Blogs

Upcoming ebook of IHGK shorts: "Accounts"

  • Posted on: 26 January 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I'm publishing an ebook of the "Accounts" series of short story prequels--the ones of Maleen Polls, Teacher and the twins. Initially it will be up at Smashwords. I'm giving it away. I'll be releasing a number of the old stories as ebooks; they'll be edited to fit canon. If they have sex in them, they'll be 99 cents; if they don't, they'll be free. Wink

Fundraiser: $10 for Chunk of Book 2 First Draft

  • Posted on: 24 January 2011
  • By: MeiLin

As I said in the last blog post, my insurance company has decided I don't really need to have a particular critical test every month--or at least they don't have to pay for it. Nor do they have to pay large chunks of other bills I thought they were paying. And a tooth has decided to go bad at the same time.

Rather than whine here for donations, I'm offering you something for something. You give me $10, I give you the prologue and first chapter of book two. That's about 8,800 words.

Keep in mind that it's drafty in the extreme. You're going to note things aren't as filled out as they should be. Wording may be awkward in spots. There may be editing artifacts or typos. The whole thing may even get thrown out in the end (don't think so, but it could happen). But if you really want to know what to look forward to, you'll get a good idea.

A fundraising idea (updated)

  • Posted on: 23 January 2011
  • By: MeiLin

In my ongoing no-whine quest to fund my work, I've had a thought, a thought spurred on by some medical bills my insurance company decided not to cover and a toothache I really need fixed but can't afford. (Ad revenue has been really slow on both my sites the last couple of months.) So this is the idea I've come up with:

A lot of people are excited about book two, which makes me really happy, and I'm hard at work on it. Lots of people have asked for hints. And so I am thinking about giving people a peek at the first draft--at a few cents a word. I'm not sure how much. Is ten cents a word too much? A penny isn't enough.

What do you think?

Update: Based on feedback here and elsewhere, I think a penny a word would work. So 100 words for a buck, 1000 words for ten bucks. Yeah, it's a lot, but I'm letting you see REALLY drafty material. You Pay For My Shame. Anyway, I'm going to try it and if no one picks up on it, well, I'll know it was a bad idea! Biggrin

Shipping update, 1-18-11

  • Posted on: 18 January 2011
  • By: MeiLin

All international shipping is now completed, and that catches me up at last. I sent off the last eleven packages in an epic 1.5 hour schlep to the post office.

Velvet Ackbar and I had spent most of an evening filling out customs forms and packing/addressing/autographing books (well, I did all the autographing). But I discovered when I got to the PO that I had the wrong customs forms. We'd spent an hour or more painstakingly filling out these really long forms that it turned out were only for priority mail. Nowhere on the form does it say "priority." Nowhere in the PO were the non-priority customs forms; these were the only ones available.

So I had to start all over and fill out eleven more, different, customs forms. My hand cramped; it took well over a half-hour, and I'm not used to ballpoint pens any more.
When I tell you how much it cost, you will understand why I had to save up to get the last packages out: $162 and change. Next pre-sale I will know who bought packages first so I can ship out the internationals in clumps as I have the money, rather than waiting. I should've done that this time, maybe alphabetically or something, but I waffled on how to do it fairly. Dopey Mei.

Also now dopey Mei has the right customs forms on hand so VA can help her fill them out. I was at an unattended cashier's post. There was a rack that looked like it was for employees only, but there was a big stack of the proper forms in it. Reader, I stole those forms. They're in my shipping supplies right now. Take that, you PO you.

IF YOU ARE DOMESTIC and you have not gotten your package by the end of this week, please contact me. Some packages I know have gone amiss.

Shipping update 1/13/11

  • Posted on: 13 January 2011
  • By: MeiLin

I am staring at a box filled with 20 packages, most for international. I had to save up for the postage--that's going to be an expensive shipping bill. If you've bought a book and it hasn't arrived, it's now on its way (or will be tomorrow when I go to the PO).

What was really upsetting was that as I went through the store interface to round up the stragglers I found a bunch of orders that Paypal had screwed up on--paid for but never fully entered into the workflow! aaagh! Did I have enough books? YES--EXACTLY! phew.

I'm all caught up! Now the problem is, I'm out of books! I won't get more for two weeks.

But man, does it feel good to be looking at that pile of packages. That has been weighing on me. Big thanks to Velvet Ackbar for helping me fill out the customs forms and get everything signed and packed. Neil Gaiman should be so lucky to have a Velvet Ackbar. Wink

Win a copy of "Like a Moonrise"

  • Posted on: 13 January 2011
  • By: MeiLin

Do you like well-written fantasy smut? Sure, we all do!

