Friday, November 14, 2008

Blazing fast synopsis search

How many e-mails have I received over the years with errors when you try to do a complicated synopsis search? Too many to count, let me tell you you. Well those days are over. Yesterday we installed some new software and now synopsis searches are blazing fast! Well, maybe not blazing, but way better than before. We do have more than 70,000 synopses to go through. Before today, a complicated search could take up to a minute to give you results. Today, results are coming back within 5 seconds. How cool is that?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A walk down memory lane

In honor of the 30th anniversary of reading my first romance novel, I thought I'd take a walk down memory lane, revisiting the good, the bad, and the unread.

I was allowed to read my first romance novel when I turned 13. I had always loved the romantic elements in Nancy Drew, the Janet Lambert books and others I was allowed to read, but a REAL romance novel was my Holy Grail. On my 13th birthday, I picked out my first romance novel from the Spokane Public Library. It's funny how vivid that moment remains in my mind to this day. I remember the wire rack with all the covers facing me, begging me to pick one. I must have stood there for 10 minutes before making a decision. I chose A Very Naughty Angel by Cartland, Barbara. It was everything a first romance novel should be: a virginal heroine looking for a taste of adventure before she is married against her will, a handsome rogue who is really the prince in disguise, a night of steamy passion (Okay this is a Barbara Cartland after all, so steamy was just a few kisses, but come on, I was 13! This was passion!)

I then discovered Harlequin Romances. Good Housekeeping used to reprint condensed Harlequins in their magazines. I read To Catch a Butterfly by Marjorie Lewty and was hooked. I must have read several hundred that first year. Who could forget Adair of Starlight Peaks by Essie Summers or my favorite, Desert Barbarian by Charlotte Lamb? I moved on to Harlequin Presents and those domineering Greek men -- Violet Winspear, Anne Mather, Anne Hampson. And then along came an American writer, Janet Dailey. I used to hang out in the book department at Sears (yes, they used to have books) every month waiting for the next state to be published. To this day Fiesta San Antonio is one of my favorite books of all time. I was happily reading the kisses only Dailey books, but then came Touch the Wind. Some may point to other groundbreaking romance novels, but for me, this was the big one. This book had S-E-X. I remember passing it around at school and all my friends reading the "good" parts.

I get my love of reading from my paternal grandmother, another voracious reader. Until the day she died, we swapped books back and forth. I remember turning 16, the age that she thought appropriate to read The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes. Luckily, my birthday is in the summertime because I read one of those books every day for 8 days and didn't get dressed at all. I think my parents thought there was something wrong with me, but I guess by then they were used to used to my obsession with books.

The next several years are a blur for me. School and boys got in the way of reading. I know I read Linda Howard, Stephanie James, Jayne Ann Krentz and even a few by Diana Palmer. I got into historicals with A Pirate's Love by Johanna Lindsey, The Windflower by Laura London and Sweet Surrender by Catherine Coulter. I also read a lot of completely forgettable Western-set romances in the Zebra Heartfire line. To this day, I refuse to read Western-set romances -- I think those books actually did me harm.

I found my first used book store when I was in high school. I had always gotten my books from the library, never owning any of my own. The store was really an old house, but since it was on a major thoroughfare, it had been leased as retail space. Each little room had its own genre -- series romance in one, mysteries in another. I would spend hours sitting and going through books. How would I spend what little money I had? I would go to garage sales or mooch books off my parents' friends. Anything to get cheap books to trade back in to the store and get what I wanted to read. Even after graduating from college and finally earning real money, that behavior never changed.

You always have that one friend who is never ready when they say they are going to be ready. My sophomore year in college, I discovered Lavyrle Spencer this way. My friend had left a copy of Separate Beds in her dorm room and while I waited, I read. I would much rather have finished that book than gone out to a party, but I wasn't so lucky.

