erin's blog

Hatbox funds still needed


Piper has been working hard, no joke, on upgrading hardware and software and tracking down problems. We've also been paying ourselves half wages this month (except me, I got a rock) to save money for emergencies and bills that can't wait. The month is half gone and we are about half way to our goal.

If you can give a bit, it will be appreciated.

Sparky Is My Hero

Originally posted February 13, 2000 on Original BigCloset

Warm Snoopy Hugs
"Sparky Is My Hero"
by Joyce E. Melton
February 13, 2000

Hatbox funds needed


The results of our upgrade are good. Our analytics show that the site is faster (just a smidge) and that this is despite more people visiting and staying longer. We have a few rough spots to smooth out, I'm sure Piper will work out the minor problems now that we have the major ones solved.

We spent right up to the ragged edge of what we could afford on hardware in order to buy us another two or three years before we need another upgrade. This leaves us a bit tight for the month. We're not broke but it's close. :)

Short of $$ at Month's End - Hatbox Funds Needed

The month's end has caught us a little short again with some unexpected bills for software and a forgotten bill or two. I've again used credit cards to keep us current but it would be nice to have some cash in hand for the weekend. - Erin

Below are Piper's comments on the upgrade:

Gaming blog...

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The ship was lost on a subterranean ocean when out of the darkness came a ghastly sight, a phantom ship crewed by a LOT of unkillable, leaping, cuthroat vermin.

"Fireballs away," ordered the captain but the bugganeers managed a boarding party anyway.

After trading a few blows, one of the players called to pause the action. "Wait, wait, I need to ask something."

"Yes?" said the adventurist.

"We're fighting Undead Ninja Pirate Spiders?"

"Yes," agreed the adventurist.

Bian - Return to a World of Difference

I reposted the book page of Bian today with a new title Bian - Book 1 - The Bright Road. This is in advance of new chapters of Book 2 - Three Walls that will soon start posting. Current plan is one or two chapters a week.

While I haven't been writing just story chapters since book one finished posting, I have been working on world design and I now know more about such distant places as Yezbuul and Altarema, Preuz and Fars-Hind. And more about characters like Lilakatye, Ur-Alenna, Rotgar and Henrik Blodde.

Off to be a wizard...


Well, I'm off to be a wizard... or a cleric actually. :) My gaming group is meeting for the first time in two months and I need the break. I'll be gone six or eight hours but Piper and Cat will be looking in.

Y'all play nice and please, PLEASE, try to stop trolling each other about the current political situation. My unpub finger is getting tired.


Hatbox Story Contributions Needed


This is different. :)

We're getting ready to launch a new and somewhat improved Hatbox as a repository of premium stories donated to us. For that, we'd like to have some new stories. I'm working on a couple myself. If you're interested in contributing stories to be read first as Hatbox Premiums, you can contact me or Cat Lochley via PM. Stories made available to Hatbox subscribers can later be published to BigCloset (for free) or DopplerPress (to earn royalties).

Erin and Cat

Phishing Scams



I've been getting phony emails purporting to be from Docusign asking for my signature on a document. Problem immediately is we don't use Docusign; although we do send out documents for signing, we use a different service.

Also, Docusign's place on the web is These emails come from a website that is NOT Docusign.

Beware. At least one of the one's I received claimed to be an attempt at a money transfer which, if I had opened it, would probably have turned out to be an attempt at getting my bank info.


Free Kindle Reading Apps for your computer or laptop

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If you want to buy Kindle e-books at Amazon to read but don't have a Kindle device, you can read e-books with these handy applications for your computer, phone, tablet or laptop:

And here is a good page to start looking at: Transgender eBooks from DopplerPress


Hired Girl - Part 1?

That was a toughie. Sorry it took so long.

Writing this latest chapter in Harold's story was a big chore. I wanted it to feel like an important turning point but not the end of the story. The story kept wanting to make it an ending and yes, it is a good enough ending, but there are other parts of Harold's story I want to tell.

I hope I hit a nice compromise and in a week or so, I hope to be able to start posting Part 2. :)


New chapter of Bian posted

This is the end of the first "book" which I think I will call "Castle and Road". Next chapter will begin book 2 which will concern the city of Lundenna.

I've had some more fun with the language in this chapter though I left one word untranslated. People can probably guess what it is from the context.

Real life Bloddish?

Two things for those who have been following my story Bian in which I play with a language I madeup called Bloddish:

1. Yes, I am working on the next episode (along with work on the next episodes of Vector and Hired Girl and other outside work, besides the other stuff I do around here and on DopplerPress. :)



Because Sephrena is an important part of the community here, people should know that there is a situation involving her that may turn more serious or may be soon resolved. We're not comfortable sharing details at the moment but will try to keep everyone appropriately informed.

Hugs to all,
And especially Sephrena,
Erin and the crew

Sunday - Expect brief outages


Piper will be tuning the intranet and switches connecting our various servers; so expect brief outages, probably lasting no more than a few minutes as she disconnects and reconnects various cables and occasionally reboots machines to activate new configurations. Please be patient and forbearing. :)

Thanks and hugs,

We're Off!


While Piper, Cat and I will have our phones and laptops with us, none of us will be home for several hours. Piper and Cat will be at the server farm, installing equipment and getting things ready to move our servers into our new cabinet. I'll be goofing off at a friend's house playing boardgames and drinking coffee.

Zombie, Ninja, Pirate Spiders - Sept. Challenge - LAST DAYS

Some years ago I was running a tabletop RPG in which my players were exploring an underground ocean. They had their own ship and were attacked by another ship. The crew of the pirate ship seemed to be made up of human-sized spiders carrying cutlasses and firing muskets. Except some of them seemed to come out of nowhere and attack with nunchuks, sais and shurikens. And some of them seemed to be undead and unkillable.

During the course of the battle one of the players said, "Wait, wait! Stop! We're fighting Zombie, Ninja, Pirate Spiders?"

Spacing between paragraphs

Please put spaces between paragraphs and don't make paragraphs longer than 5 to 7 lines because reading on a screen is hard.

If you're using MS Word or other word processor, there are options that fake a space between paragraphs while viewing the file in the word precessor. Those are not visible when converted to HTML. You need actual blank lines.

Suicide Squad and the Critics


Went to see Suicide Squad Thursday night, it was very good. Good story, good atmosphere, good acting. Okay, the dialog is a bit weak but the actors nail the characterization and hold the script up.

The critics and a certain subset of comic book fans dislike it; that mystifies me. A movie is supposed to be entertaining and I found it very entertaining. So much so, that I'm going to go see it again while it is still on the big screen.

Simple Beans - A Recipe for a Lazy Day

Cut up one slice of bacon (streaky bacon for Brits) into small pieces. Fry in your favorite deep skillet till nearly crisp. Add 1/2 cup chopped brown onion and fry until onion is beginning to brown. Add two cans (three or four cups) of beans, pinto, black, kidney or white. Add two tablespoons molasses, brown sugar or honey. Stir. Turn heat down to medium low and cook uncovered until well-thickened. Cover and turn heat to low and keep cooking until beans are quite tender.


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