Then you want a copy of the ebook Like a Moonrise, and I can make that happen for five of you, for free.

"Like a Moonrise" is a collection of six stories of shapeshifter erotica, including my story "Fears Moon Woman." There are tales of all sexualities here, from straight to GLBT, and all involving shapeshifters of some kind--not all the standard Lawrence Talbot wolfman, either.

So here's the deal: I will GIVE a copy of "Like a Moonrise" to the first five people who pinky-swear promise to review it on Goodreads. I'm talking at least a sentence or two, preferably a paragraph, not just a star rating.

Comment here to enter.

About the ginormous ad

  • Posted on: 4 January 2011
  • By: MeiLin

This started out as a comment, but it was long enough that I'm like, fine, blog post. Smile It's about the ginormous ad currently appearing in the content of posts.

It's WAY bigger than I thought it'd be. My ad agency (Blogads) designs that ad unit for standard blogs; it would normally appear between two posts on a regular calendar-style blog page. My site doesn't work that way, so it appears within the post. It's there till the 11th whether I want to keep it or not. I moved the ad further down the page, and I hope it helps.

I pretty much didn't want that unit, but they came to me and said they'd had requests for it on the site. It's a huge moneymaker that I can't afford to turn down right now, especially with rather squishy ad sales. For perspective, that one week of advertising is the equivalent of 38 ebook sales, 26 monthly subscribers, or some mix thereof.

I'm posting my work free. At least 90% of the people who read it don't pay for it, either in donations, ebook purchases, or patronages. That's not a complaint, it's just reality. It's the model I've chosen, and in the long run I expect it to pay off.

But this is the short run.

I used to whine about money here. I try not to do that now. It's unbecoming. If we have financial troubles (and we do), I try to take care of things myself rather than come to you guys and whine. I'm hoping to figure out a way to opt patrons out of ads, but so far, no go (that's why the site broke earlier this evening, argh); I'm still going to keep looking for a solution to that.

Book sales will improve. They're not horrible now, compared to the vast majority of independents; they're just not nearly enough. The more commercial aspects of the site will shrink as income streams from my books grow.

In the meantime, I have to take every opportunity for income I can, and I'm sorry for that, but I'm putting food on the table here. Sad That said, this ad slot is probably going away after this ad expires. It's way, way bigger than I thought it'd be.

BUT! Please do visit the writers who took out that ad. Those of you who like my work very well might like theirs. Thank you.

New review of "Lovers and Beloveds," and a shipping update (updated yet again)

  • Posted on: 28 December 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Keryl Raist has a really good review of "Lovers and Beloveds" today. She also posted it at Goodreads, Amazon and Smashwords. So far, the book is at least 4.5 stars pretty much everywhere it's sold or reviewed, the exception seeming to be Barnes & Noble where I don't think there are any reviews up. All the official reviewer-type people I've sent the book to have come very close to raving. I still dread that one savage review. It's out there somewhere (it is for all writers); it just hasn't found me yet. Shocked

Shipping news:

I'm down to the last 20 books or so to ship! That's including recent orders! If you're international, your book will be going out this week. I had to save up a bit to afford the postage. *weeps*

Once I'm caught up, books should go out the same week in which they're ordered barring me being out of books, and I'm going to try to keep a small stock on hand. It's taken me by surprise how many people want autographed copies rather than going through, say, CreateSpace or Amazon. But then it's surprised me how many people want copies at all. Smile

Sales news:

Because you guys invested in me, I want to be somewhat transparent in my dealings. So far since the book launch in September, I've sold about 75 copies of the paperback; that includes direct, CreateSpace and Amazon sales. I've done more than twice that in ebooks, including direct, Amazon Kindle, B&N and Smashwords.

That may not sound like a lot, and in fact if you stack me up against indies like JA Konrath or Zoe Winters, it's piddling. But I've sold about 70 more copies of the paperback and 150 more copies of the ebook than 99% of most other indies. And if you measure most traditionally published authors against the titans like Stephen King, they'll look piddling, too. (Actually, most traditionally published books sell less than a thousand copies each. Little known fact.)

I remain optimistic. It's still early days, and the word out in book land is both building and extremely positive.

Update: All domestic orders are out! Tomorrow and the next day I hope to have all the internationals out--nine orders. yay!

