Diane Duane's 'The Big Meow'

Welcome to the glitzy, murky world of 1946 Hollywood, a smoggy film-noir landscape filled with glamourous starlets, flamboyantly corrupt studio heads, and wicked, pampered cats with hidden agendas; a city of unsolved murders, snoopy screenwriters, scheming PR flacks, and a shadowy, celebrity-ridden cult dabbling in knowledge better left alone -- knowledge which could destroy the world's present and doom its future, if the dreadful promise of the Year of the Black Jaguar is fulfilled...

(Want to read the full "back cover" blurb for The Big Meow? It's now over here.)

And welcome to the weblog for the online Big Meow novel project!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Weblog address change coming up

Now that the website is pretty much in order (or will be as soon as we get the Ailurin refrigerator poetry working: sigh...), we're going to be moving the weblog from its present hosting at Blogspot to an address at our own FTP server. Please keep an eye on the blog in the next day or two for info about the new address.

For a month or so they'll mirror each other: then the Blogspot address will either simply become a forwarding address, or will close down.

10:25 AM | 0 comments |

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Challenge Grant #4 now running!

A kindly donor has put up USD $400.00 as a challenge grant. If you donate or subscribe to the Big Meow project now, you can make your challenge go twice as far!

The challenge started running at 10:00 GMT -- the PayPal button for challenge grant subscriptions/donations is in the sidebar to the left. Let's see how long this one takes to complete...

And thanks again for your support!

10:11 AM | 0 comments |

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another challenge grant coming up

Tomorrow, March 28th, at 10:00 GMT (that's 4 AM [US] EST) we'll be starting another challenge grant. A generous donor has put up USD $400.00 in matching funds...so if you've been thinking about a single-chapter subscription to the book (or a full-book subscription, for that matter) this is a great way to make your money go twice as far.

We'll have PayPal buttons up here on the weblog and over at the main website for those who're interested in participating. Grants have been matched more and more quickly each time: the last challenge took less than three hours to match a $500.00 grant.

Maybe we can do it even faster this time. Let's find out...

(And of course there's always the button below for those who just can't wait.)

4:38 PM | 0 comments |

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Chapter One file format available: MobiPocket .PRC

The excellent Linnette Stoney has taken Chapter One and converted it to Palm OS / MobiPocket .PRC format, which can be read by PDAs running the Palm OS, as well as various other PDAs. It's downloadable at the Chapter One gateway page.

Linnette will also be converting new chapters to .PRC format as they come out.

Thanks, Linnette!

8:36 PM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Just a note in passing regarding something that came up

I ran across this reference to the Big Meow project in a nice weblog called Everyday Literacies:

Online narrative writing practices, especially those associated with fanfic writing have spawned a reading and peer editing process generally referred to as 'beta reading'. Basically, the process involves the author posting a narrative, or a chapter from a more extended narrative, to a relatively private public space like a blog before publishing it in a wider or more formal venue, including as meatspace novels, and asks for reader feedback on work done so far (e.g., the novel,Four and Twenty Blackbirds was written this way). Now, Diane Duane, a writer of young adult fiction, is posting online installments of her latest novel, Feline Wizards 3: The Big Meow, for readers to review and provide feedback on....

Erm. Can I clear something up here (before the mailbox starts filling up with kindly offers)? I'm not posting the chapters "for readers to review and provide feedback on." I'm publishing them to publish them. :)

...Oh, doubtless there'll be some critique and comment here and there; but that was never the point of putting the chapters up. (Nor would I dream of trying to blanket-pressgang beta readers in such a manner: it'd smack too much of trying to get other people to do my work for me.) The idea has been (a) to let people see the material as it would go to an editor in first-draft form: (b) and just plain to let them read and enjoy it, since a lot of folks clearly want access to it the very minute each chapter is ready. (BTW, editorial is handled: I've already hired a professional editor -- one I've worked with before on more conventionally published books -- to assist me in going over the material when the book is done.)

So if anybody sees anything in the pages on the Big Meow website suggesting that I'm looking for critique on the material, or soliciting beta-readers, please let me know where it is so that I can get it out of there. I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea of what's going on.

