Archived Messages from January 9, 1999 to January 18, 1999

Caroline Heske Mon Jan 18 21:08:57 PST 1999

Avatar! That story is too cool... and may I spend the rest of my life chopping onions if I lie.

Jai Mon Jan 18 20:47:41 PST 1999

Hey all,

Just finished reading (almost) all the short stories in the writers workbook and giving feedback. Found it gave me some great ideas on improving my own feeble attempt at story writing.

Pat L - SASE = Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. ( I emailed him too but thought I better put it here so everyone didn't email him :) )

Lena - you love programming, great stuff, a girl ( you are a girl right ) who loves programming, well thats a first for me. All males in my job, infact it was only at uni that I met a very few girls who where doing IT, the industry could use a little more estrigon. It may even change our office from a silent crypt, in which the random tap of keys is the only sound for days on end, into, I don't know exactly but something better. Anyway enough rambling.

Howard - congrats. Keep up the good work :)

Jai Shaw

Pat L Mon Jan 18 20:25:10 PST 1999

This is not really a message. It's more of a query. What is an SASE (for publishing purposes)? Sounds very familiar to me but cannot place. Need clarification. If someone could drop me a quick e-mail I would appreciate it.

Rhoda Mon Jan 18 19:27:19 PST 1999


Congratulations on selling another short story! You are a great encouragement to me.

Happy writing!


howard Mon Jan 18 17:54:24 PST 1999

If y'all would like to see an acquaintance of mine who hit the big time, check the website for Cliff Pickover's page. He's one awesome dude! He's published an average of a book a year over the past several years (including one with Piers Anthony)-- and he looks and talks like a Real Person! I've talked with him a few times, and even submitted a couple of invention disclosures with him. The website is IMPRESSIVE! Lots of good ideas and encouragement for Science Fiction stories. Careful, though -- he likes to make people THINK.
Good news! I just had another short story accepted! Same E-zine, Steve -- Annie-Down-the-Street this time, in the February issue. Don't give up hope! If I can do it, ANYONE can do it!

S.K.S. Perry Mon Jan 18 13:58:42 PST 1999


I'll have to see if I can find what I sent you. If not, I'll just do it over again (sigh). Maybe you should check your E-mail address and make sure it's correct. I used the one from the Notebook.

Be Well, Live Well.

S.K.S. Perry Mon Jan 18 13:58:05 PST 1999


I'll have to see if I can find what I sent you. If not, I'll just do it over again (sigh). Maybe you should check your E-mail address and make sure it's correct. I used the one from the Notebook.

Be Well, Live Well.

Lena Mon Jan 18 13:53:44 PST 1999

Allein - I'm so sorry about the outline, I haven't gotten around to looking at it yet. Give me a few more days, and if you still haven't gotten anything you have my permission to do something really NASTY to me. Just as long as it isn't too nasty. :-)

I read The Scarlet Letter for my history class this semester, and I was surprised how much I liked it. Some of the description in there is fabulous, and the story itself was interesting and surprisingly modern. Some nice writing.

SN Arly - Don't DO that! I am really scared about a decision on my part to take Liberal Arts, and jokes are my stupid way of trying to act like I know what I'm doing. Truth is, I have no clue how this is going to go, and I am extremely serious when I say my parents will _not_ like it if I decide to go to a Liberal Arts college. I realize this is the classic example of 'striking out on your own and following your dream,' but it sure ain't classic when it happens to you. I have always been the perfect little daughter and somewhere along the way it became a habit.

The funny thing is, I really love programming. Working through a program, finding the bugs, making it work... to me, it's exilerating. The same thing with math - finding the answer to a tricky calc problem or figuring out why you can manipulate the equation this or that way... I have been told I have too many interests and I am lucky because I am intelligent enough to actually have a career in anything I am interested in. If I could, I would be in college forever.

And don't even get me started on how I love writing... or reading... or foreign languages... or history... or music... or theater... or the sciences... there is so much in this world I would love to become an expert in, and not enough time.