When I graduated from college and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I had a lot more time to read. I discovered the Loveswept line and Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen and Sandra Brown, authors I still enjoy today. Those were the days of Karen Robards, Amanda Quick, and Katherine Stone. I also discovered Nora Roberts about this time. I hadn't read her series books, but I did read Hot Ice and loved it. There were lots of used book stores in those days and I would drive around all day looking for treasures. I even worked part-time in one for awhile. That's how I found Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught. There is nothing like working in a book store for getting great author recommendations. Customers would tell me about the great books they were reading and I would just have to have all those books. This is when my book collecting began. Before working in the store, I only owned books that I would be reading shortly. I never had more than 15-20. Well, with all the recommendations, my TBR grew to several hundred in a hurry. Today it's at 2500, so I guess I can blame all this on that little store.

I moved to Los Angeles for business school, another great area for used book stores. Somehow I always end up living in places with great access to used books. Well, except for the summer I spent doing an internship in New York City. I could never live there! There is not a single used book store in the city that stocks romance novels. Luckily I had that huge TBR stack to get me through the summer. And I did start reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips that summer. I also got around to Kathleen Gilles Seidel and Judith Duncan, not as well known but great reads nonetheless.

I moved to Dallas after graduation to work for an airline. There is probably no better place to live if you love romance novels. The rents were so low that stores could stock all the old romances, not just the new ones. I was in heaven and I spent so much time flying that I had plenty of time to read. I started reading Regencies pretty heavily at this time. I had always enjoyed the period, but had not yet discovered the traditional Regency. After reading Loretta Chase, Jo Beverley, Carla Kelly and Mary Balogh, I became a lifelong fan. I am so disappointed that the traditional Regency is gone. I do, however, have several hundred of them in my TBR stack, so I'm set for a few years yet.

When I got married and moved to Chicago, I started reading a lot more Regency historicals too. I've mentioned that I rarely buy new books, but one night I was waiting for a prescription to be filled and picked up All Things Beautiful by Cathy Maxwell. After reading the first few chapters, there was no way I was leaving the store without that book. I also started reading Julia Quinn, Danelle Harmon, Jo Goodman and Mary Jo Putney. A local UBS owner demanded that I read Georgette Heyer and I am so glad I allowed myself to be persuaded.

When I moved back to Los Angeles ten years ago, I began to read a lot more romantic comedy, I glommed Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson, and Janet Evanovich. I have to admit I tried quite a few others with mixed results. I would bet that comedy is the most difficult to write. I found most of these comedies just stupid, slapstick humor. I have since given up on Evanovich for just that reason.

I also tried a bunch of the paranormals when they became so popular a few years back -- Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Karen Marie Moning. I decided that they just weren't for me. I prefer less world building and more relationship building in my romances. But for general fiction or fantasy, it's fine. I love Charlaine Harris, after all.

Today, I still read most of the authors I've talked about here. I do find new authors every now and then, but the bulk of the books in my TBR pile have publication dates more than 5 years old. I don't like the trend toward more graphic sex. No one believes me when I say I don't read romance novels for the sex, but it's true. Sexual tension is so much more exciting than jumping straight to the physical act. Many of the older romances got this right, the newer ones don't. I know I'm not alone here. Several members of my book club read more old romances than new. Everything is cyclical and the kind of books I like will come around again. But until then I have 2500 books to read!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

FictionDB in the news

Today there's an article in my local paper, the Daily Breeze, on FictionDB. It's a quick little story on me and the site and you might find it entertaining. It's always interesting what a reporter picks out of an hour and a half interview to put in the article. This article is on the front page of the business section, but reads more like a human-interest story.

I was in my local used book store today discussing the article and a woman walked up and said, "I saw that article. Wasn't it about a man and a cat?" Obviously, I need to start wearing more pink :) I just got a pink dog collar for my dog since everyone thinks she's a boy. She's half French Bulldog and half Boston Terrier so she does look pretty tough, but I don't think she looks like a cat. Anyway, let me know what you think of the article.

FictionDB Article in the Daily Breeze

And, no, I don't really work on a couch in my bedroom, but I wish I did.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mills & Boon Series Lists on FictionDB

We have just finished putting together the Mills & Boon series lists. This was a huge effort and I can't thank members Ursula and Heather enough for their help. I certainly couldn't have done it without them. There are still a few gaps here and there, so let us know if you have some of the missing titles and numbers. Quite a few books were also republished with different titles so if you see any of these, please let us know so we can get them combined.

