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At The Bright Empire....

06 Jan 2016 22:03 #45952 by fats
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if you need help with Google Analytics let me know.

fats

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07 Jan 2016 00:45 #45957 by shadar
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brantley wrote: So if nobody's actually reading the stories getting hit by the robots, why do the people who own 188,143 keep sending robots after them?

--Brantley


I don' t think anyone "sends" the robots in the sense of a human deciding. They code up algorithms and parameters to search for and perhaps gather up. But the algorithm's can be anything.

The key is that the Web consists of just a bit less than a million distinct websites. You can get a live count here:

www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/

So no human can keep track of all that, given that many sites are changing frequently. Enter search engines (or more generally robots), of which there are perhaps thousands, which roam around and look at things to phone home about or like a prospector, to pick up pieces of stuff to analyze. They range from the aforementioned search engines to spy bots working for whomever to bots who want to steal and redistribute material or impersonate, etc. Pretty much anything you can imagine.

It is estimated that between 63% and 80% of all traffic on a website is due to bots (with the small, less than a 1000 visitors a day, sites being at the 80% level). Most of these bots are considered "bad bots". Basically, the lower the human visit rate, the higher percentage the bots consume.

Here's a link to an interesting page that talks about this:

www.incapsula.com/blog/bot-traffic-report-2014.html

I assume sophisticated packages like Google Analytics can figure out a lot of it.

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07 Jan 2016 14:43 #45966 by brantley
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Adding to the mystery. Traffic yesterday was almost the same as Tuesdays, but the number of hits coming from that Russian outfit fell below that of two U.S. companies:

1. serverloft.com 200 13.21%
2. optonline.net 126 10.94%
3. 188.143 112 12.62%

--Brantley

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10 Jan 2016 14:28 #45991 by brantley
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And now I'm getting requests from Digital Ocean and wedmeup.com. Just removed the blog links that are attracting these robots.

--Brantley

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12 Jan 2016 20:48 #46032 by brantley
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Working on a revised version of my workshop story for website. Hopefully, people will like it, and I'll have an idea how many actually do, with the robots turned off.

--J.J.

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21 Jan 2016 15:38 #46143 by brantley
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Retitled "Recruiting Lessons," the revised an expanded version of "A Shot in the Light" is up today:

www.brightempire.com/Recruiting.htm

Includes more art, including the second of two manips of Larissa by Shadar.

--Brantley
The following user(s) said Thank You: SCOTT R

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27 Jan 2016 20:36 #46246 by alternate_histories
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Interesting story, Brantley; a little confusing because it's a slice of life and so has limited time to create a world, but what's there is nice.

Thanks for expanding it.

Tarot

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14 Feb 2016 15:43 #46435 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/Resurrection.htm

It's been more than four years since I posted RESURRECTION, my revision of a story begun by Shadar as A MATTER OF LOVE. It was an entirely new take on superheroine fiction here, but nobody seemed to take to it at the time. It had nothing to do with either the Aurora Universe or the mainstream comic book universes.

It had to do, remotely, with a new alien species called the Talantrans, who could work what passed for magic. But it was a very intimate story about a musician dying of cancer who is offered a chance at a new life by the agency that has made contact with the aliens. Only, the man who gave her that chance, a researcher at the agency with whom she had fallen in love, has since been killed – and others at the agency have different agendas for what her new life should be. One of them gets his way. And she isn't given any choice in the matter.

Becoming a superwoman may be a dream come true, but it isn't HER dream, and she has to fight to take control of her own destiny as she learns that what's going on at the agency has a darker side – one connected with the death of her lover.

RESURRECTION was originally posted as a just teaser. But Shadar recently heard from a fan who "really likes our collaboration on Resurrection with XueLee. That seems to be his favorite story and he’d love it if we would continue it." That prompted him to re-read the story himself, finding it had "a lot of flavor and depth." So maybe there'll be more.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, I've uploaded a new htm version – the previous version from Nov. 3, 2011 had display problems I hadn't noticed before – with extra images, including one of the heroine XueLee reborn as X'Sara.

Meanwhile:

www.brightempire.com/Walking.htm

Patricia and her family are getting closer to what's behind the conspiracy against them and law and order on Alguna Parte, and the latest update for WALKING TALL ends with the introduction of a new character who'll play a central role in the struggle and in Patricia's life.

