Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mistress of the Mirror collection now available

Just an assortment of news and updates. First, Mistress of the Mirror and Other Stories, my new short story collection, is finally available. This collection contains five short fantasy tales of strange things found in pawnshops... And things too strange for pawnshops:

Mistress of the Mirror: A poor woman, an assassin, and a mirror.
Valuables: A curious pawnshop owner and a mysterious figurine.
Of Rings and Lemon Cream Cakes: A respectable spinster and a diamond ring with a mind of its own.
Pawned: A fate worse than death.
A Worthy Instrument: A struggling musician and the lute of his dreams.

Only 99 cents at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Smashwords | OmniLit | DriveThruFiction | Kobo. Through August 31, if you sign up for my email alerts, you can get a coupon code for a free copy from Smashwords!

So whenever I think things are going to settle down, it seems like that's just an invitation for something else to happen. The week before last, it was the event that will hereafter be known as the Lycopolypse, when Lycos, the hosting and domain name provider, crashed for nearly three days. The Lycos sites, including customer service, email (including my business domain email), and subscriber control panels went down, as did sites hosted on Lycos and its subsidiaries Tripod and Angelfire, AND (relevant to our interests here) all domain names registered through Lycos (including stopped working. So if you tried to visit my site on those days and got an error, that's what happened.

Fortunately, everything is back up and working, but I've also decided it's time to move on from Lycos. I'd been with Angelfire and Lycos since 2001, when I started my fanworks archive that I still run. Back in the old days, if you had some fanfiction or fanart you wanted to collect and post, or opinions to make available to the world, or any kind of hobby or interest to show off, or just wanted to carve out a little space for yourself on the internet, you taught yourself some basic html, signed up with Angelfire or GeoCities or Tripod (there were other hosts, too, but those were the Big Three and Angelfire generally seemed to be considered the best), and made yourself a website. None of this easy, instant Wordpress/Tumblr/drag n drop stuff; you had to actually learn some coding. But it was fun; there were a lot more regularly-updated amateur fansites back then, and if you've never had the experience of going to your favorite fansite, hoping for an update with a new chapter on that fic you were following or some cool new fanart to admire, and seeing - oh joy! - that flashing neon green text on black background scrolling by announcing an update, well, that's a big part of the internet you've missed out on. My fanworks site was hosted on Angelfire; just few weeks before the Lycopolypse I copied it over to private hosting owned by my older son and his wife. The Angelfire site went down, but with the domain names not working, no one could get to it on the other hosting, either, and of course no one could get to my author site. So I made the decision that it was time to transfer my domain names away from Lycos. That's been kind of a mess (I've had to involve their registrar, Tucows), but hopefully I'll get it all sorted out soon without any more disruption. Looking back, I'd been seeing signs for a few years now that Lycos wasn't the great company it used to be. I should have gotten out sooner, but I was still kind of sentimental about it. No more; it's time to move on.

One important thing to note: This site being unavailable for a few days had nothing to do with Weebly, my hosting service. Weebly has been awesome and very reliable, with great, responsive customer service. Still, I'm backing up my site (saving to Evernote, so I can keep the contents and the general layout) just in case the day does come that something happens to Weebly. Hopefully it won't; they've been great to work with.

So I'm still kind of tearing my hair out over the lack of progress with getting both of my domain names transferred (my fansite domain is all settled in its new home, but the transfer for is dead in the water at the moment), but otherwise it's back to the writing. The Source-Fixer is out to beta readers now, and the Mistress of the Mirror collection is finally up for sale. Next up, I'm working on getting Tales of Azara, a collection of companion stories to Chosen of Azara, ready to publish and working out more kinks in the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings. Some of what I've already written I can keep, but a lot is going to have to be ditched or changed as I rein myself in from my meanderings and get back to the heart of what the Wildings books are really about. I've been re-reading The War of Art and Do the Work by Steven Pressfield and using the focused and simplified three-part outline structure from Do the Work, and I think I've finally got a handle on this.

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