow at Amazon all over the world:

If you download it, if you could go back and review I'd be eternally grateful! Enjoy, and Happy New Year, my dears!

Book Two: Major editing completed

  • Posted on: 29 December 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I finished the major editing pass on book two. This is where I go in and tighten the writing, look for duplicate scenes (in a book this big, it's gonna happen) and so on. I got 10,000 words out of it that way! It's still 150,000 words, but hey. I write doorstops. We have already established this. Now you'll have stops for TWO doors, not just one. Smile

My urge is to compile it into a doc and throw it at Netta--"YOU deal with this thing!"--but that's a waste of her time. I'm going to compile it into a mobi book instead and throw it at my Kindle. When I've had a chance to recover some equilibrium, I'll read it and take notes.

I am obsessive when it comes to editing. When I'm editing a big project I can't sleep, I forget to eat, I forget to get dressed--waitaminnit...

...I guess I should go shower now...

Anyway, book two is fast approaching, folks. Smile

Book Two: Where We're At

  • Posted on: 20 December 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I just finished the first book two editing session with Annetta "Netta the Editta" Ribken and wow, I have WAY LESS work to do on this sucker than I thought. One area to expand on, several to condense, some character names to change (I overdo names starting with T and A...waaaaitaminnit...) some breaking up of mega chapters (chapter 10 is 50 PAGES LONG) and that's about it.

Let me repeat: THAT'S ABOUT IT. We're talking about weeks, not months, to put this baby to bed. What this means is, if you're planning on pre-saling, better step it up. Presales make a great Christmas present, if your friends or significant others are fans. (I know one of you is getting one for Christmas--no, I'm not telling.)

I usually close pre-sales about a week to two weeks before the book is done. This is so people get the manuscript asap, I have funds to pay everyone, and there's time to get all the right attributions in the acknowledgments. So...there you have it, folks!

Oh btw: Book one ends here on December 30th. Obviously there's going to be a gap until book two starts. Just FYI.

New rave review!

  • Posted on: 5 December 2011
  • By: MeiLin

To say this 5-star review put me over the moon is an understatement. It's from M.K. Hobson, a great writer and fellow Broad Universe member, someone whose work I greatly admire:

"'Lovers and Beloveds' has everything I adore in high fantasy--lush worldbuilding, political intrigue, and compelling characters--combined with something I rarely (to be honest, almost never) find in high fantasy--intelligent, well-written, relevant sex. The story's explicit content (and it is substantial) is masterfully handled with grace and elegance. Most importantly, it is always in service of the book's sweeping, dramatic narrative. Author MeiLin Miranda deploys her erotic charges in the best possible way: to reveal character, explore power dynamics, and further disclose the unique structure of the rich and fascinating society she has created. She's a d*mn fine writer and definitely one I'll be keeping my eye on in the future!"

If you haven't read Hobson's books, go check her out. Because she is awesome. I'm thrilled. Smile

Bad cover news

  • Posted on: 29 November 2011
  • By: MeiLin

Alice Fox, Official Portraitist to the Court of Harsin the IV and the kickass artist behind the book one cover and all of the character concept art on this site, is too injured to do the cover for book two. I am really upset, mostly for her--she's got some kind of carpal tunnel-y thing going on that's really painful--but of course also for me. The work she did on book one was spectacular, and I was so very much looking forward to her work on book two.

So. If you are or know an artist conversant in book cover design and who can handle original art in an Alphonse Mucha/art nouveau style, get me your portfolio and a rate sheet.


Uh, guys? Book two is with Netta!

  • Posted on: 28 November 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I edited all fifteen chapters, wrote the final scene (which I seem to do after everything else is done and edited), compiled it, and it's now in Netta's hands. Alice is working on the cover. It's coming together, people. If you haven't bought a presale, might wanna get on that. Smile

I'm excited about the book. As it stands now it's EFFING HUGE. I'm hoping to pare it down at least a little, because right now it's 20,000 words more than book one. Shocked

Wish Netta and me luck!