--Brantley

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05 Mar 2016 12:08 #46682 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/Delphic.htm

Thirteen years ago today – is that a lucky number? – The Bright Empire made its debut. A lot has happened since then, and not just here. But today's update is a continuation of "Delphic Obstacles," a spin-off of one of one of the earliest stories in what I call the AU-3 series, Ordinary Velorians.

It was that story which introduced Alisa-zar Kim'Vallara, aka Alisa Liddell, the Velorian who refused to become a Protector and fled to Kelsor 7. Alisa had spent her earlier years on Reigel Five, where her mother Naomi was ambassador, and both those seeded worlds have figured in a number of AU-3 stories since. Alisa herself has become a pivotal figure in the overall history.

But there have been loose ends along the way, and the most embarrassing has been the fate of Peter Durgin, a Kelsorian Survey Service captain who had an abortive affair with her in Alisa's Story, and then became entangled in the intrigue and civil strife on Rostran – where he had to be enhanced to save his life. That left him as odd man out among his crewmen, whom he had alienated during a disastrous visit to the Lost City of Cygnias 275, which (along with the Rostran expedition in Shore Leave) became the object of an official inquiry and then a cover-up back on Kelsor 7. It was unfair of the Kelsorians, and perhaps unfair of me, for him to become a scapegoat and pariah – but there wasn't any way for him to explain himself, or to continue with his old career.

But where could he go? What could he do? I wanted to give him an out, and I couldn't think of anyone to give it to him but Naomi Kim'Vallara. And because she had figured in a story by Shadar, "Blind Justice," that had nothing to do with Alisa, she could, in my own "Moment of Truth," come up with the idea of finding an "out" for him on the mining planet Delphi. It was an awkward situation, but since posting the first part last November, I've gotten a better handle on it – and on the challenges and complications Durgin has to face. I have a sense now of how he can find a way out of his old life and into a new one.

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05 Mar 2016 18:52 #46685 by shadar
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brantley wrote: www.brightempire.com/Delphic.htm

Thirteen years ago today – is that a lucky number? – The Bright Empire made its debut. A lot has happened since then, and not just here. But today's update is a continuation of "Delphic Obstacles," a spin-off of one of one of the earliest stories in what I call the AU-3 series, Ordinary Velorians.

It was that story which introduced Alisa-zar Kim'Vallara, aka Alisa Liddell, the Velorian who refused to become a Protector and fled to Kelsor 7. Alisa had spent her earlier years on Reigel Five, where her mother Naomi was ambassador, and both those seeded worlds have figured in a number of AU-3 stories since. Alisa herself has become a pivotal figure in the overall history.

But there have been loose ends along the way, and the most embarrassing has been the fate of Peter Durgin, a Kelsorian Survey Service captain who had an abortive affair with her in Alisa's Story, and then became entangled in the intrigue and civil strife on Rostran – where he had to be enhanced to save his life. That left him as odd man out among his crewmen, whom he had alienated during a disastrous visit to the Lost City of Cygnias 275, which (along with the Rostran expedition in Shore Leave) became the object of an official inquiry and then a cover-up back on Kelsor 7. It was unfair of the Kelsorians, and perhaps unfair of me, for him to become a scapegoat and pariah – but there wasn't any way for him to explain himself, or to continue with his old career.

But where could he go? What could he do? I wanted to give him an out, and I couldn't think of anyone to give it to him but Naomi Kim'Vallara. And because she had figured in a story by Shadar, "Blind Justice," that had nothing to do with Alisa, she could, in my own "Moment of Truth," come up with the idea of finding an "out" for him on the mining planet Delphi. It was an awkward situation, but since posting the first part last November, I've gotten a better handle on it – and on the challenges and complications Durgin has to face. I have a sense now of how he can find a way out of his old life and into a new one.


This should be a fun read. And thirteen years... interesting. I always think of you coming on board near the end of the AU era and continuing the stories, but those 13 years have certainly passed in a hurry and you've added a ton of stories to the saga.

My speciality seems to be starting things and then leaving loose ends. Short attention span I guess. Yours is picking those up and continuing them in ways I never imagined. Very cool.

I always viewed Captain Peter Durgin as kind of a tragic character who became addicted to Alisa's pheromones and presence, and who could never shake the addiction. There is no drug to counteract the combination of hopelessly lost love and the super-chemistry that went along with that. Now I get to see if that's how it went.

I started the whole Alisa story line with a single thought -- what if a Prima-1 girl refused to become a Protector as programmed from conception? That led to expat Velorians and Reigel 5 and then Kelsor. Which is as far as I'd first intended to go. But then the mission to Cygnius 275 came up and the idea of secretly tossing a Velorian into a science ship full of ordinary humans bound on an expedition. I thought that would be fun to explore.

