Archived Messages from December 23, 1998 to December 30, 1998

Jodi Wed Dec 30 22:43:50 PST 1998


I am sorry to hear about your friend. I had a similar experience only a week and a half ago. My friend and neighbor, who had been out shopping with her three children for the holidays, returned to find her husband, only 37, dead of a diabetic reaction. The kids are all under ten. Sort of puts things into perspective, doesnít it.

Due to this occurrence and of course the hectic nature of the season, I have done no writing and very little reading the past few weeks.

I have checked out your story, and as soon as I am finished reading, I will email you my response.

I have plans to check out the workbook and any other proffered writings in the next two weeks, before I head back into the halls of academia.

As tomorrow is the eve of the New Year, and I must work, I shall take this opportunity to wish you all the very best of New Years and great success in all your endeavors.


Thomas Wed Dec 30 17:02:12 PST 1998

Oh, and who said anything about feeling sorry for you? I have empathy not sympathy.

Thomas Wed Dec 30 16:58:28 PST 1998

Ah, the poifect woild! Why didn't you say so?
Have you looked for an agent?
I am looking both for an agent and a publisher for my recent book. I discovered that many publishers, even though they claim they accept material from authors, really do not. But if you are lucky to find a publisher, it still is best to have an agent to do the contract work with the publisher.
I find the search for an agent as difficult as it is to find a publisher. The responses I get from agents are generally more civil, but agents can also be cryptic, vague and baffling in their responses. The other problem I see with agents is that many seem locked into formula concepts and are unwilling to go to bat for something they personally like but feel would take too much time to sell. Even agents who say they seek new writers (unpublished) seem still to have trouble with new directions.

Rhoda Wed Dec 30 16:41:11 PST 1998

I accidently sent off that last post without finishing it. I pushed the tab button and off it went.

For happily ever aftering
Than here in Camelot."

Rhoda Wed Dec 30 16:39:00 PST 1998


I was actually refering to novels. I haven't tried magazines as yet, though I have decided to send a short story to a women's publication. This is the second go-around for me with a novel. There are far fewer publishing houses that are excepting non-agented material, so I feel that I must find an agent. I think novel writing is considered the dregs of the writing industry. All you get back for sending your queries and your manuscripts is things like 1"X 1" stickum notes, postcards, notes jotted on your cover letter, or form letters from the classier establishments. About all you hear is that "We are sorry, but we cannot offer you representation at this time." Sometimes you get absolutely no reply at all.

Don't feel sorry for me, Thomas, for I knew about this type of thing before I ever sent out my first query. I must say that I have gotten more response from my current novel than from the first one. I just wish I wasn't shooting in the dark. I just wish things were different--sort of in the way I wish we lived in a perfect world. In such a world, editors and agents would be supportive. These people would have ample time to explain just what they want. The drive for big profits wouldn't influence everything that happens. There would be room in the market for every talented writer, and even the untalented writers would learn enough to write good work.

"There simply isn't not
A more congenial spot
For happily ever aftering

I believe whether you are doing magazine articles or novels, you just have to be tough enough to stick it out. You must be resilent. I am trying. It is not easy, but I am giving it my best. My feelings are not hurt with rejection. I only look at the letter or note and wonder where it was and why it was I lost them. I realize that there might not be a reason that I have any control over. The house may have all the clients it need. Perhaps they have no earthly idea where to market my manuscript. I just always wonder if there was someway I could have done better.

So much for rejection. Now is the time to look ahead. I have lost some battles, but never the war. I must plan my strategy. That is the tough part--what to do next.

Pete Welmerink Wed Dec 30 16:18:48 PST 1998

What is really the point of this if no one uses it?
My words to aspiring writer's...keep writing. Write when you can. Don't get bogged down with feeling you have to write super heavy super serious stories...great literary pieces!! Have fun. Let your mind soar. If you just want to write a little fantasy it. It doesn't have to evolve into an actual story.
I write a lot of superhero stories or just stories where a character is out in the world...maybe enjoying a sunset or a cocktail in the high tower of a downtown bar. I don't worry about a plot. I just write.
Just write. That's what it is all about. Write then later on pick out one or two concrete ideas and go for it!

Thomas Wed Dec 30 16:07:49 PST 1998

Are you there? On this ICQ matter. I was not involved at the start so I never got the mini course you gave on starting up. What was the mess I made with colors? I wasn't able to change colors. You mentioned a color menu bar that I could not find. I am also going to try to add my name to the file so that it, instead of my number comes up on screen; I thought I had done this twice, but it never seemed to happen.

This board is a place for talking about writing, and other related matters, so welcome a-board.

Anne Wed Dec 30 15:58:39 PST 1998

Hello everyone. Just came across this site and wondered what it is all about. I am an aspiring writer. I have been published in not-for-pay and, once, in a paid publication. Was wondering if this site offers talk on the subject of getting started.

Thomas Wed Dec 30 15:37:18 PST 1998

Is there a way to delete a posting once I submit it. Forgetting I was not on email, I wrote something in my previous posting, intended to be in a joking manner but it doesn't read well.

I suppose you are referring to magazine rejections. This might not help any, but I have just about given up on magazines and have decided to go back to business writing. It takes too much time to send queries, not to mention the expense, to magazines that are inundated with queries, and that won't at least ask for specifics. Editors, or the clerks or receptionists or whoever it is responsible for the slush pile often haven't enough time, business savvy or civility to even send back a coherent rejection.
The last magazine query I sent came back with a specific request for changes and a resubmit. I made the changes, resubmitted and got a response which read: great work on the changes, it definitely fits now, send it back in four months: not "we will schedule it for four months from now", but "send it back in four months". This has happened to me before. By the time I sent the previous one back the editor who told me to do so had moved on, and the replacement wasn't interested.

Rhoda Wed Dec 30 14:33:09 PST 1998


I am sorry to hear about your friend. Having someone close to us pass on sure reminds us on the fleetingness of life and our own mortality. If anything positive comes out of something like this, it is to realize that many of the things that bother us, irritate us or consume us are not worth a hill of beans in the final scope of things. People are what matter.

Ed and Jack,

I think having the weekly chats are a wonderful idea. It would be so nice to have a conversation about writing with people who understand. Since there are so many time zones represented here, and since our work schedules are so varied, I would suggest we have two chats. They can be on similar subjects, of course.

I just received an e-mail from a close writer friend back in Farmington. She is discouraged about the whole writing business. I know exactly how she feels, and most of the people who read this board know too. I wish there was a better way that agents and editors could deal with each other. I wish that when I got a rejection the prospective agent could tell me where in the story I lost them and why my work isn't good enough for them to represent. But the price for doing what we do is that we have to accept things as they are, at least for the time being. The writing business is as it is, and I am in no position to change it today.

I've had so many rejections lately--none stand out. They sort of merge one into another. I must say that the sheer number of them is grating on my good spirits. I've had fifteen contacts and thirteen rejections. Is it time to regroup and try to figure out what I am doing wrong, or do I bite the bullet and throw another fifteen queries into the lion's den? Maybe there is a very good reason why I am getting rejected. Maybe I haven't found the right agent yet. I just don't know. I have no perspective left.

It is always good to come back to the Notebook to see that my quandries are not so unusual.


I am glad to hear that are rewriting your book and getting ready to enter the fray again.

I must go.

Happy writing!


Thomas Wed Dec 30 13:51:15 PST 1998

Right on with the journalism thoughts. I have turned down features at the Elmira Star-Gazette because of what I was asked to do: entertain (the nations first Gannett now looks like Natl Enquirer without proper spelling). I enjoy, however, doing the columns because they are my thoughts and my particular brand of how to convey them. After a few years of trying it the paper's way, I slipped my style in and now have a following. But the pay -- as we used to say in my hometown, Brooklyn, fuggeddaboudit.

Thanks. I needed that, I think. In fact, I am re-writing, but only for tightening at this point. And I rarely let one person guide my direction, except of course the one paying the bills right now: my wife.

S.N.Arly Wed Dec 30 11:30:18 PST 1998

Just as a general announcement, US postage is going up on January 11. I'm sure most of you for whom this matters already know, but just in case... The formerly 32 cent rate will be 33 cents, and I'm not yet sure if it will affect the price of additional postage (currently 23 cents per additional ounce... or is that two?).

Jack - So what exactly are you doing at this confrence thing? Are you specifically interested in problems that face writers or things that are making life easier for us all?

Condolances regarding your friend. There's never a good time for that sort of thing.

