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!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The-Big-Meow.com is up and running again

The transfer to The Big Meow's new hosting provider at Lunarpages has gone smoothly, and the new installation of Drupal 5.0 is now up and running. Everything seems to be working OK, but if those of you who read this and venture over there should find anything strange going on, please register so that you can comment at this blog entry and tell us what's happening.  ...Otherwise, there's still a little grooming-out and adjusting to do -- rewriting of old legacy links to the old PHP-based site, fixing-up of graphics and tweaking of CSS, etc -- but that's a matter of a few days' work on and off.

Over the next few days I'm going to start making my (online) research materials for the book available via RSS feed through the website, so those of you who're interested in any of the base subjects of the book -- the LA of the 1940's, etc etc -- might want to run through some of the material. (And some of you will naturally start to indulge in the inevitable guessing games about where I'm going with some of the stuff you're going to find. Have yourselves a party: you can all get together and swap conspiracy theories over at the new TBM discussion forums.)

The only hitch in the transfer process, BTW, has been that I was not able to directly transfer the old Drupal database into the new installation (not Drupal's fault: something went wrong with the MySQL database export from the old server. Those of you who were registered at the old site, would you please just register again?


(BTW -- for those of you who may be seeking a new hosting provider -- let me just plug Lunarpages here. I'm already very impressed with their support, and the one-click website / database backup via cPanel X is just delightful.)


11:40 AM | 0 comments |

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The-Big-Meow.com is moving...!

...to its new hosting servers at Lunarpages, starting today.

This means that the site will disappear for a while as the domain registrar passes the domain's internal change-of-address information (DNS) into the Net.

The site may take as long as seventy-two hours to reappear, so please don't panic if the absence seems to be getting prolonged.

The content of this weblog won't be affected. However, links to the main website in the left-hand column will not work until the domain change is complete.

Also, if you want to subscribe to the book, that function won't be affected by the website move, as the "subscribe" buttons speak directly to e-Junkie and PayPal.

Thanks for your patience!

2:40 PM | 0 comments |

Monday, January 22, 2007

Re "The Big Meow" domain host move: thanks to all who contributed!

Thanks to everybody who hit the little ChipIn button to help change hosting for The-Big-Meow.com. The necessary funds were raised pronto: we're now sorting things out with the new hosting provider.

The move should happen later in the week. In the meantime, my apologies for the site still looking messed up.  Something I did broke the CSS (site formatting language, for you non-techies) in a way I've had no luck fixing, and at this point it seems to make more sense just to wait until the domain's moved to its new home and then do a clean install of Drupal 5.0, pulling the necessary files and settings in one at a time to make sure the CSS behaves itself this time. (sigh)

Meanwhile, chapter 7 of The Big Meow is in process, and should be posted around the end of the week. Chapter 6 will go public at the same time (the database will be sending out a notification to the "general information" list when it does).

Thanks again, all!

11:38 AM | 1 comments |

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The (technical) weirdness, it burns

Those of you who may have been watching the progressive site revamp at The-Big-Meow.com should be warned that, while I was attempting to add some features this morning, some stuff got screwed up. It's not serious, but it affects the look-and-feel of the site, and may take a while to fix, as I'm still not entirely sure what caused the problem.

I was attempting to do two things, one fairly dull and one kind of neat. (a) was the addition of a custom "favicon" that would show up in people's browser tabs when the pages loaded. (b) was access, via a separate internal blog, to the research materials I've been using while writing the book. (I keep these materials under control using Onfolio -- once a stand-alone resource, now part of Internet Explorer since Onfolio was bought by Microsoft. Onfolio enables you to save entire web pages, even web sites, for offline viewing, and to publish the pages either as printed reports or as part of a weblog for personal use.) It occurred to me that it might be fun for interested people to see the "raw material" that I'm using.

Since I was working on both of these additions to the TBM site at once, one or another of them has caused the site's formatting to be screwed up for logged-in site members -- sidebar images aren't displaying, and text formatting has gone erratic: some is centered when it shouldn't be; some that shouldn't be centered, is. I've removed all the new material and done everything I can think of to return the site to the way it was earlier, but the problem persists, and I don't have any more time to spend on it today, as I'm supposed to be doing, you know, work.

Registered users, please excuse the problem for the time being. I am reluctant to do too much more about it for two reasons: (a) we're about to change hosting providers (see the message here) and (b) when we do, I'm going to upgrade the Drupal installation to the newly released version 5, which is much slicker and smarter than the v.4.7.4 we're using now. One or the other of these solutions will most likely fix the problem. (Which I privately suspect has something to do with the fact that our present hosting provider, GoDaddy, won't let Drupal have the database access it needs to perform correctly. This is why the site's search function is presently turned off.) Once the move to the new provider takes place, we'll be able to implement the discussion forums and personal blogs and so on (Drupal truly is a rich and wonderfully equipped website-building tool, with more bells and whistles than any sane person could reasonably desire).

(sigh) Sorry about this. (For those who were looking for the widget to contribute to the changing-hosting fund, here's a widget to replace the malfunctioning one over at the TBM page.)


2:08 PM | 0 comments |

Friday, January 12, 2007

Service disruption over at The-Big-Meow.com today

Just so that everybody'll know: I've been moving all the content at the old TBM website into a new installation of the Drupal content-management system, which will make everything a lot tidier and cause things to run more smoothly (take a look at EuropeanCuisines.com to see how one of our other implementations of this system can work). Later in the day, when I actually start moving directories around, things are likely to get peculiar, so please don't be surprised at 404's and other strange manifestations.

If you're a subscriber to The Big Meow, please don't be concerned -- this isn't going to affect the chapter that's just been posted (see the blog previous posting to this one). The subscriber-only versions of the chapter are hosted elsewhere. (You should be getting a notification email around now as to the location, reminding you of usernames and passwords: if you don't get one, email me with the word PICARESQUE in the subject line and I'll send you what yoy need.)



2:36 PM | 0 comments |

Chapter Six of "The Big Meow" is up for subscribers

Folks, I'm wrecked, so more about this tomorrow: but the new chapter's up for the book's subscribers. (It's a  fairly plump one, at 18,000 words.)

It's in the same directory that Four, Five and Six were in for subscribers, and can be got at using the same username / password pair. The "mailing list" mails about this will be going out tomorrow morning. New subscribers will be going into the database at the same time (thanks to those of you who've been subscribing over the past month!).

More shortly...

1:01 AM | 0 comments |