Happy Eddin's Day

  • Posted on: 21 December 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Good Yule, friends! Party

Being pagan, we give our presents to one another on Solstice. We cleaned off the dining room table so we could *actually eat off it zomg* and cleaned our altar--new candles, new altar cloth, rotate the Green Man to his winter face. We ate pork--traditional for Yule--and broccoli and salad and cranberry sauce.

And then we opened presents.

I got two Kindle books I really wanted--MK Hobson's The Native Star and Gail Carriger's Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate). A pair of knee-high sock garters and these mitts that I fell in love with at Sock Dreams but would never ever buy myself (now I won't take them off), AND a pair of socks. A hand-drawn book by No2 Daughter, and a beautiful watercolor pencil portrait of me by No1 Daughter (who drew a HILARIOUS comic book for her father that I'm hoping we'll get to post on her site). And a fistful of Preppy fountain pens, my favorite cheap delivery systems for gorgeous ink. Just in time too; two of my current four have gone walkabout. (They'll pop up eventually.) Also I get to go, er, toy shopping with Velvet Ackbar. *ahem*

Oh! and I'm getting pictures of people with my book! yay!

I finished two of the three example felted slippers I decided to make at the last minute for everyone. The girls got to see what their booties will look like, though they're big, floppy and unfelted; No1 got slate blue and dark brown, No2 wine and navy, and VA got clogs in two shades of gray. (I'm making myself a pair of brown booties later.)

Oh--and VA got matching Jamie and Adam bobble-heads. Smile

Tomorrow is a skip day for the Gulch. BUT! You will be treated to some original art by No1 Daughter, the creator of Love in Idleness.

Happy Eddin's Day, everyone!

"Like a Moonrise": On Sale 12/28/10

  • Posted on: 13 December 2010
  • By: MeiLin

"Like a Moonrise: Erotic tales of Shapeshifters" goes on sale December 28th! It's a collection of erotica from Circlet Press, featuring my story "Fears Moon Woman":

Rabbit Runnels smelled her before he saw her.

Her scent was somehow familiar, like the smell the canyons gave off in the evenings after a hot day: sage, warm dirt, fur, clover--and female. Something deep within him woke up and rose on its hind legs.

He hadn’t changed the once yet, but his ears and nose were almost unbearably acute now. He could track a man just by smell alone, even through the filth and stench of the mining camp. Useful for a deputy, but if he was lucky he’d never get the chance. If he was lucky, something would find him tonight and kill him. He couldn’t do it himself, but it was all right with him if some critter ate him when he wasn’t himself.

This wasn’t a critter, though. This was a woman, and her scent pulled at him so hard he wondered if he’d keep his footing.

I've read the other stories in the collection, and it's a doozy; if you get an e-reader for Christmas, here's a great read to warm you up! Smile

When it goes live, I'll be putting up the sales link here. If you're a reviewer, or if you promise to review it at Goodreads/Amazon/etc (not sure where-all it's going to be) as close to the 28th as possible, ping me and I'll get you a review copy.

Shipping books

  • Posted on: 9 December 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I'm shipping books today. Don't know how many I'll get through today. LOTS to ship. You'll be getting email when your book ships. Velvet Ackbar and I are going to be packing books pretty frantically this week; we want them OUT OF THE HOUSE and I know you want what you paid for. Smile

One thing I've learned: Europeeps, Britpeeps, unless I charge you extra for a pre-sale, I'm going to have to restrict overseas pre-sales next time to ebooks unless I can find a UK/European POD printer. Shipping them from here is taking a huge chunk of money. That's not a complaint; that's lack of planning/foresight on my part, not yours.

Anyway: alternating writing and shipping today and the next few. We hope to have everything out the door by Monday.

Flash Fiction: Non Si Muove

  • Posted on: 2 December 2010
  • By: MeiLin

This was written for the recent New Scientist contest. The challenge was to write a story less than 350 words including the title: "Send us your very short stories about futures that never were. Tell us where we'd be today if the ether had turned out to exist after all, or if light really was made up of corpuscles emitted by the eyes. You don't have to be scientifically accurate, but the more convincing your story, the more likely it is to win!" I think I failed in meeting the criteria, but I still like the resulting story enough to let you see it.

Non Si Muove

"Were you frightened when they sent you up in the rocket, Grandfather Yuri?"

"Oh, no, not for a moment, my dear. As long as the Motherland knows where her son flies in the sky, a pilot is never alone."