Thomas - Generally can't stomach journalism anymore. My major was in newswriting and reporting. It's gotten too sensational at this point, and I can't respect my colleagues. What ever happened to presenting the facts in such a way that you did not mislead your reader (you know telling a real stroy as opposed to something that might be more interesting)? Whatever happend to the dissemination of useful information? Along with that, I'm unreliable as a reporter because of my tendinitis. Can't always take notes and you can't rely on technology. Guess it was not meant to be.

My current contact with that world includes the occasional editorial. I'm also the editor of two monthly newsletters and the former editor of a small local art and lit magazine. I don't even subscribe to a newspaper. What irony.


Allein Lunika@aol.coom Wed Dec 30 10:45:36 PST 1998

Jack - I like the New Year's picture at the top. Sorry to hear about your friend.

Bye bye,

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 30 09:56:32 PST 1998


Sorry to hear about your friend, but it just proves that we shouldn't put things off. Do all the things that you want to do and say all the things that you want to say, because you never know how much time you have left.

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but the family have kept me pretty busy over the holidays. Only good stuff, but unfortunately I haven't had the time to do the reading or writing that I wanted to. I plan to remedy that however.

Rhoda, Eddie and Thomas,

The ICQ thing was a blast, though we never did manage to get all the glitches worked out, and I kept getting bumped off-line by incoming calls. I think Eddie's idea is a great one, and I'm glad he thought of it, because now he has to do all the work.

And remember, now that we have ICQ numbers, we can also arrange to chat at anytime. My schedule is usually pretty open, so if anyone is interested or just wants to kill some time, let me know.

Allein, I promise, I'll read you stuff, and I'm glad you're feeling better.

And Thomas,

Never let any one person discourage you from writing. It's so easy for personal preferences or biases to colour someones perception of your work, that one person's opinion isn't worth squat. Now if a whole herd of people tell you your work sucks, maybe you should reconsider, or at least rewrite!

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Wed Dec 30 05:28:12 PST 1998

Sorry to hear about your friend. I am sure you do not have to be reminded, but write out your reflections at this time; they can be quite enlightening.
I sent my vote into Writer's Digest, and I await the ICQ set-up as I lick my New Year's SASE.

Which grammatical typo were that?

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Dec 30 05:00:48 PST 1998


    This sounds reasonable. If you could take over the logistics of setting things up I will provide a page that explains the details. I would pick up the ball myself and ideally it should be me that is listed as the listmaster. However, I just received some devastating news that a good friend who this year had a quadruple by pass operation was found dead in his apartment. It is particularly sad, because he was planning on buying a house, making a new move and was making definite strides on improving his life. This has knocked some wind out of my sales and made me a tad bit reflective. Take care everyone.

Eddie French Tue Dec 29 21:06:58 PST 1998

Forgive the gramatical typo in the third paragraph!
See ....we all do it now and again.

Ediie French Tue Dec 29 21:03:03 PST 1998

You seem to have it just about right on the method of Group chat.
Please be aware that there will be a certain amount of 'Chat tech' talk before everyone learns how to use the software. But it will settle down after a while and then we can begin to chat about Writing!

A weekly chat sounds great! If you can set up a page to lead people in then that would be great. (Where do you find the time?)
How about this for a suggestion:
ICQ have already has set up a site for groups to get together and pass messages or chat etc. Indeed I have my own general 'Chat' site of which I am the 'Listmaster' (What a horrible title)
It is easy to set up and it is 100% free!
You set up a site with all members listed by ICQ#'s and names and ICQ do the rest. Easy as that.
Let's get together and do it after the holiday, It's got to be good.

Jack Beslanwitch Tue Dec 29 16:10:04 PST 1998

Hello everyone:

      After a thoroughly horrible day yesterday where I could not get on to my ISP, I am thoroughly glad to be back to the Notebook. On our Chat, I thoroughly endorse having a set time maybe once a week that people could meet and chat. Some discussion might have to be arranged for a time that is convention for everyone. 8:00 AM on the westcoast is definitely not comfortable for yours truly, but we might shoot for something that is a little later in the day but not onerous for others in different time zones.

      Also, to keep down the chat about ICQ and how to get it working and what your ICQ number is, might I suggest that I set up a new page for our online chats, include proposed times once we agree upon them, give a link to the Mirabilis site to pick up the software and with peoples permissions list those who are open to a chat with their ICQ numbers. Please feel free to pick this apart a bit, but I would like to get us back to talking about the writing life.

      In that vein, I have been asked to consider working up the writing track for a science fiction convention. I am interested in the thoughts of others as to what topics they would find of interest. Currently I am considering such topics as electronic publishing, is there a solutionf or midlisting, writers resources on the net and a few others. If others have other thoughts please email me with them

      And, YES, I was not aware of the Writers Digest nominations page, but please feel free to nominate this site as a useful one for writers. I think it has become one largely because of the writers here.

Thomas Tue Dec 29 11:18:50 PST 1998

Re: ICQ. Perhaps we can agree on a day of the week and make it a standard up and running every week, so anyone who wants to join in will know that is the day and time to do it. But let's get past this holiday season before we start. From mid December until school reopnes, we are clogged online here. First I have interminable waits with busy signals at the modem, and then it takes forever for me to call up a site.
Oh, everybody should read Howard's last posting and vote.

More responsibilites than they (editors) realiz(s)e! You are a diplomat.

What has got me baffled and annoyed by the latest rejection is that in the first paragraph I am told that the book is "written well and includes interesting information" and in the second paragraph I am told it "has too much extraneous information". I sent off a letter last night asking the person who wrote me if she means that I should edit and resubmit or if she means I should get lost. In the meanwhile, assuming since she sent the ms back with no notes as to editing, she means get lost, and so I am sending more queries to more agents. One publisher saw sample chapters and asked for the ms; that was October and I ain't heard yet. he gets a letter too.
Good to hear Kyisha is home and making progress.

I have a cat named Flash. To illustrate the significance of her name, a friend visiting for dinner and watching the cat activity throughout the dining room once asked, "how many cats do you have?" Flash truly bedevils our standard poodle, Henry, who is eight feet taller than the cat.
One day about three weeks ago I came home from an appointment to find that Henry had eaten a check I had sitting on my desk and Flash had managed to shut off the answering machine. So that day I could not cash a check I received for a writing assignment and I could not get new writing assignments, thanks to these adorable creatures we call pets but no they truly are our masters.

Glad you are alive and well.

Michele Tue Dec 29 09:03:26 PST 1998

Hi there !

Eddie - I'm way ahead of you there ! I've got my ISP number as my Best Friend entitling me to 20% off ! Still that's a long time to be tying up your phone ! However - maybe next time. I know I have some ICQ progs on one of my many CD ROMS so maybe next time.

Rhoda - Affordable is a relative term. It costs around £30 for me to take a train from here (Gloucestershire) to London for instance - that is not affordable as far as I am concerned. *IF* I go to London I get the National Express coach - cheap but no leg room !!

Thomas - yes really ! But as Eddie has pointed it out with the infamous British Telecom's Friends & Family discount I get 10% off calls made to my ISP's number and with their Best Friend discount it goes up to 20% . . . maybe next time.

When are you people planning to do this again ?


Allein Mon Dec 28 21:20:02 PST 1998

Eddie - Are you saying I'm not nice when I'm sick. :(

NIE-way, I didn't work anymore on my story. I was drawing all day. I drew a nice picture of some characters from my story - Patches, Rags, Mali, Rean and Allein. :) It turned out pretty good. I wish I could put it on my webpage but *sigh* I have no scanner.
My friend and I might go to see Prince of Egypt tomorrow - can't wait.

Well, I'm going to sleep now - it's late and I need my beauty sleep. :)
Bye bye all.

Eddie French Mon Dec 28 20:20:51 PST 1998

So much to respond to.
Let me see if I can get this in order.

so glad that your feeling better. You are such a nice person when you are feeling good!!

The way to do it is to go online at weekends and after six pm during the week. Also you can put your server # on the friends and family tarrif and by doing so get another 10% off your bill.
One whole hour online can cost as little as £0.50 at off peak rates if you are careful. I.E after six pm weekdays and all weekend.

I have three cats. Thomas, Chloe and Eamon. They like to trot accros the keys all of the time so I do sympathize with you.

Good news tonight. Kyisha came home tonight from the hospital and she is breathing quite well. We are all so happy to have her back at home. I held her in my arms for the first time since december 20th. Magic!!. They travel back to Germany on Jan 2nd so I don't know when I will see her again after that. If she had had to stay in hospital a bit longer then they ( Mum & Dad) would have got more leave from the military and stayed home longer. What a selfish thought!! Never mind... she's here now and well, that's what counts.