The By Request and Spotlight reissue anthologies have also been added to our anthology section. Subscribers can search for these on the advanced search page using the anthology title search.

Many of our visitors are from outside the U.S. and we hope this helps our Mills & Boon readers keep better track of their books. If you live in Australia and have been keeping lists of the series there, we'd love to include those in the site as well.

Mills & Boon Blaze
Mills & Boon Blaze 2-in-1

Mills & Boon Desire
Mills & Boon Desire 2-in-1
Mills & Boon Enchanted
Mills & Boon Historical
Mills & Boon Intrigue
Mills & Boon Medical
Mills & Boon Modern Romance
Mills & Boon Modern Romance Extra
Mills & Boon Modern Romance Heat
Mills & Boon New Romance
Mills & Boon Presents
Mills & Boon Romance
Mills & Boon Sensual Romance
Mills & Boon Special Edition
Mills & Boon Super Romance
Mills & Boon Temptation
Mills & Boon Tender Romance

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Cover variations are FINALLY here!

One of the most requested features over the years has been for cover art variations. You see a "new" book by an author you love at the book store. You know you've never seen the cover before, but have you read it?

On the book detail page, you will now see multiple covers for each book right before Recent Publishing History. We added around 40,000 additional covers, so obviously we're just getting started. Right now, what you'll see are covers with different ISBN's. The pesky problem of multiple covers for the same ISBN will be addressed with this month's update. We are also not currently including covers for audio since they usually have the same cover as the printed books.

There is a catch, though. You need to be logged in to your account (free or paid) to see the covers.

Here's an example from the Jude Deveraux booklist -- Wild Orchids. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Books That Change Our Lives

When my dad was a child in the 1940's he read a book called Mickey Sees the USA -- Mickey Mouse touring the country in a car pulling a trailer. This book changed my father's life forever. He, too, wanted to see the USA by car. I grew up spending two weeks every summer in a car pulling a trailer, seeing the country. My parents now have a bus-like motor home and they go around the country every fall on their way to their RV home in Happy Trails, Arizona. To this day, that faded old book rides around the country in that motor home.

The book that has had the most impact on my life is Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn M. Bates. When I was in my early twenties, right out of college, I played trivia every Tuesday night at a local bar with a group of friends from work. The average age of this group was around 50, so these people were much more experienced in life than I was. While all the people my own age quickly became bored with the Tuesday night group, I loved it. For the first time in my life, I was socializing with what I would call "intellectuals". Why did I prefer this group over the party-loving people that made up most of the other groups I knew? One night at trivia, one of the men told me I must be an NT to love going to trivia every week. NT? What the heck was an NT? They gave me this book to read and I was hooked. It explained so much about me and why I always felt different from everyone else. It's based on the Meyers-Briggs assessment which I'm sure anyone who's ever worked in a large corporation has taken at one point or another. If you've never taken the test, you can do so here. I am an ENTJ (there are 16 types) -- women of this type account for less than 1% of the general population. The book jokingly refers to this type as Stranger in a Strange Land. There are many more books and tests based on this research and I have read most of them. They provide a great framework for anyone trying to understand the people around them -- particularly if you're like me and no one around you is like you :) When I was working as a manager, I tried to get my people to take the test so we could all communicate better. No luck. Most people are intimidated by this sort of thing, so I then found the book The Art of Speedreading People by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger. It shows you how to recognize a person's communication style without having to administer a test. How perfect is that?

Okay, you're thinking, that's a weird look at Kelly's quirkiness, but what does any of this have to do with FictionDB? Well, a lot, actually. I've been spending a lot of time lately visiting all the other book information sites on the web and trying to figure out what kinds of people they appeal to. Someone like me goes to a book social networking site and freaks out and runs away. "Where's the order? The consistency? It's not organized. Where's the organization?" Now, someone else goes to that same site and thinks "Cool, I can see all these people and what they're reading. I don't care about organization, I just want to meet people." So chances are, if you're a frequent FictionDB visitor, you probably have a J at the end of your Meyers-Briggs type. J's account for 50% of the population and are characterized by orderliness.