8:54 AM | 0 comments |

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Chapter One has been turned loose

It's now freely available online here:


BTW: if you were a one-chapter subscriber and didn't receive a notification about the chapter's pre-release location, please mail me and I'll see to it that you get a credit for Chapter Two. And my apologies for the problem. It seems that the email addresses of a very few one-chapter subscribers somehow didn't make it into the notification mailing list.

10:40 AM | 0 comments |

(sigh) Spam arriving at the mailing list address already...

Well, I should have expected it, so we'll be changing the mailing list address shortly, as a temporary measure while I test out a secure version of form-mail. There may be some interruption of mailing list handling today while I get this sorted out. Apologies in advance for any inconvenience.

9:47 AM | 0 comments |

Note to readers of "On Her Majesty's Wizardly Service / To Visit The Queen": "Humphrey" moves on

The BBC has confirmed it, so it must be true: the Person known to the ehhif population of Downing Street has moved on to his next life. "Humphrey" (named rather appropriately after Sir Humphrey Appleby of "Yes, Minister / Yes, Prime Minister" fame) died quietly at his retirement home last week, apparently aged sixteen or so.

A sad loss for the feline bureaucratic establishment. But those civil service People who knew him suggest that, unless he's gone Tenth-lifing, it will probably not be possible to keep him out of politics for long. The Whitehall scene should be carefully watched for signs of his return, especially if Gordon Brown should suddenly find himself with a stray kitten on his hands at No. 11...

9:33 AM | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"The Big Meow" coffee mugs

Peter made me do it. They're here:


...including the first of the Chapter One mugs.

1:57 PM | 0 comments |

Friday, March 17, 2006

Trouble with the mailing list server again

(sigh) A lot of people who signed up between last night and this morning may not go into the general notifications list correctly because we had a loss of broadband this morning, and the mailing list server barfed. As a result, all those names are going to be re-input by hand.

Sorry for the inconvenience.
1:05 PM | 0 comments |

I couldn't help laughing

This came up this morning as part of a Technorati search: Some Google AdWords for Amazon --

"The Big Meow" at Amazon.com

Not just yet, guys. In time. But restrain your enthusiasm for the moment, or people are going to get the wrong idea.

Meanwhile, a strange idea came up at the pub the other night. TBM coffee mugs. "A series of ten," Peter said, "with a different line of dialogue on each one. Collect 'em all!"

My husband is so odd sometimes. Yet...still...hmm... And I wouldn't care one way or another if anyone collected 'em all. It'd still be fun to do...

...Think I know what the first line of dialogue would be. (Or within two guesses.) Either "Did I look good in that? I think I looked good in that." Or, "You have cable in your Dumpster?"

11:06 AM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

First feedback (heh heh)

"Chapter One has been devoured over lunch and deemed excellent, thank


(BTW, for those interested in having a place to discuss what's being posted -- I'm trying to decide whether to start a new separate message board, or just set aside a space at the YW discussion forums where people can ask questions or point out mistakes or unclarities or whatever.

...Probably the latter makes most sense. I'll think about it a bit and work out what to do this evening sometime.)

1:57 PM | 0 comments |

Passwords have gone out

Just so that everybody knows: access information for Chapter One has gone out to all subscribers.

The mailing list software is still acting up, so I've had to gang-email everyone by hand this morning. If you're a subscriber and you do not receive your access info today, please mail me and I'll see what's going on. (In particular, I've had to hand-compile the subscriber lists, so there's always the chance that an address might have gotten mangled or dropped out.)

Thanks again!

11:12 AM | 1 comments |

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chapter One is ready!

The first chapter's ready to post: I'm formatting it now. There will be two versions -- a .PDF version (fully printable) and an HTML (web-friendly) version.

As soon as the chapter's up, I'll be starting to send out passwords. Please bear with me, as the process may take some hours: the password generator is having teething pains.


10:19 PM | 0 comments |

Chapter One passwords go out later today

Just so that everyone knows: as usual, when you're away from home for a few days (as we just were) sometimes things pile up that have to be dealt with before you can get back to "business as usual". Today is going to be about that -- as we came home a little later than originally planned. But Chapter One will be going up this evening.

Passwords will be going out to the mailing list very shortly after that. We're going to be using a different password system for the next chapter, so expect to get a different password for Chapter Two when it's ready.


1:32 PM | 0 comments |

Friday, March 10, 2006


Three hours??

(boggle boggle boggle boggle)

Thank you, folks.