I really know what you mean about vague rejections. Remember my recent post about the rejection I recieved from Interzone which had the hand written crit ( although they stipulated 'no crits' and I missed the last sentence which invited me to 'Try us again')
You should be so lucky to get such a response.
That memorable rejection was the only positve response I had ever had to anything that I had ever written. If only I had known that it was positive at the time!
(Mind was the only MS I ever sent in before finding this site)
Oh boy.. that has got me thinking!!
You know....being a member of this group has really set me to thinking - Sorry if I wander - but that rejection (because of the way I took the literal wording) totaly destroyed my unquestionable belief that I would become a published writer and earn a good living doing the thing I loved best. I remember thinking at the time ( I had just lost my job due to lay offs) that I had six weeks to write a novel and get it published before the money ran out.

What a way to learn about the business.

It was many years before I retreived the 'carefuly discarded' manuscripts and begun to edit and re-write the work which I had done.( Only after finding this group and one other internet site)

york.fes.writers-cafe on the NG net

As we discussed in recent posts, I think that editors/publishers have more responsibilities than they realise. (Let's just leave it at that!)

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year.

Howard Mon Dec 28 20:03:55 PST 1998

Hey you guys! (anyone remember that phrase from the tv?)
Writers Digest is planning to publish "The 101 Top Writing Websites" in their May'99 issue, and on their web page. They're looking for nominations for this honor from people who've found good writer's groups. Check them out at:
I think all of Jack's hard work, as well as all the good intercourse betwixt us writer types (including Allein) deserves a mention or two Up There.
Put yer two cents in at the nomination site.

Allein Mon Dec 28 10:13:55 PST 1998

Good morning beautiful world. I am feeling so much better - 48 hours ago I was ready to curl up and die. I still have a cough, but other than that everything's great.

NIE-way, I'm gonna work more on my story today. So, I'll be back later.

Bye, bye,

Rhoda Mon Dec 28 08:15:56 PST 1998

Eddie, Thomas, and SKS,

I so enjoyed our chat the other day. I'm sorry to say that my cat, Buttons literally pulled the plug on me. I was so involved in the chat that I didn't notice him on top of the desk. Being the klutz that he is, he missed a jump and landed on top of the surge protector. It is a wonder the poor thing didn't get electricuted(but then cats do have 9 lives). I think I have finally figured this chat thing out, and I would love to give it another go sometime.


I don't know what I would do if I didn't pay one price for all my local calls. I guess I would write more letters. American companies and utilities are famous for their greed, but I must say British companies take the prize. On the other hand, you in the UK have such more afordable transportation than here. I wish I could hop on a train and visit my brother in Atlanta or my Dad in Indiana. As it is I have to drive or fly. I have never lived in a place that had train service to anywhere.

Well, I promised myself I would write today, so I had better go.

Happy writing!


Thomas Mon Dec 28 07:16:00 PST 1998

I got it! Perhaps what I should say is I get my fun out of reading history, biographies, essays and humor. And maybe we do live in different worlds -- but I wouldn't claim one to be better over the other.
What kind of journalism do you write? I write two wine columns and one free-form Sunday column, plus features on freelance assignment.

Re: rejection. I never thought of it the way you put it -- about the unspoken invitation to resubmit. But to me the words " have included too much detail.." is more vague than specific. What is detail to me may not be to her and vice versa. I have my wife, who is a great reader and editor, looking at the ms to make her comments (it is in her genes; her father was an editor at the NY Herald Tribune and then the NY Law Journal -- he has a blue pencil sticking out of each ear).

Really? Eddie French must spend a fortune online. I would likely be offline if the calls were not local. The phone bill around here is already enough to make me want to run around the house pulling plugs.

S.N.Arly Mon Dec 28 06:10:10 PST 1998

Took a vacation day to write, happy happy, joy joy. So I'm checking in early.

I've read the first three chapters of For Writers Only, and it's pretty good. Some of it's stuff I know but have never bothered to articulate, but essentially it's a nice little book that lets us all know that we are not alone. Writers have there own special selection of frustrations and emotional rollercoaster rides, but it's that ay for most of us.

Thomas - I was referring to your post dated dec 23: "I get restless when I know what I am reading is for fun only -- I am forever seeking knowledge."

On those rejects, did they say it needed editing and just leave it at that, or did they say go away? Many times if they say, it needs editing, theyíre tossing the ball back in your court. Especailly if theyíre giving you specifics (too much detail). Generaly this is editor speak for "We like to keep our costs down, and that includes editing. If you want to edit it and resubmit then weíll maybe take another looksee."

I never said editors were organized. I've received things back late, damaged, and in envelopes other than those I sent with. And I also reiterate, if you are getting personal attention that's a plus. If someone says "We'd like to see the MS," you're doing better than some of us.

Allein - Glad youíre feeling better.


Michele Mon Dec 28 00:59:17 PST 1998

Greetings one and all,

sorry I missed the international chat but I couldn't afford the phonebill (in case anyone doesn't know UK local calls are not free as they are elsewhere).

Hope you all had a happy holiday.

That's all I wanted to say !


Thomas Sun Dec 27 18:16:48 PST 1998

What was that reference to "for fun only"? You lost me.
As for the agent who sent the "encouraging" words. This was not a blind submission. She asked to see the manuscript after having seen four sample chapters -- it's a non-fiction, history of food. Then she sent the ms back saying good writing but too much detail in the book. Baffles me why she didn't ask me to do some editing and then have me resubmit.
To show how well they handle writers' materials, she managed to include with my returned ms. a book proposal sent to her by someone else.

Allein Sun Dec 27 15:15:39 PST 1998

John E. Bartley III - Welcome. Hope you like it here. Everyone's really nice.

S.N. Arly - I was only sick one other Christmas before with strep throat (the following spring, I had my tonsils taken out and didn't get sick once in the next three years) Anyway, at the time I wrote about the flu shot, I thought maybe it was the flu because I wasn't coughing so much at the time. After I started coughing, though, I figured it was probably something else. Anyway, I'm feeling much better than I was yesterday, but I still can't concentrate enough to write more to my story.

So, I'm going to get more sleep now. Love sleep, gotta love sleep. :) One of my favorite hobbies.
Peace all,

S.N.Arly Sun Dec 27 14:59:11 PST 1998

CQ CQ, calling CQÖ Bummed I missed the chat, but was at my parents having too much fun to think about getting online. Hope you had fun. And hope all who celebrate holidays in December (Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Haunukka, Christmas, St. Nicholas day)had nice ones. I did.

Thomas - For fun only? Guess we do live in different worlds. Think I like mine better.

On those rejects youíve been getting, youíre lucky youíre getting that kind of personal response. Some of us only dream of that. Just keep trying, and maybe you should check your markets out a bit more thoroughly. See what other stuff they print. Make sure you only go with those who print what you write. Hopefully thatíll end the Ďgreat, but not for us,í response and result in a sale.

James J - Iím an SF & F writer but in college I majored in journalism so I could at least make some money while trying to get my other writing off the ground. In all honesty, writers donít generally make enough to survive on. And those who do, are the rarer of us. It takes a long time, and itís a good idea to have some form of income.

Likewise, your writing will never take off if you donít work on it and find ways to improve. Sometimes you find such assistance in writing classes. I know. This sounds like waffling, but in the end itís a decision youíll have to make yourself. But since you asked, I thought Iíd tell you the road I took. Is it possible to do both? Is it possible at this school to major in one area, but take classes in another?

Julia - SF & F are not mutually exclusive. You can combine them (then you have whatís called science fantasy). Anne Mc Caffrey does a lot of this. Science fiction is something that could theoretically someday happen, according to those who get to define such things. Thereís technology and the like. Star Wars, Star Trek, I Robot, etc. Fantasy is that which could not actually happen (although this stuff happens all the time as far as Iím concerned). Fantasy often involves magic, mythical creatures, etc. The Hobbit, the Deryni books, etc.

Allein - When I was little I used to get sick EVERY Christmas. Mom said it was the excitement. Donít know about that, but I threw up every Christmas morning for about 5 years. Really sucked to spend the rest of the day in bed. Unable to play with my new toys.

Hope youíre feeling better. The flu shot wouldn't have helped you in this case. It's only good for one strain of influenza.


Thomas Sun Dec 27 14:11:53 PST 1998

Of course, I meant ICQ.

Thomas Sun Dec 27 14:10:33 PST 1998

Who needs IQC? The fact is, I have been signing on to the notebook. Can't do the IQC thing now, got to go.

Eddie French Sun Dec 27 13:58:05 PST 1998

By the way. Jack is online at the moment, though Steve and Rhoda are not.

Eddie French Sun Dec 27 13:55:07 PST 1998

you are still not showing as 'Online' in my ICQ prog. and yet you have obviously been online through my last two posts. Do you have ICQ running?

