Shared Worlds experience was great -- there will be a more detailed report when I guest-blog for Ecstatic Days. For now, let me just say that I have two dragon pictures on my refrigerator, and Jeff VanderMeer is very fun to hang out with. Also, any town that has a sushi restaurant and a beer place with 50+ beers on tap is a pretty good town in my book.
In regards to the ongoing discussion of people being happy/unhappy with Prime, I think it would be helpful to see who had a POD book vs offset, as well as when those dealings had happened. Prime is my publisher and I have been quite happy with them -- I got a strong impression that Sean is working on getting to the next level, from mostly POD to offset books, distributed in bookstores and libraries, with advances and other things writers enjoy seeing. That of course does not negate the experiences of others, but I would be curious to see how the switch to bookstore distribution and offset printing affected writer happiness. Also, in my experience, Prime/Sean was very willing to negotiate with me regarding the contract -- there were several clauses I modified and they approved, including specifying a minimum print run and a time limit on some subsidiary rights.
I have a short story at Voyages Extraordinaires. It involves amber.
Finally, BPAL. As Amal correctly pointed out, I have not been reviewing recent scents, which is really an unforgivable lapse. So, without further ado:
Irrelevant and Disturbing Surreal Crawdad Dream, Forum Only
( An irrelevant, disturbing, and surreal scent: red currant, green tea, red musk, Hawaiian ginger, benzoin, vanilla, coriander, squash blossom, and blueberry. )
This is a very fruity scent in the bottle. Red currant is not as prominent on me as I would normally expect; instead, green tea and musk take the front stage when wet and on the initial drydown. About after ten minutes, the drydown settles into a sweeter smell, with benzoin, coriander, and blueberry blending into something very sweet yet spicy. Then tea comes back, reinforced by ginger, and the last two stages never settle -- every time I smell it, there is a different note in the foreground. Very complex and interesting scent.
Chaos Theory IV: Edge of Chaos (CXLII)
(Random scent, one of a kind)
In the bottle: tea! Not just any tea, but orange pekoe. Very tsrong, sharp, almost astringent. Wet: same, with addition of woods. On dry down, it goes through a very short (mercifully) stage where the astringency of the smell is very unpleasant, but then it settles into a very mellow and warm concoction of tea and ho wood (same wood as in Habu, for those keeping score). Orange pekoe mellows into something much lighter -- the final tea note is almost green. It is not the kind of smell that I would choose based on description, but it makes me shockingly happy and it works.
(Golden mead, fermented with gruit, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger root, sweet-briar, rosemary, and lemon.)
Ah, perfect lazy scent. Mostly honey with some fine spiciness from clove and nutmeg. Sweet-briar is very prominent on drydown, and lemon thankfully never shows up. Just lovely.
(Nepalese amber, vanilla infused amber, golden musk, sandalwood, golden lily, sunflower, and honey myrtle.)
This is very different from what I expected -- lily is rather more noticeable in the beginning, and as a result the whole thing is a lot more floral than I expected. Thankfully, lily is one of the few florals I like, and amber and musk gave it added depth and sweetness. Soon after, the floral notes retreated, leaving mostly amber and vanilla -- it's such a perfect scent, so sweet and very deep. Sandalwood grounds the lot with just a hint of resinous spice. I will be wearing this a lot this summer. (Note: I did also get the bath oil and the room spray, and both are just as lovely.)