"Is space very black, Grandfather Yuri?"

"Very black indeed, and the earth very blue. Wonderful blue, amazing blue."

"Did you see the moon? And the stars?"

"Oh yes, darling child."

"And the angels?"

"All the angels among them, their shoulders against the celestial spheres."

"And how many angels push the moon, Grandfather Yuri?"

"Just the one, though He has two faces."

"And did you see His faces?"

"The light and the dark, yes, though only for a moment. He is terrible to behold, and one must not gaze at Him too long."

"Is that how you lost your sight, Grandfather Yuri?"

"...Yes, child. That is how I lost my sight. And that is why we send no more men up in rockets. Now, take me to the house. I believe it is time for supper."

MLM/Twitter integration is working again! Or not!

  • Posted on: 28 November 2010
  • By: MeiLin

This is more of a test of the system, but it appears to be working again. If you have a Twitter account listed at MeiLinMiranda.com, your posts (not comments--posts) will be linked on your Twitter account, and your tweets will be listed in your profile. You should also be able to log in with a Twitter account now.

Here's hopin'!

update 1: I am seeing tweets in my profile, but my postings here don't seem to be posting there in spite of the cheery green box telling me the post has been successful...

Wanna hear my voice? (updated)

  • Posted on: 21 November 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I'm going to be on Blog Talk Radio's Flash in the Dark show with Lori Titus today at 3 pm PST / 11 pm GMT. I'm not sure if they're accepting call-ins, but I'll be there, and it'll be archived. Tune in!

Update: That was a fast hour. Sorry they didn't take calls, guys. If you missed it, you can listen to the archive at the above link.

I'll be on Blog Talk Radio again this Friday 11/26 at 3 pm PST with Kat Holmes on her show, Kat's Writing Pen. If there are any podcasts or Blog Talk Radio shows you think might want me as a guest, feel free to recommend me to them, and tell me so I might query myself. I queried Mur Lafferty for I Should Be Writing, but heard nothing, so that's one I already tried.

Orycon After-Action Report

  • Posted on: 16 November 2010
  • By: MeiLin

How was Orycon? Pretty good.

I worked the green room Friday as a volunteer and really enjoyed it; don't know why anyone wouldn't want to do that. I have resolved this will be my regular Friday Orycon thing, absent any panels I MUST attend, which isn't likely; Fridays are slow.

Best panel hands down that I went to was "A Polite Society" with Gail Corriger, Petra Mitchell, the redoubtable MK Hobson, and Joan Gaustad. I've known Petrea since she was a high-schooler, when we were on alt.tv.mst3k together; she came for the party we threw when "Mitchell" aired and the Joel era came to an end. She's all growed up now, and I'm old. *sigh*

ANYWAY. Great panel, bunch of book recommendations I need to add to Goodreads.

My own panels were okay. The Broad Universe reading was the best of them; a lot of people smashed into a small room to hear me read with the likes of Ms Hobson, Jessica Reisman, Jennifer Brozek, the very funny Camille Alexa, AM Dellamonica, and Cat Rambo. phew. I felt very outclassed. There was another indie there: Mary Lowd. It was a source of comfort knowing I wasn't the sole indie! Check Mary out, especially if you like anthropomorphic animal stories (the term "furry" brings up bad connotations these days...).

I read third, right after Cat and Camille, argh. I read the opening section of "Fears Moon Woman," and was: 1) embarrassed to be reading from an erotic story even though that section wasn't erotic; and 2) worried I was going to overshoot my time slot. So I rushed. I can read way better than I read that night. Velvet Ackbar wasn't there, so I have no real judge of how the story was received. I felt the applause was merely polite, and was downhearted.

But at the elevators, a last-minute addition to the readers whose name I think is Sarah Mueller--I can't find any info on her, but everyone else seemed to know her, I feel sheepish and I probably just have her name wrong--stopped and told me how much she loved my piece. I don't know if she just saw on my face how discouraged I was, or if she really liked it, but it was a kind thing to do.

The late night panels were pretty much awful. No one showed for Sex and Death until way late; by the time we got going it was time to stop. And only five people showed for the erotica reading. I felt rushed doing that, too; I was told we basically had all the time we needed, and the moderator instead was strongly enforcing a 20 minute limit. So I rushed through that, too. And strangely it's much harder reading explicit erotica to five people than it is to 30, the audience last time I read there. If I do it next year I'm going to flyer it, because reading for five people in a huge room...it's discouraging.