Thomas Sun Dec 27 13:50:45 PST 1998

I do not know about corporeal, but it is spooky how we signed on at the exact moment.

Thomas Sun Dec 27 13:49:06 PST 1998

Shouldn't that be an Irish Setter?

Eddie French Sun Dec 27 13:48:49 PST 1998

I must have missed that one. I thought that you were indeed conversing with Steven. But then, your whole presence was a bit on the spooky side. Do you have a corporeal entity?

Eddie French Sun Dec 27 13:44:23 PST 1998

Labrador Retriever????

John E. Bartley, III Sun Dec 27 12:58:36 PST 1998

Dewars Profile stuff:
45, single-and-looking (but, yes, someday the right Labrador retreiver will come along).

System Administrator for the United States Courts in sunny Portland, Oregon (how's THAT for alternative reality). Eighteeen years in the microcomputer trade, starting before there were PCs (King of the Kaypros, Duke of Commodores, Earl of Xerox). Also sometime adjunct college instructor and freelance PC tech here and there ('Beta' jobs). Pre-microcomputers? Telco tech, Equifax investigator, radio announcer for WLQR ("the Sound of Your Life") and other stations too numerous to list. Hereditary Forester of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

Education: Have a piece of sheepskin hanging in a frame which says I are a professional journalist. Actually did that for a while, before I discovered the PC racket. Know the Inverted Paragraph thing and a few other tricks to keep the ads from banging together on a page.

Ambition? None, I'm Irish (hahaha). Would like to learn basic elements of fiction, as I have several story ideas banging around in a box in my head and they want out BAD.

Last book read? THE FIRST CASUALTY, Mike Moscoe, Ace, January 1999. Mike's a great guy from Vancouver WA, and proof positive you can start getting published after 40.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Dec 26 22:34:56 PST 1998

Glad everyone had a good time in the international chat. ICQ may be the best way of going about this, but I suggest that we perhaps alternate between a comfortable time to meet on east coast and England and west coast and Australia. Eight in the morning is impossible for yours truly :-) Still, I think this is worth pursuing. I would especially like to see those wanting to participate in a Round Robin get together in a chat situation and knock out some of the perameters especially with the originator of the idea. SIGH, so many things to do and so little time.

And Allein, be thankful for bronchitis. Diptheria you definitely do not want. Although, having had bronchitis it is no bed of roses and can hang on way too long. My thoughts will be with you.

Happy new year to everyone

Litter Sat Dec 26 14:39:43 PST 1998

Hey Y'all and Happy Boxing Day!

Hope you all had a great Christmas? Seems I missed the opportunity of an International Chat since this is the first time I've been here for a couple of days - so I missed out on the notices :o( I would've liked that - guess I'll have to check back more often huh?

Going to lick my wounds and have someone purge my body of far too much festive food/drink.

Hope we can repeat the Chat at some point....


Thomas Sat Dec 26 12:46:56 PST 1998

Hey all, I second what Eddie says about the chat online. This fool made a number of mistakes that kept us all hopping for a while, and I never did get to converse with Steve. And by the way, what happened to Rhoda? You dropped off the radar without warning.
Let me cry on your collective shoulders: Just received a returned manuscript for my book from an agent who asked to see it. She says it is written well, but would need some editing, and apparently her agency isn't up to editing it. I have been under the assumption all along that any book I send out will need editing -- I mean, nothing is ever complete as long as there is someone else to read it from another perspective. Why would an agent not want to edit with me? Am I expecting too much?
This is not making me feel good. Most of the feedback I am getting from agents and book publishers is in the camp of "well written, good, but not for us".
Perhaps self-publishing is the way to go.

Goodweed of the North Sat Dec 26 12:46:03 PST 1998

Wow! It took so long to read everything, I haven't time to post anything. Is this a plot to get me to shut up (looking sideways with tongue in cheek)? Anyway, I hope all of you had a great Christmas (those experiancing illness, get plenty of rest, force others to wait on you hand and foot, milk it a bit, get well soon). And I wish success in writing and other projects to everyone of you for the New Year.

Hayde; simply, Hi. Hope your extende walkabout is going well.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

eddie French Sat Dec 26 12:32:58 PST 1998

Christmas Chat:
Well what can I say, in the end we had four members chatting.
I think that we all got something from it.
Because the technology was new to all we spent a bit of time getting the procedures sorted out. But when we did it was really good. Thanks to Rhoda, Thomas and Steve.
we all learned a lot about each other.
I was so pleased about the way that it went that I would like to encourage more of you to go to and download ICQ. then we can try it all again with more of us involved. Just get it and see how you feel about it after you have tried it out. It takes a few minutes to get the hang of what is required but once you get it down then you will really be on your way.
Ask Steve, or Rhoda, or Thomas. We had a really good couple of hours online.
Happy Holiday

Allein Sat Dec 26 12:23:09 PST 1998

I just got back from the doctor. The good news is - it's not diphtheria (I tried to convince my mom that's what it was - I was watching Balto at the time and that's what the poor kids in that movie had - same symptoms as my illness though). No, actually, it's what everyone else who came into the clinic had today - bronchitis (yes, I'm aware of the fact that I probably didn't spell that right). It's going around. But I also get strep throat and an ear infection as a free bonus. I got a prescription, but have to wait until at least Wednesday to go to the movies :(

Well, I think I'll work on my story some more. Hope no one else here gets sick.
Peace and Love,

Rhoda Sat Dec 26 08:31:24 PST 1998

Hi guys,

Ed is here. We are talking on ICQ. Thomas, are you still around? Can you use your ICQ and get on our group chat?

Thomas Sat Dec 26 07:35:04 PST 1998

Allein and Rhoda,
Double bummer! I thought I had it bad, having to be home on Christmas with just the dog and cat until after midnight, when my wife finally arrived in time for the two of us to fall off to sleep. I Got to open my presents on Boxing Day (fitting, not the silk shirt but the day I get to open my presents; see earlier explanation of Boxing Day).
Rhoda -- I have Photoshop, in case you need some help.
Incidentally, the silk shirt almost covers my keyboard fingers -- my wife's mother has trouble remembering sizes. It is a beautiful shirt!

Last year my wife's mother got me the 1998 Writer's Market -- really does come in handy, and it doesn't cover my fingers either.

It is nearly 10:30 here. Will we be getting this show on the road?

Allein Fri Dec 25 21:17:29 PST 1998

Hi all,
This was a fairly good Christmas - except that I was sick all day. I couldn't eat anything because of my sore throat, I won't be able to see Prince of Egypt tomorrow like I'd planned (I get to go to the doctor instead), and I can't speak above a whisper (so I can't call my friend and tell her that I can't go to the movies tomorrow).

I was unsuccessful in downloading ICQ before, but when I get my strength back, maybe I'll try again.

Rhoda - I hope your kids feel better soon.

Well, hope everyone had a better Christmas than I did.
Peace and Love,

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Dec 25 19:51:52 PST 1998

Rhoda: I think what you are referring to is JASC Paint Shop Pro. This is a quite useful program and retails for under a $100. I use it quite frequently. Adobe's product is Photoshop and lest you get sticker shock, this program retails for $599 and up. It is a phenomenal program, but more appropriate for someone who is actually making his living using it or can figure out a way to get it at a much reduced price such as an educational discount copy. Point of fact if you have just a couple of pictures to reduce, shoot them my way via attachments and I will use another product called Fireworks to optimize them for a smaller size. Take care everyone and Merry Christmas. Oh, and I am afraid that if in fact the 11:00 on the east coast is in fact AM, i.e., 8:00 AM here I will be blissfully asleep. Take care everyone and have fun.

Rhoda Fri Dec 25 19:39:26 PST 1998

I just downloaded ICQ. My ICQ# is 26601387.

Rhoda Fri Dec 25 16:12:46 PST 1998

Hello everyone,

I hope it was a lovely Christmas. As for me, it has been a good one, but unusual. My 10 year old daughter came down with a bad upper resperatory infection. I did manage to get her to the doctor Christmas eve. Only problem was she kept throwing up and couldn't hold down her medicine. She got worse and worse until after running a 104 degree fever I had to take her to the emergency room very early Christmas morning. We got her home and then my 8 year old son was suffering from an ear ache and was throwing up. I got no sleep at all. We let the children open the presents about 7:00 am and then while they played underneath the tree, my husband and I went back to bed and did not rise until 2:00 pm. Since half of my family cannot hold solid food, I am forced to postpone Christmas dinner until at least tomorrow. My daughter is doing much better, but I worry about my son since he won't be able to get to a doctor until Monday. If he gets really sick, I'll have to take him to the emergency room. Ah, such is life in a small town.