"Son in Sorrow" First Draft: Done. I Think.

  • Posted on: 15 November 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I powered through the last few scenes of book two, rearranged a bit, and now have a completed draft. I'm going to let it sit for a bit--hey, at least until tomorrow morning--then bung it onto my Kindle and take notes. It reads totally different on a Kindle, you guys. Then when I've worked through those notes I'll send it off to Nettah the Editah. I'm also in touch with ace cover artist Alice Fox about getting some quick concept art so you can see what the cover's going to look like.



Book 2 Update: A title and more

  • Posted on: 7 November 2011
  • By: MeiLin

Hey guys, I haven't done one of these in a while so I thought I'd give you an idea what's up. First off: We have a final title for book two. It's "Son in Sorrow," which is a line from Temmin's birth prophecy. The story-in-story is called "The Bastard Heir," and it's one that you've never read before--it's entirely brand new.

I'm not done with the first draft, which I wanted to have done months ago. I'm beginning to feel all George R.R. Martin up in here. I will say that I have the ending mostly written. It was in the middle of the book. I had to move it out to the end and then I had this big gap and and and...anyway, the great part is I've been filling the gap and today I finally hit the already-written part. I still have more to go, but it's coming together well.

Book two presales are still going on. Three packages: $25 ebook and manuscript; $50 ebook, paperback and manuscript; $70 ebook, paperback set of both books and manuscript. You've got a couple more months at least, but sooner would be better. Biggrin


  • Posted on: 5 November 2011
  • By: MeiLin

Hey, everybody! I will be at Orycon Friday, 11/11/11 (IT'S BINARY, CHARLIE BROWN!!) through Sunday 11/13/11.

I'll be co-hosting and possibly reading at the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading 11 am on Sunday in the Grant Room along with a TON of other great writers like M.K. Hobson. "Possibly reading" because I'm an organizer and we're jam-packed with female writerly goodness this time, and they come first. If I do get a chance to read it'll be the super-short "Non Si Muove."

If you spot me in the halls, I command you to say hi! Biggrin

Today from the Pouch of Weenie Decants: The Ta-Ta

  • Posted on: 7 October 2011
  • By: MeiLin

One of the sub-releases of this year's BPAL Halloweenies is the Pickman Gallery, another one of Beth's Lovecraftian comedy series. Read the copy, it's hilarious--Beth is the foremost comic Lovecraft fan fiction writer out there.

So today's from the Pickman series is The Ta-Ta:

Boiled leather, carnation blossom, coffee absolute, and tobacco.

In the decant, I get kind of a peppery note--the carnation I assume--and the leather and coffee. On, I initially get the leather and coffee big time, no carnation at all. Dried down, it's leather, sweet tobacco and coffee in that order, with the carnation waaaay in the back but coming forward as time goes on.

In short, I smell like a sexy barista.

This is gorgeous and as soon as I can afford a bottle or partial I'm getting it. Just wow. I think it would work on men as well as women. Gosh. It's gorgeous.

The blurb doctor is in (updated)

  • Posted on: 4 October 2011
  • By: MeiLin

One of the worst parts of book-writing is coming up with the stupid blurb--that bit of copy that makes people want to buy your book. Everyone hates it. *I* hate it, and I don't think my blurbs are that great.

BUT I LOVE WRITING BLURBS FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Weird, huh? I discovered this over time at Kindleboards, and I've discovered I'm pretty good at it.

So now I'm offering my services. You give me your blurb, I'll make it better. $25. Drop me an email: meilin a t meilinmiranda. c o m.

Update: There is now an official-like Blurb Doctor website with advice and everthang. I'll be putting up the books I rewrite blurbs for there as well.

Happy Farr's Day!