Bottom line: I'm on the radar of a few more people than I was last time, I had a goodly amount of fun, and I've learned to time my readings before I do them (even though I practiced, it never occurred to me to time myself because I'm dense like that).

Now I'm considering doing Radcon in February, but I hesitate. I hate driving that far. Amtrak goes there, but I don't have any way to get to the hotel from the train station, and the train arrives at 9 pm and departs at 5:30 am so I'd have to stay Thursday night-Monday morning. I am anxious far from home--hell, I'm anxious going across the river to downtown.

The coolest thing happened just before we packed up to go. I got a package from a friend from BPAL.org. She had informed me that she was sending me a giftie and I was not to argue. Inside were two pairs of earrings. One set are pretty pale amethyst-colored drops. But the other pair are silver. On a round disc dangling from each one appear the words: "be loved and beloved".

I haven't taken them off yet.

Attn: People with accounts, reset your theme

  • Posted on: 14 November 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I've heard many reports of people using IE and Safari seeing the site all screwed up. Well, I finally found the problem. There was a module screwing everything up, and removing it doesn't solve the issue entirely. Removing it unsets everyone's theme. SO this is what I suggest EVERYONE do:

--Log in to your account.

--Choose the edit tab.

--Set the theme to Fusion MeiLin 2.

--Save it.

Everything should work after that.

Thanks for your patience!!!!

Radio Silence (Mostly) for Orycon

  • Posted on: 11 November 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Hey, folks, I'm getting ready for Orycon, which starts tomorrow. Today I'm pre-cooking everything--bacon, roast chicken, hard-boiled eggs, cutting up veg for salad--cuz we brings our own food. Celiac: body-enforced healthy eating!

So I'm not going to be around much till Monday. I'll try to check in as I can.

Please think good thoughts/pray/light candle/whatever because I'm terrified; I'm reading with a REALLY good group of women SF/F writers at the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading Saturday night, and then I'll be reading at the Late Night Erotica panel later that same night.

I haven't read in public in 2 years, and I've never read at a non-erotica reading. I also don't know what I'm going to read at BU, the others are all tradpubbed (I think I'm the only indie), and I haven't had time to practice. I'm fighting an anxiety attack.

But I've got all the shopping done and the chicken's in the oven. Breathe, Mei, breathe!

In desperate need of suggestions for an excerpt!

  • Posted on: 7 November 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Hey you guys! I'll be reading not once but TWICE at Orycon! woohoo! I'll be reading "Fears Moon Woman" at the Late Night Erotica Reading...

...and I'll be reading SOMETHING at the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading earlier that night. Help me figure out what! I have between five and six minutes, that's all. The flash fiction I wrote for the New Scientist contest I can read in a little over a minute--it's only 177 words long!

So I need a chunk of LaB or the Gulch to read. Five to six minutes translates out to about 800 words. If you've read all of LaB and can think of a short section that might grab a listener, holla! Because I have NO IDEA.

The reviews keep rollin' in

  • Posted on: 5 November 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I've been spamming the universe with requests for reviews from the various small review sites that take indie books--the big ones still haven't gotten the memo on self-pub and refuse to even consider my query. But you know, Resistance to The Book will fall via death by a thousand cuts. Give up now, readers. Wink

The latest is at Pop My Cherry, and is nothing short of a rave. How much of a rave? The reviewer pasted it at Goodreads, Amazon and Smashwords, and even though I gave her a free review e-copy she came here and bought the paperback. THAT's how much of a rave. Shocked Thanks, Kay!

So far, readers have given me 8 five-star reviews and one four-star review at Amazon. Some of them I don't even know from here.

I have you guys to thank for that. Keep spreading the word!

Marketing Mission #8: Rate up a particular review at WFG

  • Posted on: 25 October 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Over at WebFictionGuide.com, IHGK remains top-rated, and that's good. But so many of the reviews refer to the old draft. I want to get the word out that what is said there about IHGK is outdated. So I've put up a "review" myself. Could you please vote it up? This is what it says in case you're worried I'm sock-puppeting:

The Author Would Like to Say…
. . . that all but one of these reviews reflects a version of the serial that is no longer available. Please come check out the new version. It’s better. Promise.

That's all it says. You'll find it here. Just log in to WFG if you have an account and mark the review as helpful.

That's it! Quick and easy!

And yes, I rated myself five stars. I'm the only pimp I have.

For other Marketing Missions--quick and easy things you can do to help promote the story--click on the "All Together Now" icon. Thanks!

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