Still, it has been a fine day. The children are happy despite their discomforts. Everyone loved their presents. Also the weather has been quite nice.

I will try to download IQC. I have no idea what to do with it once it is loaded. My only problem is that both my husband and my sons got neat games for the computer and I can hardly get on it.

I have a question for computer and web-page experts here. How is the best way to get my scanned photographs to a decent size to display them on my web-page? I had a sample version of Adobe Paint Shop and reduced many of my photos using that. Only problem is that my sample version has run out and I am without software that will do it. I am considering buying Adobe Paint Shop. Are there better soft-ware packages under $100.00 that will do the same thing? Does anyone have any advice or guidence in this area? I posted my newest family portrait on my web page, but it is huge. I got to get something to reduce it soon or get it off of there. If anyone has any ideas, please e-mail me.

Got to go. Merry Christmas and Happy Writing,


Toby b Fri Dec 25 10:21:53 PST 1998

Merry Christmas all:

A great one this morning, my grandparents got me a 1999 Writer's Market Guide and a gold bracelet with my name on it. They know me well. As does my mother, she got me a bucket of legos. As per all our discussions on research, I can attest that I spend many hours hunched over a table building models of spacecraft, for my stories, of course, not my own plearsure :) My cats also got me a few books. (My family's way of getting me a book, they're never sure if I have read the book yet)

I would love to pop on to ICQ, but I don't have it on this computer, and there are guests coming soon, so I don't see being able to participate.

On writing as a business, I'm split in half about that. My desire is to be able to make it as a writer. I will be, it is a question of absolute determination, I refuse not to be, but the other question is that I want a part time job. I would be bored to tears if I had to spend all my time at home writing, I like to get out and do things, and I'm very entrepuenerial in spirit, it runs in the family. So realistically I will have to find something to do. I just to have to figure out what. I found one obsession, now I have to find another. It might be webpage design, or something nautical, as I'm from the Caribbean, but I'm not worried. I've come a long way by just following what I want to do, just stepping out and doing it, no reservations and nothing to fall back on. That sort of bullheaded determinism is supposed to be good for a writer, I hope so too :) it must be christmas, I'm getting introspective on everyone....

TNX for the card was the only christmas card I got this year :)

Looking forward to New Year, 1999, just think about it, what a year to be alive..,

Thomas Fri Dec 25 08:25:59 PST 1998

I managed to install ICQ. My # 26557926. Now, how do I use the program?

Thomas Fri Dec 25 07:42:01 PST 1998

If it is 11:00 on the East Coast isn't that 8:00 on the West Coast? I do hope the 11:00 refers to a.m., as in the 2400 clock.

I have tried to download ICQ three times...keeps crashing my computer.

You are correct about the money, or lack thereof, connected to writing as a profession. If I did not have a wife willing to put up with me, and to make her own decent living, I would have to go back to working for someone else. I worked for others for many years, trying to build a small writing career on the side. But I found that time and energy was sapping my creativity, so a couple of years ago my wife and I agreed that she would bear the financial burden for a while (probably a long while) so that I could give this full-time writing a good go. In that time (two years) I have completed one book, for which I am on the prowl for agent and publisher; gotten half-way through another book; got myself a few regular columns, features and sundry magazine and business writing jobs, but I still haven't come close to earning what I used to when on someone else's payroll. Yet part of being a writer, at least for me, is to not have to work for someone else.
Re: alcohol. You aren't SUPPOSED to drink alcohol, although I have not found a more pleasurable accompaniment to dinner than a good wine. And from what I understand, eggnog is supposed include rum; I neither like rum nor distilled grain spirits -- don't drink them. I do not consume much refined sugar either, so I don't drink mixed drinks of any sort as they often include some form of sugar. My taste in beverage alcohol is for grape products -- wine, brandy, sherry, port, Madeira (oh yes, Madeira) -- and an occasional cool beer. But, hey, if you don't like, don't do.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Dec 25 02:45:46 PST 1998

Make that meet on ICQ. Sometime I am really inventive with my acronyms.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Dec 25 02:44:50 PST 1998

Well, against the possibility that we will be meeting here instead of IRQ, I have archived everything between start and December 22. What surprised me is that this still left over 50 k. We have been a busy little group. Now all I have to do is figure out what 1600 GMT translates out to here on the west coast of the Pacific. Take care everyone.

Allein Lunika Thu Dec 24 21:05:56 PST 1998

I think an international chat would be great. I'd definately be there (provided my parents aren't online at the time).

I hope everyone here has a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.


Eddie French Thu Dec 24 20:04:22 PST 1998

Bowing (Graciously) to the concensus, I suggest that the Great International 'Chat' should actualy begin at 11:00 EST
on december 26.
That is for those of us east of the atlantic 16:00 GMT.
If you can download and get installed ICQ by that time then by all means use that. Otherwise we can have a delayed 'Chat' on this site.
(There are of course many different ways to accomplish a real time chat but because of the short notice we don't have the time to complete the logistics)
Feel free to join in for as long as your varied commitments allow. If you just want to log on and say no more than 'Hello' then feel free.
Please don't forget that the original reason for this venture was to give some comfort to those who have the misfortune (for whatever reason) to be alone over Christmas.
Those who have installed ICQ over the last 24 hours please post to this notebook their ICQ numbers as soon as possible so that we can add the same to our contact lists.
All that remains is for me to wish all of you wonderful people a very happy Christmas day. (it's 04:01 here and I have got the turkey on a slow oven already and boy does it smell like Christmas here!
Time for bed now... everything is just spot on for tomorrow....I think!
Happy Holidays

Lena Thu Dec 24 18:56:04 PST 1998


Hum... I just learned an intriguing fact today. Apparently my dad as this thing for mixing various alcoholic beverages into the eggnog. This year it was rum. I don't usually have eggnog except on Christmas eve, so I suppose I always assumed that eggnog was supposed to leave this rather nice taste in the back of your throat. Gee, I feel like an idiot. But I like it. I also feel like falling asleep. Thomas, why am I supposed to drink alcohol? It puts me to sleep!

Allein - Hope you feel better soon. Thanks for the outline... I'll get back to you on that soon.

James - Hum. This sounds almost eerily like subjects I have discussed with a friend of mine. You see, I hope to go into a career in computers, and she hopes to have a career as a writer. My rationale for focusing on computers as a job is exactly what several people have already said--it's where the money is. I hope to continue writing, of course, perhaps eventually get a book or two or twenty published, but that would be more of a hobby. To be frank, the idea of depending on writing as a living scares me to death. It seems so unreliable to me.

Now my friend. She is a writer through and through. She says she 'needs to write' and I believe her. She is constantly writing something, starting this story, reworking that story, occasionally (rarely) finishing a story. She can't imagine doing anything in her life besides writing and it scares her that it is so hard to make it as a writer, but she wants to do it. She is willing to work the jobs that will let her live, and not worry about the money.

I suppose you will have to decide which type you are. Me, I recommend the computers.

I just picked up a book of short stories from the library, and I feel silly because the only reason I picked it out is because I want to study the writer's technique in a short story. I want to see how they pace their stories, the amount of detail included, etc. This is almost as bad as going to the mall merely to people-watch. Arg!

Good luck on the chat. I wouldn't be able to do it, but it would be cool if we did set up some sort of chat room.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,

Thomas Thu Dec 24 17:14:05 PST 1998

You issue a challenge. The best way, I think, for me to meet the challenge is to say that film/video are visual media, and everything stems from that concept.
When you write a script for a visual medium instead of expository dialogue or thought processes you have to "show" what you mean by issuing visual (stage) directions. It is similar to, but not exactly like, writing a stage play -- the added attraction in a film/video is that you must also determine camera angles in your "stage directions", not specific but in a general way like cu (close up) or pan (glide camera in a sweeping motion), that sort of stuff. Other than that, it really is like writing a play.

I hope my story helped you feel better. I am in fact spending most of this Christmas alone. My wife is again traveling -- she will be home before midnight on Christmas day. This time, however, I am as healthy as can be, and I intend to wait up for her. In addition to the cat, the same cat, we now have a standard poodle (the large one, not those small ones). The poodle keeps me quite busy, bu would be useless should I need someone to take my temperature.

Caroline Heske Thu Dec 24 14:07:32 PST 1998

Thomas - bearing in mind that I don't know anything, the question is: What don't I know?

Allein Thu Dec 24 13:55:19 PST 1998

Thomas - okay, point proven. Maybe I'm not that bad off.

Merry Christmas,

Thomas Thu Dec 24 13:04:22 PST 1998

Make that regained faculties, not resumed.

Gee Jack, can't you include a function in this web site that would replace the stupid word I use with the one I actually mean to use? Talk to Gates at that small software company. He might have a few ideas.