  • Posted on: 21 September 2011
  • By: MeiLin

It's Autumn Equinox, which means it's Farr's Day in Tremont! WHAT DO THAT MEAN?

A typical Farr's Day

Imagine red banners emblazoned with silver crossed knives flying from every home or hung in windows--huge streamers from the roofs of ducal townhouses, tiny homemade pocket kerchief-sized flags in the cracked windows of the poor. On every door that can afford one hangs a shield; if the family has a noble crest, it is newly painted on it. Otherwise guildsmen put the symbol of their craft, merchants the symbol of their goods. The poor have nothing, as usual.

In the Guards barracks, every scrap of metal has been polished to a mirror finish and all weapons sharpened to hair-splitting thinness; even though weapons are always kept so, now they are more so. Regimental banners are inspected for the slightest signs of wear; regimental shields are repainted. The sound of drums reverberates through the streets of the Capital, even though the drummers are out at the Assembly Grounds.

At the Grounds, grandstands have been erected. There the City's luminaries sit in the best seats, with the paying gentry and merchantmen above them. The worst seats can be had for a few coppers, but the truly poor gather on the edges of the Grounds and do their best to see. Some sit on the walls, but this is dangerous for reasons that shall become clear.

When it's time for the God to appear, a hush falls over the crowd. A large group of condemned prisoners, male and female but mostly male, is herded onto the Grounds. There must be at least five hundred of them, probably closer to a thousand--I'm not good at estimating crowd sizes. In times past, there were more prisoners of war and other captives, and any princes, kings or rebel leaders caught during the year are still saved for this day. Dotting this year's prisoners are a few brown faces of Inchari rebels, for instance. At the appearance of the condemned, the crowd begins to cheer in excitement.

The Embodiment of Farr walks onto the Grounds and the crowd falls silent again before taking up the chant of His name. If one had the sight, one would see a red glow envelop Him. He is dressed in ceremonial armor of blinding silver with red enamel chasings, a helm on His head that looks as if a hawk has spread her wings to each side. He carries a sword in each hand, with no sheaths.

The miserable group of prisoners cringes away and the crowd jeers. The poor sitting on the walls push the more terrified back toward the center as Farr begins to spin His swords; the braver ones stand ready to fight, knowing it's hopeless but choosing to die with honor. Rarely Farr will pardon a condemned man if he faces death particularly bravely.

Farr slaughters them all, moving through the throng with an almost leisurely step. Some try to climb the walls and escape--look, one of them has grabbed the leg of an unwary workman. The workman tries to shake him off, but instead he is pulled into the ring himself where he dies with the rest.

By the time the last prisoner is dead, Farr is covered in blood and roaring for more. One year long ago, He jumped the fence and killed an entire slum-ful of innocent people. Farr's Embodiment came to and found himself in a pile of bodies fucking a corpse. He killed himself not long after.

This time there is no horrible accident. Farr takes His place on a dais as the bodies are cleared away to be burned--no entrance to Harla's Hill for the condemned. Weapons makers bring Him their latest creations. Targets are set up, and the Brothers show their skill to their God. Horse archers demonstrate feats of marksmanship at full gallop, and javelins are thrown. Once these targets were human. The conservative factions call every year for them to be human once again, but 9th century reforms so far are holding. It is not humane to tie a man to a stake to be shot at; better he should at least be given the chance to face the Warrior.

At the end of the festivities at the Grounds, Farr moves among the assembled Guards and Brothers, stopping to bless one every now and again. Often he will pick a young man from the ranks and take him as lover for the night, a great honor though once in a while Farr accidentally kills him--a small price to pay, for if he lives he is lucky in battle. Sometimes He'll take several.

When the Warrior retires to His Temple for feasting, the rest of the City goes on a binge. Kegs of beer, casks of wine and cider are rolled into the streets. Everyone--the male half of "everyone," anyway--eats and drinks and sings the old war songs until they fall over and their women trundle them home.