Given that I only read 1 or 2 non-fiction books a year, it's pretty funny that the book that changed my life is non-fiction.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Catalog your books at FictionDB!

It seems that every book site out there lets you catalog your books for free and so now FictionDB will, too. Sign-up and start adding books to your shelves right away. Don’t forget you can do bulk uploads, too.

If you have had a FictionDB account in the past (even a trial subscription), you can now login for free to that same account. At login you will be directed to a payment page. You can choose to continue with payment or choose the free membership. Just click on Continue With Free Membership at the upper right-hand side of the payment screen.

Along with this new change, we have reduced the price of an annual membership to $20. To see what each of the feature sets includes, take a look at our comparison chart. We have also discontinued the free trial and the free book with membership promotion.

So, why are we making all these changes? Well, it’s all about growth. FictionDB needs to grow and find new people who value what we have to offer. There are quite a few tools out there (mostly inaccurate) that measure traffic to the different sites and we have taken a good, hard look at our competition. Every business needs to assess its position in the marketplace now and then and determine what changes, if any, need to be made. The changes we are making reflect that analysis.

But what about revenue, you might ask? Aren’t we just throwing away money by reducing the membership price? Yes and no. We all remember Economics 101 – supply and demand. Same thing here, short term revenue loss for long term viability. So, if you decide not to renew your membership and just use the free features, please support our advertisers and our affiliate programs with Amazon – particularly when you decide to buy that big-screen TV :)

So, if a lot of the site is free, why should you subscribe? For less than $2 a month, you can support the effort in maintaing the site. Isn't that reason enough? No? Well, there are a few key features not included for free. The biggest is the Advanced Search. No other site lets you search through synopses, time periods, sub-genres, you name it. The Google search for FictionDB is good, but it will never search the actual database for exact criteria. Another key feature in the premium site is the lack of ads. Without ads on each page, the information can be arranged in a more user-friendly fashion. Many of us are also getting internet-ready cell phones and want the ability to keep track of our reading on-the-go. The FictionDB mobile site is part of the upgraded version.

We hope you like the new changes and find FictionDB to still be the best source of fiction information on the internet. If not, let us know about it!

*** A note to current subscribers: If you subscribed within the last three months at $29.99, three additional months have been added to the length of your subscription. If you are having trouble logging in or receiving errors, see this blog article.

Trouble Logging In?

For subscribers: if you're having trouble logging in or are receiving error messages, do the following:

Click on Login at the top of the page
Click on Clear Cookies
Login again and save your login details

I will have a full blog later today on the changes to the site.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fun With Book Covers

I've been meaning to do something better with book covers on FictionDB and I finally got around to it. The old author cover gallery pages were boring and not very user-friendly, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

The new cover galleries are much more visual with the covers 5 to a row (subscribers) and 4 to a row (non-subscribers). I've been having a great time today just browsing all the authors. Check out the Cassie Edwards cover gallery or the Debbie Macomber cover gallery. You get the idea that there really aren't that many cover variations out there.

I'll be working on the other cover galleries too (series, search results, etc.), but I thought you'd enjoy this first view.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

FictionDB Welcomes LibraryThing Recommendations and Tag Clouds

We are happy to announce the inclusion of LibraryThing recommendations and tag clouds on the FictionDB book detail pages. LibraryThing is the leader among the book social networking sites and can provide us with a wealth of information from their dedicated members.

I have blogged before about the differences between FictionDB and the social tagging sites and I believe this is a perfect example of how the two systems together can provide great information for readers. Take for example Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. FictionDB provides the synopsis, series information, genres, time period, cover, awards, reviews and publishing history. LibraryThing gives further insight into the themes in the book through the tag cloud. If you’re interested in a particular theme, just click on the tag and you can search the rest of FictionDB for similarly themed books. LibraryThing also gives recommendations for other books that you might like if you liked Blood Brothers. We’re all looking for that next great read and here’s the perfect way to find it.

I’m on LibraryThing now, so come find me: Kelly's LibraryThing Profile. If you’d like to export your bookshelf from FictionDB to LibraryThing, just click on My Account and Export Books. Copy the link for the page into LibraryThing and they’ll upload your books for you.