Thomas Thu Dec 24 12:58:21 PST 1998

Three years ago my wife had to be away over Christmas and I was to be home alone (We have no children, both our dogs had recently died and we had a cat; to me, that's home alone.)
Anyway, I wasn't unhappy, just thought I would get some things done around the house, play a little piano (which I don't get to do often enough) and then she would be home a few days later.
After fixing Christmas Eve dinner and having some, ahem, wine, I sat at the piano. In the middle of playing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a beautiful standard, I felt a slight pain in my throat and a light sniffle. On Christmas morning I did not have the energy to get out of bed, but I did have a roaring fever. So, with no wife, no dog, no doctor ready to drive right here and take care of me -- only that damned cat wanting to be fed, I spent Christmas wishing I were dead; it seemed the only way I would feel better. Within a day or so I had resumed most of my faculties and my wife had arrived to at least throw me out of bed so that she could change the soggy sheets, and my life took a turn for the better.
Feel better?

Allein Thu Dec 24 12:52:14 PST 1998

S.K.S Perry - Thanx. Be sure to tell me what you think.

It's not fair that I get sick, but now I lose my voice too. And I'm a constant talker. Oh the humanity. But, I can still write. I'm going to work on my story today. Although, lying on the couch wrapped in a warm blanket, drinking tea and watching television sure sounds tempting too. :)

Happy Holidays, all.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Dec 24 11:55:10 PST 1998

Hi all,

Thomas, about the alcohol thing-it's pretty much anything with alcohol in it: candy, cough syrup, sauces, ect. I'm really sensitive to it too. A drop or two in a glass or orange juice and I KNOW it's there.

Julia, if you have trouble finishing a novel because new ideas keep cropping up, why not try and incorporate some of them into the book as sub-plots or something. It works for me, and sometimes adds more depth to your work.

Allein, hope you're feeling better. I promise I'll give some of your stuff a read over the holidays. Does that help?

James, I'd say go with the computer career. As Thomas said, it's hard to make a living writing, and most of the things you need to learn to be a good writer you're not going to learn in college anyway. Once you've got the grammar and spelling down, the rest is developing your own style, voice, and imagination. You can always write as a sideline, and if it takes off then you're all set, but the mystique of being a starving writer isn't all it's cracked up to be. If you're really committed to writing, you'll find a way to do both.

Be Well, Live Well.

Allein Thu Dec 24 08:45:18 PST 1998

They were giving out free flu shots at the clinic here in November. Mom thought my brother and I should go. But did I listen - of course not. I haven't been sick in a while. And now I'm sick on Christmas Eve (and probably will be on Christmas too). :( Maybe it's a punishment for not listening to Mom. Remember, always listen to your parents. Even if you think they're wrong and you know everything, they're usually right, so listen and do as they say.

On the brighter side of things, it looks like we got about two inches of snow outside and it's still snowing. Unfortunately, the one time it snows I can't go outside to enjoy it. And it's supposed to rain tonight so there goes my white Christmas if it does. :(

Well, at least this gives me time to write more to my story. :)

Happy Holidays everyone.

Thomas Thu Dec 24 07:27:45 PST 1998

Some of the Lords (read, Editors) have at least given me my SASE's back for Christmas; some, I guess, think they are my little gifts to them.
Are we going to need the ICQ if we do this thing on Christmas, and if we do it, have we a time yet?

Most people will likely believe you when they see their computer "thinking" on their screen -- I mean, those nerds can do anything these days!

Seems what has been said is mostly right on. I say, find a way to study both. The web site writing is a good idea, if only that a lot of it is pretty bad and it needs more quality writing. As for the "money" question: unless one of us in thsi group is sporting a name like Updike, King or Heinlein, I think we all agree: the money ain't in writing. The question is, however, where is the contentment?

Re: movie scripts. I have experience with script writing for industrial film and video, not much different than feature film scripting. What's your question?

Credit Union! I wrote a little thing in my Sunday column about the banks in NYState trying to prevent Credit Unions from expanding their mandate. (I am a member of the Steuben Educators Union -- couldn't get half the loans I got if it were a bank.) Got a nice letter from someone in Albany who represents credit unions. I was amazed more by the fact that I write for the Elmira Star-Gazette, and the lady read the piece in Albany. She says they have a clipping service.
Anyway, do not scare me with stories of credit union records being lost -- please. I hate computers too.

Michele Thu Dec 24 04:08:04 PST 1998

Hi all,

Eddie - Re: Boxing day. It still is the festival of St Stephen actually - there's no past tense involved. Originally the lords of the manor used to give their servants a "Christmas box" - ie. a gift (usually money) on Dec. 26 - which is where the name came from. In more recent times people used to give gifts to people such as the mail person, refuse collectors, etc, etc. on Dec. 26 that were also known as a Christmas box, but nowadays if those people get given gifts or tips they tend to get them before Christmas not after.

James - Re: the Programming/Writing dilemma. I am a trained programmer but I've always been a writer. I have now given up the programming career to do a degree in hopes of pursuing the writing as a career, but I continue to write web pages (thus combining programming and writing !) and I have every intention of keeping my programming skills up together so that if the worst happens I can go back to the programming. I guess my advice is go where your heart lies (as I have done) - have faith in yourself and courage to pursue your dreams. Hope that helps !

So what's happening tomorrow then ? Are we all getting together online ?


Caroline Heske Wed Dec 23 23:29:08 PST 1998

Frank - actually (for the record), they make soap from lard and caustic soda, get a large wooden tub, haul water up from the dam in buckets (cold), put the clothes in and pound them with a wooden stick for perhaps half an hour. Then rinse them it a little more cold water and hang them up on washing lines...

A friend of mine just emailed me this idea she had for a movie-script - a sort of arthouse movie about these students going to a poetry festival, a comedy - and asked me if I wanted to write it with her. Real-life type stuff isn't really my scene, so I suggested she do the 'students' bit, and I'll create trippy little asides to slot in. Hey, we might even get it written! Does anyone here know anything about writing movie scripts?

Erannon's progressing slowly but steadily - two or three more pages crawled into the computer today.

Yeah, and getting online together would be a great idea - but like SKS said, it means some people will be staying up to odd hours.

Howard Wed Dec 23 22:14:03 PST 1998

It's 1AM, and the credit union is safe again. They fixed everything over the phone (not as quickly as they broke it) from California. I hate computers!
James -- you can combine your two favorite things by concentrating on web page design, and *that's* where the money is these days, or so they say. There are several colleges offering degrees "geared toward producing 'Webmasters'" (from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education 14 Mar 97)
Indiana University offers a Masters degree in information science, which includes organizational psych, library science, graphic design, marketing, and business, along with enough programming and computer theory to tie them all together into a saleable package. Other schools, like John Brown University offer BA degrees, and it's trickling down into the junior and community colleges as well. There's still some big $ to be had in web site design, and it's not only in the big corporations. Check it out! Me? I've had enough bits and bytes! I'm going back to something less nerve-wracking -- like hauling nitroglygerine over the road.
howard :-)

Julia Wed Dec 23 21:46:08 PST 1998

Thanx to all that responded to the question I posted earlier. I'm quite happy to see that there are quite a few people here who enjoy writing sci-fi and fantasy. They're my favourites, too.

Thomas - Reading the archives, eh? Maybe I will. Well, if I have more time soon, that is. Too much Christmas stuff...

Angel - I agree with your view of fantasy. Being able to create worlds, etc. can be very exhilerating.

S.K.S. - Actually finishing a novel still seems impossible to me. The problem is that I come up with new ideas and start writing new things all the time, which hinders me in actually finishing something. Well, at least I have a lot to choose from...

S.N. Arly - I do see the difference between sf and fantasy but I'm interested in hearing what you consider the crucial differences in the two genres. I'm not sure that "lump" is really bad, because sometime when I write I find myself wanting to combine the two...

Eddie - a weird imagination is probably the best. It doesn't set any boundaries.

James - Actually, what you've written does sound kind of familiar. Someone I met just a little while ago used to be in computer programming but he said something about it not satisfying him enough so he switched to full-time writing. Truly, I can't tell you what to do because the decision is yours, not mine. Still, good luck!

Happy Holidays, everyone!


James Janicek Wed Dec 23 20:25:11 PST 1998

Sorry, my head was in the clouds. The correct email address is

James Janicek Wed Dec 23 20:24:00 PST 1998

Hello everyone. I'm new here and wanted to open up. I have a serious question that I'm hoping you all might be able to give me some advice on. I'm going to be starting college this spring (at a community college). I'm faced with the decision of earning my Associates in Liberal Arts (with an emphasis on writing) or Computer Programming. I enjoy writing very much, but am not certain if I want to make it my career. Computer Programming is a fall back option, it's where the moneys at. Anyway, for everyone who has faced this situation before or just has some friendly advice, please drop me a line. I would appreciate it.