From there things spiraled out of control to end on Rostran. At that point, I was out of ideas and thought I'd painted myself into a corner. So I dropped the story (as is my style) and went on to something else.

But I was wrong... you found a way out and a way forward for the characters over the last 10 years or so. That is very cool.

Shadar

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06 Mar 2016 03:23 #46687 by brantley
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Well, maybe you'll be inspired to get back to some of the other unfinished stories like FIRST PROTECTOR...

As for Peter, he'll have a new love interest -- but nothing like Alisa...

--Brantley

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07 Mar 2016 16:23 #46701 by brantley
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Watch for more tomorrow, including a blast from AU-2 past!

--Brantley

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08 Mar 2016 09:24 #46714 by brantley
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A blast from the future and a blast from the past to mark the 11th anniversary of the Hostway version of The Bright Empire..

First, there's a change in course for Empress of the Dawn, with plans for a Book Four that will conclude the saga with the immediate buildup to the Battle of the Triple Moons and the battle itself. Book Three, previously titled Peace and War, is being rebooted as Hope and Fear, with a revised ending and a few other edits. Like Book One, Book Four will take place over a few months or so, although there will be flashbacks and doubtless an epilogue. Books Two and Three have jumped from generation to generation, and readers have doubtless missed the kind of human drama that made Book One the most popular story in the Aurora Universe 3 history.

www.brightempire.com/Empress-3.pdf

Second, there's a new edit of an old Aurora Universe 2 story, Heart of Darkness, that was begun by Shadar way back in 1995 and last continued at his site in 2003. Shadar, Tarot Barnes and I have fiddled with the text off the board occasionally since then, and had a general idea of how the story should end – indeed, the last scene had been written and illustrated. Maybe putting it up with formatting and art, rather than as just a text teaser that hardly anyone noticed will renew interest in filling in the remaining gaps.

www.brightempire.com/Heart.pdf

--Brantley Thompson Elkins

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31 Mar 2016 23:38 #47099 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/Walking.htm

Since tomorrow is April Fool's Day, I'm posting the latest update of "Walking Tall" today, because I'm not just fooling around. I'm adding some new complications to the story of Patricia Ortiz, the Velorian Legionnaire who has returned home to Alguna Parte after serving a stint offworld. She is welcomed by her stepfamily, but disappointed to learn that her former boyfriend Reynaldo has married one of her stepsisters.

Only she soon has a lot more to worry about, because what seems to be a golden opportunity for her stepfather Teo to expand the family business turns out to be a cover for a scheme to manufacture alien weapons – and when Teo stumbles on to the truth, he is murdered. Now the conspirators are after the rest of the family, and in the latest update (Chapter 8) Patricia has to show her super stuff defending the homestead. But in the family's efforts to expose the conspirators and bring them to justice, she has some new allies – including a young man named Tomas who is himself marked for death by the conspirators. And a further distraction is that he and Patricia are hot for each other, but can't do anything about it...

-- Brantley Thompson Elkins

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04 Apr 2016 12:42 #47156 by brantley
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Anybody here know where the idea of the "Velorian Ranger: came from?

There are several images of same by different artists at Deviant Art, such as this:

the-darcsyde.deviantart.com/art/Velorian-Ranger-92577539

They all have green outfits, which aren't featured in any other images or stories about Velorians, but I don't see any indication that anyone has written fiction based on them.

--Brantley

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04 Apr 2016 12:55 - 04 Apr 2016 12:56 #47158 by Woodclaw
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brantley wrote: Anybody here know where the idea of the "Velorian Ranger: came from?

There are several images of same by different artists at Deviant Art, such as this:

the-darcsyde.deviantart.com/art/Velorian-Ranger-92577539

They all have green outfits, which aren't featured in any other images or stories about Velorians, but I don't see any indication that anyone has written fiction based on them.

--Brantley


The character is from my friend Teri-Minx , who is also the founder of the Angel Falls DA group on DeviantArt. I think Teri picked up the concept from some old AU stories -- being a fan -- and started spinning her (I say her but I'm not 100% sure of Teri's gender) own ideas from there. The Vel Ranger is one of her oldest attempts to what eventually became her signature character Walkiria.
Last edit: 04 Apr 2016 12:56 by Woodclaw.