SN Arly, I apologize. It's just me and my bloody well confused self. Sorry.


Thomas Mon Jan 18 09:01:35 PST 1999


I agree with what you say about the use of big words. Just yesterday some guy writing in the NY Times used the word lapidary (twice in one sentence) and I swear his context with that word was confusing.

I also dislike the use of foreign words, especially when they are spelt wrong or used incorrectly.

Another pet peeve of mine is when meanings of words are skewed; two of my favorites in this camp are: infamous and notorious. The former refers to one who is abominable or evil (Latin: infamis), but is often used to mean famous; the latter used to mean unfavorably well-known (as in criminal) but is now being used to mean well-known.

Oh, yes, I hate Netscape too. Incidentally, I just lost my external hard drive, which I used as storage. Can't get to last year's files.

Anyway, to all who are interested. I have taken seriously some of the agent-editor criticisms and must agree with a few of them. I am once again reworking my book. If this doesn't work, I shall print it out seventy times and burn the pile in front of the nearest publisher's office.

S.N.Arly Mon Jan 18 08:37:17 PST 1999


Sorry, had to get that out of my system before I spontaneously combust. My brother and I did a total software reload yesterday 9very much overdue) and there were a few quirks. I only had disks for a very old java unfriendly version of netscape, so we loaded netscape communicator, and it really rots. I have yet to check all my applications to see how they perform, but I do know my new WP works. Hoorrah!

Lena - It wasn't the joke, it was your other commentary and the joke didn't help. And on having to pay for your own college, oh my goodness how strange. That's what I did. If it weren't for GLHEC I don't know what I'd have done, and it'll be a while before I pay it off.

Goodweed - Naaah, I bet you're just trying to make those people feel stupid. : )

What I really hate is when people try to use a word and they have no idea what it means. I occasionally do some rewriting and editing for my co-workers on personal stuff. There was one letter a coworker was writing to her lawyer and I had no idea what she was really trying to say. She'd dumped in all these big words that made no sense along with the other big words. When I have it back I still wasn't sure if it made sense, as she was so insistent on keeping some of that crap in there.

"My uncle's a professor."
"Really? What does he profess?"


Michele Mon Jan 18 07:08:42 PST 1999

All this talk of editors cutting up one's prose makes me smile - I hate editing my own work - insofar as shortening too lengthy essays - because I find myself thinking "That's my immortal prose !" - except of course it isn't immortal - and if I don't like me cutting my children's digits and limbs off, what am I going to be like when a paid editor gets their mitts on it ?? It isn't easy giving up your baby's bits for anyone's editing pen - yours or someone else's !

Talking of essays . . . I need to type up an English poetry critical analysis (which is why I turned the computer on in the first place !!) . . . so I will leave you there . . .


Allein Sun Jan 17 21:01:57 PST 1999

I finally got into the notebook! AOL has been being retarded all day. Everytime I tried to get into the notebook, it wouldn't connect.

SKS - I never got the e-mail you sent. Perhaps you should send another one.

Lena - I never got an e-mail (that you said you'd send) from you on the outline I sent of my story.

Well all, I'm gonna get some sleep. I have an essay to write for English that I have to do tomorrow. It's on the Scarlet Letter (which isn't a bad book for me to read considering how much adultery there is in my story).
Well, toodles.

Jai Sun Jan 17 18:34:37 PST 1999

Shrigrag it! No one's touching my story when it's finished! I'm sure you all felt the same about your first novels. Must be very very hard to let someone mess with your baby, I applaud you all your tolerance. I suppose you have to be in a philosophical mood when you agree to somthing like that.
Do you keep your peices of passion ( be it love, hate, rage or sadness ) for use in your stories when such a strong emotion is needed. I definatly find it hard to write about such things unless I am so inspired.

I should write out all my poetry of teenage hood for future referance, then it may even be readable, some of my earlier hand writing is almost cryptic in form.