In the Temple, Farr and his men do the same until He becomes roaring drunk--"drunk as Farr" as the saying goes--but He never passes out. He sits among His men, drinking and singing, still covered in the blood of the condemned which never dries on Him. When He's had His fill He retires to his chamber with his lover( s ) for the night.

In the morning, the Embodiment is usually not hung over, but he doesn't drink anything stronger than coffee the rest of the spoke.

Please don't defend me in public.

  • Posted on: 16 September 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I blame myself for this one.

I have literally been waiting for a year for a written bad review for "Lovers and Beloveds." Yesterday it finally touched down. It was polite, to the point, impersonal, and largely based on a dislike of my writing style. I thanked the reviewer for taking the time to both finish a book she didn't like and also to write out the review; there's nothing worse than someone giving your book two stars and not telling you why.

Stupidly I linked to it on Twitter and let the review comment feed onto my FB page. I noted that I wasn't upset--because honestly, I'm not. Really. When you get a bad review there's always that initial rush of dizzying fight-or-flight adrenaline, but it fades quickly. I'm fine. I wasn't pointing to it because it was a bad review, I was pointing to it because it was the FIRST bad review, the one I've said repeatedly was lurking out there like the Nemesis asteroid or Bruce the Shark, and here it finally was!


People apparently took it upon themselves to defend me, which was unnecessary. She didn't attack me. I don't know what they said because the OP deleted them (and will keep deleting them with 100% of my support). I have apologized to the OP, deleted both pointers, and am horrifically embarrassed. Lesson learned.

I will reiterate this again (and again): PLEASE don't defend me either here or elsewhere. I can deal with it. It embarrasses me when you go off on people, especially people who didn't attack me personally in what they've said about my work. I love you for caring that much, but seriously, it does me more harm than good. I keep forgetting that I have a fan base that will do that in places other than here.

If you have to say something about a negative review or comment, just send it to me personally. Don't post it. Please. Just--don't.

That said, this one was my fault.


  • Posted on: 6 September 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I'm finally close enough to the end of the first draft that it's time to start getting money together for Nettah the Edittah. There are two packages this year, the Paperback Presale Package and the Ebook Presale Package. They contain all the goodies from last time:

  • An autographed paperback (except the ebook-only package)
  • All four ebook formats
  • Your name (however you'd like it) in the acknowledgments
  • ...and the biggie: The unformatted doc file within 24 hours of its completion. That's right, you'll get the manuscript before anyone else does--before it's even been turned into an ebook--as soon as editor Annetta Ribken and I decide it's done.

The PPP is $50; the EPP is $25. If you're getting the PPP and you're outside the States, it breaks my heart but I'm going to have to charge you an extra $10. Shipping nearly killed me last time. Sad

Last time you wonderful people funded the entire production of Lovers and Beloveds: IHGK Book One--the editing, the cover design and the typography. I'm hoping we can do that again this time.

I decided not to use Kickstarter; the fees are too high. I'm thinking I might Kickstart the map poster project, if only to spread the word about the entire History.

Thank you in advance for your support of the History. You guys are the ones who made this necessary -- er, possible Wink --and I love every one of you more than you'll ever know.

Update: If you're an international buyer and couldn't get the surcharge link to work, that's fixed now. Sorry! Thanks to lowercaserho for troubleshooting that with me.

We're already 20% of the way to the first editing goal!

Update 2: Now 25% of the way. Smile By request there's also a new option: Paperback set of book two AND book one and all the other good stuff.

Update 3: As of 9/23/11, we've raised the money for the first editing round. Huzzay! If you know other readers who did the pre-sale last time, you might want to drop a word in their ears; even though I've reached out in a dozen different ways, not everyone has heard.