We're very excited to provide our visitors with even more great book data, so check out the new features and let us know what you think.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Official -- I'm Not Interesting

I'm always on the lookout for interesting book sites and I found one the other day. is an innovative way to find new authors. You type in an author and it will show you a map with other authors that score similarly in their algorithm.

I'm thinking this looks fun, so I did some exploring. I was thinking about linking to their site, but I always ask permission before I do any deep linking. The site is part of a larger network of sites run by requires a login to dig deeper, so I filled out the obligatory form and waited for my login to be activated. This is what I received:

Sorry, but you have not been accepted into the Flork Community. To keep flork an exciting place, only people with interesting profiles are accepted.

Gee, I didn't know it was an audition. I guess FictionDB won't be linking to literature-map after all.

And I AM an interesting person. I am! I am! Sniff...sniff.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Minor changes around the site

As we enter the dog days of summer, all I want to do is go hang out by the pool and read a book. Well, okay, I did that for a whole week at the beginning of July, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to do it again. Instead, we've been making huge changes behind the scenes (you don't care about these) and some minor ones you will care about.

Since we opened up the site to everyone, our traffic has more than tripled. Along with all the new traffic has come a lot of suggestions. For those of us who've lived with FictionDB for a long time, we forget what it's like to see the site for the first time. We know how to navigate through all the data and don't think twice about it, but our newbie friends aren't as savvy.

What's good for our new friends is also great for the rest of us. We've added a lot of links that tie the pages more closely together. Many of these changes can be found on the author pages, the heart of FictionDB. Here are a few of the changes:
-- From an author's main page, you can now see the multi-author series lists.
-- Hover your mouse over the series and anthology numbers and you will see the series name or the anthology name.
-- Hover your mouse over a book title and you will see if the book is part of a series.
-- Subscribers can now jump directly to the author's books on their bookshelves - previously you could only jump to an individual book.
-- We've also combined the book detail page and the buy the book page. You'll now find information on buying books at the bottom of the book detail page.

We've added a Google site search on the Advanced Search page. While non-subscribers don't have access to our premium search, they can now use the Google site search. Google has only indexed about 40% of our site since we opened it up, so the results aren't great yet, but things should improve over time. The Google search will never be as accurate as the premium search since it relies on Google's cached image of the site rather than going directly to the database itself.

If you have suggestions for the site, please don't hesitate to e-mail us. We're always happy to hear from our visitors. We add all of our updates to the What's New page, so check there every once in a while.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Back from BEA

Well, we're back from a great but exhausting weekend at Book Expo America, the site has been updated, and the free books for subscribers have been listed. We love attending BEA, meeting all the authors and mingling with other book lovers. We're willing to overlook the lack of sleep (we usually get to the convention center before 6:00 in the morning) and the sore muscles (no wheels allowed on the show floor) just to get a chance to meet the biggies. We met James Patterson, Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman, Robert Crais, James Rollins, Neil Gaiman, Philippa Gregory, Kim Harrison, Iris Johansen and Julia Quinn. I also have to admit my own fangirl moments with Lisa Gardner and Katherine Neville. Both were very gracious with my gushing :) Lucky for her, Meg Cabot wasn't there this year, because she could certainly have accused me of stalking her around the convention the last time I saw her. However, most authors are really generous with their fans. Some of the lines were really long, but many authors pulled their lines over to side tables and signed until they ran out of books. Authors are just class acts!

Take a look at the books available for subscribers. I think you'll find something for everyone. There is certainly no shortage of books available. I've also noticed that many of you have also been haunting the list and have grabbed a few of the choice ones already. Good for you -- perserverence pays off!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

FictionDB Is Now For Everyone!

We’ve got great news!

FictionDB is now for everyone -- the occasional reader who just pops in for a little information every once in a while and the hard-core reader who needs full access to the best fiction database on the web. Which category do you fall in? If you’re like me, that would be the second one.

If you’re just an occasional visitor, you now have access to a lot more information than you did before. So what does this mean? Well, you will definitely see advertising – there’s always a price to be paid, isn’t there? But along with the advertising, you’ll also be able to see the complete author book lists, the books in a series, and the title detail page.