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13 Apr 2016 11:58 #47290 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/Delphic.htm

Things are heating up in more ways than one for Peter Durgin, the ill-starred Kelsorian Survey Service captain who has been driven/induced to seek a new life on Delphi, a mining colony of Reigel Five, and assumed the pseudonym of David Truesdale. He’s gotten a job with the equally ill-starred Jonah Begglestrom, who hopes to find a mother lode of xintanite to make his fortune. But there are… complications… and he doesn’t yet know what all of them are.

It helps to have read “Moment of Truth” and “Blind Justice,” which have to do with how Peter/David and Jonah became ill-starred. And in the deep background are the tangled politics of their homeworlds…

-- Brantley Thompson Elkins

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06 May 2016 11:38 #47598 by brantley
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Another slight update to "Delphic Obstacles:"

www.brightempire.com/Delphic.htm

Some raw sex, but only after Peter and David inadvertently save the Begglestroms from enemy attack.

--Brantley

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08 May 2016 13:43 #47651 by brantley
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Belated post here (the story was actually uploaded May 4) drew 62 hits May 6, versus only 12 the day before. So I guess I do have fans at SWM, even if they never comment.

--Brantley

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08 May 2016 21:21 #47657 by inactive
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brantley wrote: Belated post here (the story was actually uploaded May 4) drew 62 hits May 6, versus only 12 the day before. So I guess I do have fans at SWM, even if they never comment.

--Brantley


There's definitely an audience of folks who read but don't post. Whenever I link to one of my Kindle books on SWM, even as an aside, I get a little bump in sales, even if no-one says anything.

Or ghosts. It might be ghosts, I suppose.

- GeekSeven

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08 May 2016 22:55 #47660 by shadar
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geekseven wrote:

brantley wrote: Belated post here (the story was actually uploaded May 4) drew 62 hits May 6, versus only 12 the day before. So I guess I do have fans at SWM, even if they never comment.

--Brantley


There's definitely an audience of folks who read but don't post. Whenever I link to one of my Kindle books on SWM, even as an aside, I get a little bump in sales, even if no-one says anything.

Or ghosts. It might be ghosts, I suppose.


If its Kindle, then it's ghosts with a credit card. If its a free no-membership site, then it could be worms (bots).

Shadar

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10 May 2016 15:20 #47712 by brantley
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Whether it's bots or people, one thing that puzzles me is the seeming anomalies. Like, yesterday there were 37 hits for "Judgment Day," which dates back to 2008. Why a sudden re-interest, even by bots?

--Brantley

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17 May 2016 20:28 #47925 by brantley
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Working on an update to the first part of FIRST PROTECTOR, I realized belatedly that combining two partial drafts had made Jana Sunderland's nature and family history inconsistent. Also wanted to get in some more artwork. Should have it ready to upload by the end of this week.

--Brantley

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19 May 2016 00:09 #47961 by brantley
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And now a major overhaul of First Protector. I was really embarrassed a few days ago to discover major inconsistencies in Book One. Chief among them was the characterization of Jana Sunderland, who is introduced as an immigrant from the heavy gravity planet Zeta-5, but later seems to come from an old family on Tazzi. Apparently the Zeta-5 version was from a partial update by Shadar and I hadn't followed through.

But while editing Part Three, which centers on Jana and Kevin Galton, first in hiding and then on the run, it occurred to me that I also needed to focus more on their relationship. They've both played the field in the past; sex has been an adventure. But now they have only each other – they have to bond, both to survive and to keep their sanity in face of all that is happening on Tazzi, where they don't even know for sure what is going on because they aren't part of an inner circle, and are helpless to influence events.

www.brightempire.com/First-1.pdf

Of course, they don't even know anything about Mal'kar Klen besides what has appeared on the news feeds, and have no idea that he has seduced Vespyr. Even she hasn't told the whole story yet in Book Two – hopefully Shadar will come through with that, but I've made a few changes to the opening scenes to clarify the basic situation in the aftermath as a chastened Vespyr sets forth on her mission to Velor.

www.brightempire.com/First-2.pdf

--Brantley

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19 May 2016 22:37 - 19 May 2016 22:38 #48009 by brantley
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Added some comments about the background of First Protector:

www.brightempire.com/behind_stories.htm

One consequence of the fact that Kevin and Vespyr don't knew the truth about each other is that it changes the equation between Kevin and Jana. Their closer romantic attachment is a matter of not only opportunity but necessity: they are on the lam, under assumed names, and dare not trust or confide in anyone else. Of course, if their dire situation changes, so may their relationship....

--Brantley
Last edit: 19 May 2016 22:38 by brantley.

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