Howard Wed Dec 23 20:01:46 PST 1998

Hi! It's 11PM here in upstate New York, and it's been a loooong day! Was on my way home from work and got paged back in to find that someone in California did a booboo, and wiped out our whole live credit union database here in NY. Ain't technology wonderful! So I'm back in here, waiting for them to restore it. Maybe another 2-3 hours if I'm lucky.
Anyhow, I finally remembered that fantasy series that I've been wanting to re-read. It's the "Myth" series by Robert Lynne Asprin. I think the first one is "Another Fine Myth," followed by "Mythnomers and Impervections" (or something like that), and a few more besides. Asprin is a genius! The books are great fun, and I'd recommend them to anyone.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Dec 23 19:03:46 PST 1998

     WOW!!!! My but this has been a busy location. Good luck with the chat, I am absolutely swamped between finishing up some web pages and getting ready to hopefully have a Christmas Eve dinner for Fran and I and guests. However, the weather report is sending out tales of gloom and doom and 3-4 inches of snow here in Seattle, so I suspect it will just be Fran, myself and my mother in law. Oh, well. On online chats between us, I have tried getting something started a couple of times over the last couple of years. I applaud those who might try to make it work. Let me know via email and I will try to archive things here so the load time will be a little faster. We are already up over a 100k, but I do not want to archive quite yet.

     In my new redesign of both and Writers Notebook, I will be looking at some possibility for free chat rooms that we might employ on an occasional basis. My ICQ number is 18375053. I have to say that I am a little dubious about getting together on Christmas, but I will at least try to look in. This is hoping happy holidays to all and promises/crossed fingers about interesting new changes for the new year both here, and on the Writers Workbook. I just wish I had one of those watches that would stop time for everybody else and I could just catch up on my sleep, do all the projects I do not have time for and then click back to real time when I have gotten caught up. I know. I know. I would probably drop and break the watch and be trapped in the moment forever ;-) Have many happies.

Francois Wed Dec 23 18:52:20 PST 1998

Zounds! You people sure write a lot, I just left for a day figuring this for a quiet message board. . .

Thanks for the advice everyone. I haven't gone to the mall but i have been diligently making up life histories for the people on the bus!

Caroline - I see what you mean, I guess the research involved in making a fantasy novel is equal to that required for a SF novel. Still, overusing the technical gadgetry makes for characters that just don't do things we can relate to like washing their clothes. So it's not all that easy to just use "all the technological wonders in the universe"
By the way, how do your characters wash their clothes?

Talking about research, I just picked up a book on neural networks yesterday and it's given me a lot of story ideas.
Not to mention I'll probably wind up making some esoteric little program on my computer with pixels lighting up on the screen corresponding to neurons and tell people.
"Look, it's thinking!"


Eddie French Wed Dec 23 18:16:40 PST 1998

Could be,But many Lords have given you anything lately?

Eddie French Wed Dec 23 18:13:48 PST 1998

Consider it rubbed in!

Thomas Wed Dec 23 17:18:22 PST 1998

Annoyance! Not me. Just gentle kidding, which again gets me into trouble in this effective yet inefficient medium. My trouble with reading, or writing, fantasy and sci/fi is that I have this terribly serious nature and I get restless when I know what I am reading is for fun only -- I am forever seeking knowledge. I also haven't a head for science.
But then, in a way, all writing is fantasy, execpt of course journalism. What am I talking about? Journalism is likely the highest form of fantasy.

I thought Boxing Day was when the lords of the manor gave gifts to the servants, or the servants got what the lords didn't want, or some such thing. Those are of course different lords than the one to whom this holiday refers.
As for ICQ, I will seek them and hope to have it downloaded by Christmas, if we are going ahead with your mad, mad, mad idea.
Yeah, I knew that. I just wanted to rub that sunshine thing in a little -- crummy sense of humor, what!

I am allergic to certain foods and particles, I steer clear of them. I am glad, though, that one of them isn't wine. Love the way it marries with solid food, love the nutrients and trace minerals in it, love the way it helps keep my cholesterol in check, and hey, love how it quiets me after a day of dealing with editors and those marvelously badly-written rejections.
Do you have the same reaction to the alcohol in food extracts or cough syrup and other medicines?

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 23 15:12:31 PST 1998

Interesting...I'm another one here who can't stand the taste of alcohol. It makes me want to puke from the very first sip. It doesn't matter what it's in either--beer, wine, liquors, anything--it's the base alcohol that turns my stomache. I can feel it sitting there like mercury. Maybe I'm allergic to it.

And I thought all writers were supposed to be alcoholic manic depressives!

Be Well, Live Well.

Eddie French Wed Dec 23 14:35:02 PST 1998

ICQ is a small program which you can download from
Basically it is a contact program. Once you have installed it you can create your own contact groups and keep in touch with the people in it.
The program will tell you (literally) which of your group are online when you are!. Even if tne others are not online at the same time as you then you can send :

Internet addresses
Multiple (group) messages
And much much more.

ICQ is an acronym for 'I Seek You' and was written in Israel by a small software group a few years ago. Needless to say, after ICQ they are no longer a small company.

If members of your group are online at the same time as you are then you may request direct 'Chat'. Any number of people can chat at the same time. The chat window comes up within the dedicated enviroment and can be customised to suit the user. I.E. IRC style or Direct type-in.
Overall it really is a very useful and clever program. (I wish I had thought of it!)
Anybody who wants to download and install it just go to mirabilis and follow the prompts.

I know that you were talking about the true light as opposed to 'man made time'. That's that scouse sense of humour getting in the way again. (I was pouting)

Boxing day....The day after Christmas. (Don't ask) It can be complicated due to the bank holiday system in this country. But generaly it is celebrated the day after christmas. It is a second chance for family members to get together for dinner if they can't make christmas day because they are providing dinner for more immediate family or helping children 'open' Christmas presents.
Although I am not a religious person (which means I could be wrong here!) I think Boxing Day is the original feast of St. Steven.

I have no idea why this notebook has so many SF/F writers on board but if my path to this group is typical then it is because it is predominately linked to from sites of that genre. Yes, I do write Sci-fi and Fantasy. I do it because I love to. (And I have a wierd imagination.)
Lots to chat about but this is getting long so...

S.N.Arly Wed Dec 23 14:00:49 PST 1998

Wow! A lot has happened since yesterday.

SKS - That driving in snow thing. I call it seasonal forgetfullness. We have it here too. I like to take my car out to an empty parking lot and play for a while to regain my snow and ice driving skills after the first snow.

Goodweed - When I say moral police I usually mean the ones who are trying to convert me to thier beliefs or ethics system. Being the freakish athiest liberal artist that I am, I run into this far too often. I welcome different frames of mind, but if I'm polite enough not to push my ideas on others, then it seems a fair way to behave in return. That's all.

My spouse doesn't drink, either. Can't stand alcohol. Works well when we need a designated driver.

Hayden - France is close to Germany and I could be your... uh... attache on German affairs! Yah, that's it. OK, so I can't speak French to save my sorry life. But I can say, "Where is my fat little butter ball?" in Spanish.

Eddie - Want to design Africa this time... or was that South America? No fjords at all, dang.

Thomas - Subvert? Do I detect a tone of annoyance that there are so many of us here that write SF and or F? There are romance writers among us. And horror and fiction. We're open to nearly anything, as we all face so many of the same issues.

Julia - I write both science fiction and fantasy. I do find it interresting that those two distinctly separate genres get lumped together so much. I know, bookstores probalby started it, but they're often completely different. Then again, there are a lot of people unfamilair with either who think they're the same.

As Thomas recommended, you may want to peek at the most recently archived stuff as we've recently had quite a few discussions on this.

Anyone ever heard of the book For Writers Only? My boss gave it to me as a Christmas present today, though I have yet to really give it a good once over. I just thought it a very neat coincidence that it shares a name with this site. I'll let you know if it's any good.


Allein Wed Dec 23 12:35:13 PST 1998

I'd also like us all to talk online. But, would it be a chat room or on ICQ? I don't have ICQ and last time I tried to get it, something went wrong.


S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 23 11:06:53 PST 1998

Hey all,

I think trying to get everyone on line is a great idea, though Thomas may be right in saying that it may be tricky trying to do it on christmas. I'm game for whenever it gets set up though. As for the time difference, I could care less. Pick a time and I'll be there. (I once talked to Caroline from midnight until 6 in the morning because she's roughtly about 15 hours ahead of me and it's the only time we could swing it!)