Subscribers will see the same site as they did before, but with a few upgrades. You definitely won’t see a lick of advertising, but if you really want to see the advertising…just kidding. And, since you’re not seeing ads, the site will be much faster. You’ll also have access to more data on each page of the site. Most authors’ data is now all on one page – no more clicking through pages looking for that one book. We’ve also modified many of the pages to speed up the database processing.

For a detailed list of the features, click here.

We’re really excited about sharing FictionDB with a lot more people, so help us spread the word. Many of you belong to other online groups and if it seems appropriate, tell them about the changes to the site. The more the merrier!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Interim Site Update

We just completed an interim site update and you'll probably see more of these in the future. You've been doing such a great job in adding data through our new features that we thought you should see your changes a little quicker.

We'll also be attending BookExpoAmerica here in Los Angeles at the end of this month, so our normal update schedule will be thrown off by up to a week. If you're attending BEA, let us know. We'd love to meet up with you. Our entire staff is attending this year since the event is here in our home town. We'll be bringing back lots of brand new books, so if you're resubscribing soon, you might want to wait until after BEA to pick your free book.

You might also have noticed lots of little changes around the site. We've added a Tour for our new visitors, lots of fun new graphics, a new series classification: Reissues, a column on the author page for multiauthor series and a bunch of other stuff.

We're also planning some more changes based on your survey results, so if you haven't done it yet -- Take the survey!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Edit the FictionDB Database Yourself!

We've been going through the responses to our survey and are happy to report that 87% of you think our data is Very Good or Excellent. So in looking at the 13% who thought the data was just Good we found one common theme. More data! Yeah, um, we knew that. People want information for absolutely every book on the site. Well, so do we, but we don't HAVE all the books in the database. We enter data as the books come through.

However, YOU have books that are missing information in the database. So now we're going to put you to work. You'll notice a new link on the Book Detail page right above the tags -- Add missing details to this book. You can now add or change just about everything to do with a book. Add a subgenre, change the time period, add a synopsis.

The only downside is that your changes won't be seen on the site until the first of the month. In order to provide live updates, we'd have to completely redesign the database and we're not quite ready to do that yet.

So the next time you see we're missing information on a book, enter the information for the next person who comes along. They may have already entered some information for you :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The FictionDB Book Club

Three or four years ago (I can't remember now) we got rid of the discussion forums in our site redesign. There are just so many places to talk about books on the internet that we weren't sure there was a need for another one. While I still pretty much agree with that, there has been some interest from our survey responses for a place for FictionDB subscribers to congregate.

Last year, I looked into a site called ning that hosts social networks (what they seem to be calling forums these days). It's a free site so I set up a FictionDB page. I set it up with a Book Club theme since I'm much more interested in finding a great book to read than I am in reading the latest snarky comments on some of the other book blogs.

You can visit the new area at We haven't completely customized everything yet, but let us know if you like the area or not. And yes, you do have to sign up with them if you want to post :(

Friday, March 21, 2008

Export Your Bookshelf

We are in the process of designing a nifty new interface for printing and exporting your books -- uniquely created by each person.

In the meantime, I've thrown up an export page with your basic information on it. You can find the link on your My Account page.

You can copy and paste this page into Excel or just save the page itself to your computer. Either way, you will now have a copy of your bookshelf to use as you like.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

FictionDB is Up! Woohoo!!!!!!

My nightmare is finally over!!

FictionDB is again available for subscriber login. When the login worked this morning, I really couldn't beleive my eyes. After the last week of one failure after another, I really didn't dare hope that things were finally resolved.

Okay, so what do you need to know?

1) Subscriber data on the site is from February 6. The site didn't actually go down until the 12th and I know many of you may have made changes when the site was going up and down. However, we found instances of questionable data with backups after February 6. We made the decision to go with the backup from the day before the server was damaged in the data center move. We need to ensure that the data on FictionDB going forward is stable. We apologize to anyone who is greatly impacted by this, but I hope you see our point of view.

