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Want to really help MU take off? A lot of people have told me they can't figure out an easy way to describe the story to their friends but if they can convince them to read the first chapter, they're hooked and it ends up speaking for itself.

With that in mind, I am inviting people to post the entire first chapter (text reproduced below) on their own blogs, personal web spaces, forums (so long as it's not in the context of spamming... a bulletin board, link board, or shameless plug board is usually okay), so long as they make no changes or additions to it and include the whole text between the rows of asterisks.

Note that it is VERY IMPORTANT to include the whole text between the rows of asterisks, especially the paragraph that begins "The following is a copy..." Among other things, that paragraph contains the warning of age-appopriateness and the permission for people to repost it.


Note! Terms expanded October 1st!




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The following is a copy of the first chapter of the FREE online story Tales of MU, posted here by invitation of the author. Please note that while this teaser is safe for all ages, the rest of the story is intended for adults. If you enjoy this chapter, the address to read the rest for free is http://www.talesofmu.com ... and please spread the word by sharing the link or copying this entire message to your own journal, blog, forum, or personal webpage! Permission is given to post the first chapter only, without any cuts or edits, and with this entire message attached. Note: e-mailing to friends and printing out copies are also acceptable forms of distribution.

TALES OF MU 1: Welcome to MU
"In Which We Meet Mackenzie"
by Alexandra Erin

Despite the presence of cardboard signs trimmed with crepe paper and balloons, I completely missed the front door of Harlowe Hall and instead ended up in a big spartan lobby/hallway that linked three different residential buildings. I thought that’s where the sign had been pointing... later, I’d find out that Harlowe’s entrance was actually below the ground level, off a sort of sunken patio that was screened from view by the shrubbery I’d walked past. Nobody ever wandered into it by accident. The lobby was full of people, bustling among the front and rear entrances and the three large hallways branching off from it in every combination of to-and-from. Most of them were carrying at least a suitcase. Some of them were trundling luggage trolleys, often with a mini fridge and/or TV.

I stared around blankly, hoping for a sign of where I was supposed to be. Luckily, somebody spotted me and took pity on me.

"Hey, frosh!" a sharp, but not hostile, voice said. I spun around and saw a preppy-looking guy without any baggage. "What you looking for?"

"Harlowe," I said.

I caught a look that was a mixture of surprise, disgust, and fear, but he hid it pretty fast. He pointed to a set of double-doors leading to one of the hallways.

"Thanks," I said, keeping my voice as neutral as I could. He had helped me, after all.

I lugged my suitcase, backpack, and duffel bag down the hall. The staircase was easy to find, and it took me down to a big glass-fronted common room that was positively packed with people. Surprisingly little sunlight reached in through the windows. Most of the people there were sitting around in the second-hand sofas and chairs, or just milling around. It looked like most of them had already checked in. There were three lines of people leading up to the long reception desk, but the longest one only had four students in it and they were all moving quickly.

Fragments of conversation reached me over the general murmur and buzz as I got in line.

"I’m actually taking nineteen hours of classes this semester. That seems like a lot. Does that seem like a lot to you?"

"You know, this was my safety school."

"Can you believe they don’t even let us have candles in our dorm? How are we supposed to..."

"Did you see the weapon policy? They’re pretty strict."

"Name?" the woman asked me when I got up to the counter. She had a nametag which read "Gwendolyn Rodrigues - Resident Advisor."

"Mackenzie Blaise," I said.

"Is Mackenzie your first name or your last?" she asked me, turning away from me to a table against the back wall, covered with large envelopes.

"First," I said, adding unnecessarily, "Blaise is my last name." What can I say? It was my first day at college, and I’d already made what felt like one giant blunder, even if nobody knew about it. I was the tiniest bit nervous.

She found the packet labeled "Blaise, Mackenzie" and handed it to me.

"This is a copy of your class schedule, a calendar of events, coupons for the student union, and emergency listings," she said. "Now, you’ll need to read and sign this statement about compliance with the university’s weapons policy." Even though she was obviously a student and only a few years older than me, she already had the voice and facial expression of an officious bureaucrat. I could tell that being an R.A. was only one step in what would doubtless be a very fulfilling career for her in the field of interfering with others’ lives.

"Of course," I said, barely glancing at the slip of paper before signing it.

"And, of course, I have to see the weapon you’ll be using."

I reached into my coat and pulled out the knife, the twisted bronze hilt protruding from a lambskin sheath, and laid it down on the counter.

"That’s your main weapon?" she asked me, eyebrows raised.

"It’s the only one I’ve got," I said, with a silly grin.

"Only it’s not very big, is it?"

"I’ve never been much impressed with size," I told her.