Happy birthday, "Lovers and Beloveds"

  • Posted on: 2 September 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I released "Lovers and Beloveds" a year ago today, going by when I sent it to the pre-salers. In that time I think I've sold about 500 copies, which, for a non-name independent, isn't bad considering the vast majority of traditionally published books sell less than a thousand copies in their lifetimes. And, as Netta likes to say, "Early days, kid, early days." When book two comes out, I expect there will be a flurry.

Speaking of which, I think pre-sales may start next week. In fact I'm almost sure of it.

Now on sale: "Fears Moon Woman"

  • Posted on: 1 September 2011
  • By: MeiLin

"Fears Moon Woman," which appeared as part of the Circlet Press anthology "Like a Moonrise," is now available as a standalone story. This is a "Scryer's Gulch" piece with some backstory on Rabbit Runnels; unlike "Scryer's Gulch," this story is very NC-17.

It will be going into the Patrons area as a free read pretty quick hyar. I'm also going to try experimenting with attaching the ebook files to that post as well.

First real Tremontine map

  • Posted on: 25 August 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I've been working on a world map for some time now, and finally have a version of one up in the patron area. When it's more nailed down I'll be putting it up for everyone to see, never worry. The world map will be included in the second book and I'll be making some (minor) changes in book one at that time, to include the map.

Today from the Unexpected Packet of BPAL: Luna Negra

  • Posted on: 18 August 2011
  • By: MeiLin

A mysterious packet appeared in my mail yesterday with a bunch of BPAL decants in it. Turns out a BPAL friend decided to gift me! I haven't done a BPAL review here in an age so why not?

Luna Negra is one of three limited edition scents released on a dark moon last month, unlike BPAL's usual habit of releasing Lunacies on the full of the moon. If memory serves, each of the three has been released before in different iterations. Luna Negra is:

Blackberry and black currant with Nepalese amber, kewda attar, and a deep, rich, sweet dark musk.

Kewda attar, by the way, is a form of sandalwood. The oil is a dark reddish color.

In the imp: I'm wondering if this was mislabeled; I get a strong patchouli, which is a note in Black Moon. Looking at the notes, my nose may be reading this as a patchouli accord.


Dry: Sweeter, gentler, no patchouli. The sandalwood, amber and musk are predominant with just a breath of the berries to sweeten it. Really pretty, but if you're going anywhere put it on 15 minutes before you leave, especially if you're going anywhere with my husband.

The Future of the Webserial May Not Be on the Web (Updated x2)

  • Posted on: 4 July 2011
  • By: MeiLin

Cross-posted at WebLit.Us

Update: You can now subscribe to the site on Kindle. UK people who found they couldn't subscribe at that link, here's the link for you. I'll keep webserial folks posted on results here and at WebLit.Us.

A funny thing has happened: I've stopped reading webserials.


You see, I got a Kindle, and I realize now that I hate reading on the web. Hate. It. But I like serialized fiction. And I'm hearing from readers of my own work that they're in the same position now that they have ereaders; they've stopped reading on the web. I'm thinking that ereaders have the serious potential of taking away our online audiences.

So now I have a dilemma as both a reader and a writer. What to do? I could do what a lot of traditionally published writers, agents, editors and publishers do and rage against those horrible ereaders. Or I could be smart and go with it. I choose smart.

As a writer I'm going to start publishing my feed on Kindle. Or try to; there are hoops I have to jump through.

As a reader, I'm going to start asking writers to do the same--once I test the waters. There's no charge--no downside--and a potential revenue upside. It pushes content to the Kindle, and any advertising eyeballs lost may be balanced by subscriptions.

I'm also going to see if there are other blog-to-ereader apps out there that will work on, say, Nooks. iPhones and Droid devices have Kindle readers already so I'm not worried about them.

So what do you think? Do you have an ereader? Would you prefer to have this site on your ereader than your web browser? Note I'm not asking you whether you'd pay for it, just whether you'd prefer it; I'm thinking that this might be a way of reaching out to readers I don't have yet.

And if you're a fellow serialist, have you tried this? What's been your experience?


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