2) Anyone who made a payment after February 6 has already had their account updated with their new expiration date. However, you will need to pick your free book again. We will also send out e-mail reminders to those impacted.

3) If you registered for a free trial after February 6, your login information is no longer in the system. Please go ahead and try another 3-day trial. We're really not as bad as you've been led to believe over the last week :)

4) Obviously we were in a great hurry to get the site back up and running, so we haven't tested everything as thoroughly as we would like. If you notice any errors or inconsistencies with the data, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I swear I must be jinxed!

I've always thought of myself as being a lucky person. Everything tends to go my way most of the time. Well, I can now tell you I am paying for all those other times.

So where are we? The login procedure isn't working. Nothing has been changed from the old server, it just doesn't work. ??? So, I'm having the developer who created the software look into it. I don't have an uptime yet. Sorry!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Temporary E-mail Address

I have set up a temporary e-mail for communication -- -- during the site move. We will probably lose regular fictiondb e-mail for 6-12 hours. If you need to contact us, please use the temporary address.

On the topic of e-mail, many of you have e-mailed us asking about the site. We appreciate your support and concern. If you haven't received a reply from us, it's not becuase we didn't send one. Many of you have your e-mail security settings set very high and you bounce our e-mail right back to us. Each mail program is different, but if you are one of these people, try making a trusted site.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

If I Wasn't Laughing, I'd Be Crying...

Yep, you guessed it. Do I even have to say it?

When my database administrator called to tell me that my new server had crashed, I started laughing. I mean, really! What more could possibly go wrong?

After a week of really terrible customer support, I threw in the towel and am leaving my current hosting company. I've ordered a server with a new company with glowing customer service reviews and the people I've spoken to this morning have been great.

Ah, yes. We've been here before, haven't we? Me telling you that the site will be up very soon. I have done my best, but fate has conspired against me.

So, what is the estimated uptime now? Well, my new host says the server will be ready sometime tomorrow. Assuming no roadblocks, the site could be up tomorrow night. But you know what? I'm not even going to think that. It will be up when it's up -- can you tell I haven't slept in a week?

The only positive about this week is that I have lost a lot of weight from the stress. I knew there had to be a silver lining here somewhere...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

FictionDB Status

Everything is almost ready. Everything except the data -- what you really want, of course. The database piece is not quite finished.

I'm hopeful that the site will be fully operational soon -- We've hired an expert database administrator to speed things up. He's working on it now. Unfortunately he's running into problems as well.

I'll post here again when the site is fully operational.

I cannot begin to tell you how hard this has been on us knowing that our customers are being so thoroughly disappointed. When the site does come back up, all of our subscribers will be given an extra month's subscription. I know this can't possibly begin to make up for the outage, but we would at least like to try to make amends.

As for this happening in the future -- we will do our best to prevent it. It was unforeseeable that our server would be damaged in routine data center maintenance, but that's no excuse. Our new server is state-of-the-art and comes with a backup server, so that in the case of one of the hard drives going down, the other will still be available.

Hopefully we've had enough bad luck with this to last a lifetime. We appreciate your patience.

Friday, February 15, 2008

FictionDB Still Down -- Status

The last 48 hours have been incredibly frustrating. The tech people are still trying to figure out what is wrong with the server. We call them 4 or 5 times a day and constantly hear -- "It's almost done." Well, we're not going to wait anymore.

As of this morning we have ordered a new server. Best case scenario, the old server comes up soon and access is restored. Worst case scenario, we get the new server up and running in a couple of days.

While we are incredibly disappointed with the situation, we feel like we are controlling the outcome now.

Rest assured that we are doing all we can to minimize the downtime.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Site is down again

Unfortunately, the site is down again.

Since the server move that happened on February 7, the server has been unstable. We are working with the data center personnel to get a resolution, but don't have one yet.

What this means is that you may experience infrequent outages until we can resolve the issue.

We apologize for the inconvenience and want you to know that we are doing everything possible to get this fixed.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Site Outage -- Scheduled Maintenance

FictionDB will be down on February 7th from 12:00 a.m. to 7:00 EST. Our host is performing some routine maintenance.

Sorry for the inconvenience!