"It’s barely enchanted," she observed. I wondered if she could tell that at a glance, or if there was something under the counter telling her that.

"The policy I read just said a magical weapon, it didn’t specify how magical it had to be," I pointed out. I’d been expecting this reaction, but it didn’t make it any less irksome.

"It’s just... life on campus can get dangerous..."

"I’ve never needed anything bigger," I said testily.

For a few moments, she looked at me like she wanted to say something... like she was going to invoke some little-known rule to throw me out until I came back with one of those absurdly huge broadswords or big spiky maces, but finally she just said, "All right. But there’s a nice little weapon store in town, if you change your mind."

"I’ll remember that," I said.

She held out a small manila envelope slightly larger than a business card.

"Here’s your room key and a pass card to get in and out of the building after dark," she said. "Though it’s best not to wander around campus too much at night. Stick to the lighted paths, and travel with a friend as much as possible. It’s all in your campus security pamphlet."

"Yes, thank you, I’ve read it," I said, reaching for the packet. She still looked doubtful, but she finally handed it to me.

"You’ll be needing this back, too," she said, handing me my knife, hilt-first.

"I’m actually hoping I won’t."

"Oh, yes, of course," she said. "Welcome to Magisterius University, Ms. Blaise."

READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT http://www.talesofmu.com !
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[User Picture]
On September 8th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC), kengr commented:
The text above contains MS "smart quotes" which make it impossible to post on anything that isn't using an MS character set. The leading and trailing quotes and the ellipses all need to be convert to ASCII to do that.
[User Picture]
On September 8th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC), mutales replied:
Good catch. CONVERT'd!
[User Picture]
On September 8th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC), kengr replied:
Well, I have to paste stuff into TextEdit before pasting it into my LJ, because otherwise I have to strip tons of HTML tags. And TextEdit shows those characters as black squares. Kinda hard to miss. :-)
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[User Picture]
On September 8th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC), doc_krashenbern commented:
I broke a rule while posting. I cut the last two lines which somehow were repeated. And i've just noticed that you did too.

Nevermind me, I'm going to go sit in a corner.
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On September 9th, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
xD I totally did this just last week or so. Printed out five or so copies of the first page with the address at the end and handed them off to friends, that is. Anyway, great idea!
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On September 10th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC), denict commented:
I think I found a typo
In the first paragraph of what we copy, it says "sharing the link or coyping this"...Isn't "coyping" supposed to be "copying"? ^^;
[User Picture]
On September 10th, 2007 02:23 am (UTC), mutales replied:
Re: I think I found a typo
Uhhhh... just seeing if you're paying attention? :P

Thanks!
On September 10th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC), denict replied:
Re: I think I found a typo
Anytime, Lexy! ^^
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On September 10th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Sp?
Towards the end...
"Manilla envelope"; one "l" per word. Otherwise, great idea and awesome execution! It is going on my Facebook a a note.
-Viktor
[User Picture]
On September 10th, 2007 06:16 am (UTC), mutales replied:
Re: Sp?
Whoops! You know, I fixed that ages ago when I made the print edition but I guess I never copied it back to the website.
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On October 1st, 2007 05:47 am (UTC), zillahsnothing commented:
Methods of distribution
OK, so i don't have a lot of loyal followers on my LJ. Here's what i want to do. i want to print out a few hundred copies of this and put them in the mailboxes of my class here at college. Would printing out the first page be acceptable, or can this only be distributed online?
[User Picture]
On October 1st, 2007 05:48 am (UTC), mutales replied:
Re: Methods of distribution
That's totally acceptable. One item on my ever-growing to-do list is to rewrite the opening paragraph to make it clear that printing it out and e-mailing it are kosher.
[User Picture]
On October 25th, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC), fixingit replied:
Re: Methods of distribution
I think I'll print out some copies to hand out as well! Maybe even ask the library if I can leave a stack at the front with all the postcards and pamphlets and stuff.

I already have a link in my LJ profile page, and I told a few friends about MU. They all love it!
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On February 22nd, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Don't know if this has been caught yet, but I just noticed on this version, it still says "emergency phone numbers" and not "emergency listings."

Great Story.
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On May 10th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
'tis free
You should probably mention explicitly mention that reading the story doesn't cost money. The word "teaser" strongly connotes that you can have the first part for free and you'll have to pay for the rest, because of its frequent usage like this on pay-for-content web-sites.
scornflakes
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[User Picture]
On July 26th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC), jupiterrhode commented:
Well, I've joined the MUmeme. Not sure how much it will help, only like three people read my LJ, but every little bit, right?
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On April 14th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Looking forward to get involved
Hi - I am definitely happy to discover this. great job!
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