Meanwhile: I'm up in a sushi bar (with wireless!!) in Dublin, striving not to pour saké into the keyboard again: so (because I'm here for a convention appearance) you won't hear much more from me until Sunday evening. Subscribers: passwords to the "locked" file areas will start going out to you on Monday.

Thanks again.

7:08 PM | 0 comments |

Third challenge grant goes up

The third grant, from yet another anonymous donor, is for USD $500. The last grant was matched in only twelve hours. Can you folks break the record? We'll see...

Meanwhile, this is a good place to thank the excellent and generous Carl Rigney, who was responsible for the second $1000 grant. Thanks so much, Carl!

1:45 PM | 0 comments |

Mailing list responder shutting down until Sunday

For anyone who's likely to be registering with the mailing list today: the responder will only be working until 2 PM GMT or so, and then will be down until probably around 9 PM GMT on Sunday. We have a convention appearance this weekend, and I don't trust the mailer unsupervised at the moment: it's safer to shut it down rather than have it email the entire planet for some obscure reason.

Meanwhile, the last challenge grant (for the moment) will be going up today: and the buttons for "full subscription", "full subscription with donation", and "Chapter One only" will be going up on the website within a couple of hours. A broadcast message from the mailing list will be going out to everyone at that point.

Also, just in case anybody's getting concerned: Chapter One is nearly done...I just haven't updated the progress graphic on the web page. The thing is kind of complex to update, and I'm looking for a better way to do it.

More shortly.
10:25 AM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mailing list acting up again: my apologies

Folks, I tweaked some settings on the list-handler this morning, but not in any way that should (reasonably!) have caused the bloody thing to send out 44 messages to the last 44 registrees. I'm getting increasingly tempted to export the mailing list's database, then shut it down, erase it, and build a new one from scratch. In my copious spare time. (sound of writer tearing hair)

Meanwhile, if you've already been confirmed on the list before today, please ignore what it sent you. Sorry about that...we'll get the thing sorted out in the next few days, honest. If I have to sort it out with that sledgehammer I mentioned.

12:40 PM | 0 comments |

Monday, March 06, 2006

Twelve hours?!

Twelve hours, people? That's how long it took you to match a $1000 grant this time.

Sheesh. I think I'd better write faster. :)

We'll do another grant tomorrow. Meanwhile, those of you who want to do your whole-book subscriptions at the same time as a $10 donation to the general fund, feel free to keep doing that using the button in the sidebar. I'll put up a PayPal button for whole-book-only and chapter-only subscriptions tomorrow or the next day (I'm still ironing out software issues with e-Junkie).

Thanks, everybody!

10:06 PM | 2 comments |

Here comes the new challenge grant!

Another kindly donor has stepped up to put USD $1000 down as a contribution to the Big Meow project...if the rest of you meet it.

If you'd been planning to make a contribution to the project, this is a great way to make your money go twice as far. For one thing, if you donate more than $32.50 -- the present cost of a ten-chapter subscription (see the How publication will work page for details), plus a ten-dollar donation -- your own subscription, including a print copy of the book when we go to press, will be all handled.

With your donation, you'll also be helping drive down the cost of the project as a whole, and the cost of your fellow readers' subscriptions. Ted Ts'o's first grant, and the generous contributions of those who matched it, has already reduced the cost of subscriptions by 20%.

So watch the sidebar for progress. Within only six hours of the challenge opening up, we're already well on the way to matching our challenge donor's $1000. The last grant was matched within thirty-six hours. Help beat the record!

9:19 AM | 0 comments |

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mailing list madness: new challenge grant tomorrow

The mailing list software is still behaving a little peculiarly...our apologies while we beat it into submission (in the nicest kind of way). If you send a message confirming your opt-in and receive another message asking you to confirm again, please ignore it. Also, if you're submitting your address for the first time, please make sure you put the word SUBSCRIBE (in caps) in the subject.

Meanwhile, the new grant challenge will start tomorrow. We're also almost ready to start accepting subscriptions for either just Chapter One or the whole book. Please see the new subscriptions page at the main Big Meow website for more details.

The main website should be completely up and running tomorrow, at which point this weblog will revert to being a place to discuss the project itself and how it's going. (20% of the first chapter has now been written: check the progress indicator at the top of the website menu column for updates.)

10:28 PM | 0 comments |