Julia, I consider myself a SF writer. I've written one novel (a space opera) that's kind of on hold right now until I can come up with a decent plan of attack for getting it published. I've also written several short stories, though some may be considered more fantasy, or even horror. My true first love however, is SF.

Rhoda, Toronton is a great city for conventions--heck, it's just a great city. It may not be as large as most of your American cities, but it's very clean and has everything to offer that a city should--movies, theater, ballet, museums, music of all kinds, a great night life, tons of shopping, and a fun water front. Also, fall is usually when they hold the festival of lights, which is where countries from all over the world compete in fireworks displays set to music. If you're definately coming, drop me a line. I only live a little over an hour from Toronto.

And by the way, if you, Hayden and Thomas are going to set up a villa in the south of France, you're going to need security. I was a body guard for a few years before joining the military, and have worked covert ops behind enemy lines. (hint, hint!!)

Be Well, Live Well.

Allein Wed Dec 23 10:15:22 PST 1998


Thomas - There are no rocks around here big enough to sit on. :) No, but seriously, I guess I do think, sometimes. But being a teenager, I sometimes get a little absent-minded and even crazy. Ask any of my friends.

Happy Holidays. :)

Angel Wed Dec 23 10:06:00 PST 1998

Greetings to all!
I only get to borrow a computer once a week or so (from the local library) to 1)check for new e-mail (hahahaha) and
2)see what's new at this site. It took me almost an hour to go through the postings since the last time I was able to check in. That done, I'd like to, perhaps posthumously, reflect on the why SF/F? theme, answering Julia's query at the same time. I write fantasy, have since I was 8 and wrote a short story about talking horses (well, I was 8, okay!!). I also wrote a romance novel when I was maybe 17 or so, almost on a dare, because a friend said *I* couldn't write something as trashy as the stuff she read. Well, I did. What I love most about fantasy, though is being able to recreate the universe the way I want it to be, different sorts of creatures, different modes of civilization, different roles for people (maybe less stereotypical). There may be whole new conflicts that can arise from this influx of differentness, new ways for characters to look at the world and their places in it. Fantasy allows me to be more creative, personally, than any other type of fiction. It isn't really easier, though, because some things, like castle construction or sword routines do have bases in reality that must be considered.
Ah, well, I've bathered on enough. When I get enough time set aside at the library, I'll put the beginning of my "Jharad" novel on the workbook. Thanks for listening.

Have fun storming the castle!!!


Thomas Wed Dec 23 10:05:33 PST 1998

Obviously you were posting at the same time I was posting. You got me again: recluse that I am, and relative anti-technocrat, I haven't a clue what ICQ is. I probably know it by some non-technical name.
As for Daylight in May, I was referring to the real thing -- the sun -- not the clock. I have been in Northern Europe in winter -- Amsterdam, Munich, Florence, Lusanne, Milan, Paris and London, in that order. In fact, I was in London over Christmas (except for St. Martins Church, I could find nothing to do). Anyway, it was dark.

Thomas Wed Dec 23 09:55:46 PST 1998

Are you kidding? You must go to the archives and read the stuff this site is made of. Of course, I am the Lone Ranger on this subject, I think.

I could not find the reference you made to Hayden and the trip to France, but it sounds great to me. I am partial to Italy, however; any chance of changing plans?

Rhoda and Eddie,
Re: Christmas and time zones. Once again, I am the odd man out. I do not use Windows (on both principal and a love for the graphics technology introduced by Mac). My wife is a graphic artist, she has to be brought kicking and screaming to use Microsoft PC graphics, and I agree with her. Anyway, won't a zillion or more people be clogging online that day, especially the ones who want to try out their new software presents? Or are we betting that they will all be frying their brains on computer games instead and the airwave (digital waves!) will be free of them?
Perhaps we could do this on Boxing Day. We are all servants (of words). Eddie, you might have to clue some people over here on the custom of Boxing Day.
Whatever, I shall locate my time zone program on this so-called powerful Mac system to determine when everyone of you will be where you are on Christmas.

I do not believe you. Your postings make me believe you are a thinker. I have this image of you sitting on a rock with your head in your hands -- well, hand, the other is on the keyboard.

Eddie French Wed Dec 23 09:45:47 PST 1998

I wish that I had thought of this earlier. We could have set up something really useful!
I am hoping to get on at around 16:00 GMT and stay on for an hour.
I will try to pop in as the night wears on too.
How many of us have ICQ?
My ICQ# 1740708 Now that would be useful!
How about a mass chat? (though I do realise that it would take some setting up and some would have to stay up late)
BTW Daylight starts in March.

Allein Wed Dec 23 09:38:06 PST 1998

Thomas - not thinking for me is no problem. ;)


Rhoda Wed Dec 23 09:01:17 PST 1998

I am not as computer saavy as some. I was wrong. To check times click MY COMPUTER and the DATE/TIME. Go to the little window and pull out the time zones. Eddie should be on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Find your time zone and it should tell you how many hours you are off GMT. I am on Central Standard and supposedly six hours behind GMT. So as it is 11:00 am here, it should currently be 5:00 pm in the UK. Am I correct?

Julia Wed Dec 23 08:48:42 PST 1998

Just wondering:
Who here writes sf/f?


Rhoda Wed Dec 23 08:48:10 PST 1998


A condo in the south of France? Why settle for a condo? I think we can manage a chateux. Hiring the servants to watch over the thing while you spend your working time in Australia might be a little tricky. Perhaps we could arrange some time-share deal where all your friends from the Notebook could house-sit for you. Meanwhile I shall brush up on my French. By the way, I personally would not go without Thomas. He would come in handy choosing your French wines and in interviewing perspective chefs for your staff.

I saw YOU GOT MAIL last night. My children and husband were in the cinema next door watching THE RUG RATS MOVIE. YOU GOT MAIL was a fun movie, and I highly recommend it. I hope I get to see INSURRECTION, but the Perryton theatre has no immediate plans to show it. If I can't see it in Perryton, I have to drive 50 miles to Liberal or 120 miles to Amarillo.

The Romantic Times conference is going to be held fall 1999 in Toronto. I hope I can go. Could S.K.S. or any other Canadians here tell me about this city? Is this a good place for a conference?


The idea of an after-lunch chat on Christmas sounds good to me. I'll tune in throughout the day for updates. Why don't you let us know what time you plan to be on. Doesn't Britain have just one time zone? If so then all of us with Windows can check our corresponding times on our computer. I think that as intelligent people with some computer saavy we can all pull up the little map under accessories and make the conversion ourselves. Just give us the time, Eddie.

Happy writing all!


Thomas Wed Dec 23 06:59:19 PST 1998

To all,
Perhaps you will one day get me to dig into fantasy and sci-fi, or maybe I shall have my autobiography friends subvert this site.

Great idea. It will take some doing, what with the U.S. in a few time zones plus Daylight Savings Time, and those Down Under who are on the opposite side of the clock from us, and you guys in northern Europe who have no daylight until May. Do you volunteer to assign us the time to get online? How about Jack? He has been slacking off on those Discussion Topic things, this could be his punishment.

...suffering the slings and arrows of your words about wine. Perhaps you had the wrong wine with the meal! Some wines are not suited to certain foods, and the other way round. For instance, acidic wines are good with fatty foods; flabby, fat wines are not. Maybe you need to taste an American wine instead of Australian!
And I thought I was making a convert outta yah...

You sound better, and after opening your presents will likely sound even better than that. Try not to think too much; it does not become a writer. (I'll hear it from the rest on that one.)

Michele Wed Dec 23 00:54:28 PST 1998

Hello all,

SNARLY: In answer to your question - no I haven't seen Insurrection yet ! It doesn't open in the UK until 1/1/99 - *sob* - I've got to wait another 8 days yet !

Lena: Reaper Man is quite good but I personally think Soul Music is better (it takes the Reaper Man story line further although you don't need to have read RM to enjoy SM). RM was a fairly early one and he's definitely got better over time. Maskerade is another good one if you're interested in persevering.

Caroline: Hmm - perhaps Terry Pratchett was having an off day (same as anyone else). . . I'm given to understand that book signings can be exhausting. Pity though.

Hayden: The Porsche is doing fine thanks ! I've been tearing around the neighbourhood terrorising the cats ! :-) (Don't tell anyone I can't drive, huh ?)

I knew someone out there would have read Terry Pratchett. I want to see Prince of Egypt too, but I have so much college work to do over the vacation I am NOT going to have time to go see that as well as Insurrection . . . *sigh* ! so much to do, so little time to do it in !

Happy Holidays once again . . .

Michele (please note Spelling !)

PS Eddie - what time after Christmas lunch ?

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