Lena - I'm a computer nerd ( programmer ) but managed to score a job without going to UNI, I tought myself in high school. Just make sure you enjoy it, I got into it cause I found in interesting and was good at it, but it's beginning to wear on me now. Slowly grinding away my zest for life, becoming zombie, can't wrrittee.....

Jai ( bit moody today, must be PMOFT ( Pre-meeting old friend tension ))


S.K.S. Perry Sun Jan 17 18:01:42 PST 1999


Just because a few people decide to stop reading from established sources does not take power away from those who make the decisions as to what is published and what is not. Remember, there is an equivalent power structure that controls every facet of information dissemination--whether print, radio, Television or Movies. The system that decides what we have access to and in what format is pyramidal, with few at the top and the many at the bottom, and the only way to get around it is by using the so called alternate sources. Unfortunately, for most people that's just too much bother, so I guess we get what we deserve.

Be Well, Live Well.

Jai Shaw Sun Jan 17 14:35:03 PST 1999

Ugg... My body seems to have decided to ween me off sleep, every night I have slept for half an hour less than the night before, I'm down to 5 1/2 hours.. At least I got some writing done today when I woke up a 3:30am but I'm starting to feel a little vague now I'm at work.

Welcome those of you who are new ( including the ones who haven't posted yet ).

Loved the food fight Avatar.

Ugg. I'm sure I have some to say in here somewhere but...


Thomas Sun Jan 17 13:25:22 PST 1999

SKS and Rhoda,

I am coming around to the opinion that self-publishing is the best alternative for non-formula, or what the agents call "concept" books. Concept is a great word; it illuminates how locked in these people are to formulas. Concept literally means to an agent, "it doesn't fit in my pre-ordained scheme."

Anyway, having said what I said about self publishing, it has two serious drawbacks: money and risk. It takes money to do it and it takes the risk of assuming you can market the book. I am stuck in the money rut -- I know I can market the book, and I would add marketing routes that publishers normally do not explore, but I am not so sure where the money to publish will come from.

There are a few online publishing operations who charge no fees and claim to pay royalties on whatever they sell. I suppose that is a reasonable arrangement, but it is damned difficult for me to go into financial arrangements with vapor; I mean, who am I dealing with online? I got financially burned by a close friend once, imagine what I could get from a digital unknown!

This subject is a dilemma, to be sure, and it happens to be one that these past few days has gotten me to feeling down. I even entertained thoughts of looking for a full time job, which for me would be like hanging from rafters by my eyelashes.

Rhoda Sun Jan 17 12:20:56 PST 1999

I am waiting with baited breath for the commencement of our on-line discussions. Give me the date. I'll be ready.

The publishing industry is rapidly changing, and I believe that the old guard of agents and editors don't know how to interpret what is happening, so they are now overly cautious. This is not a good time to push inovative ideas into the industry.

I believe that there are some unhappy readers out there. Books are more expensive than ever, yet many readers I've talked too are increasingly disatisfied with the books they buy. Despite what S.K.S. said about readers only being able to read what the editors provide, I must respectfully disagree. Many disatisfied readers will just stop buying books, or they will find an alternative.

If there is a demand for an alternative source of books, someone will provide it in time. The Internet is a possibility. I don't think its time has yet come, but I don't think the day is too far off. If this alternative does come available, I don't think the current publishing establishment will corrupt it. Eventually the big publishing houses will feel compelled to compete, and every one will benefit. In the meantime, we writers need to keep writing and perfecting our craft and not give up.

I would suggest visiting the Neighborhood Press web site. They are certainly an alternative publishing house. They are found at: They pay only on a royalty basis. There is a copy of their standard contract on-line also. Looking at the contract, I don't see the opportuinity for making a lot of money, but if I read it correctly, you put none of your money into the deal and you do come away with a publishing credit. On the other hand, you could contract your book with a regular publishing house, have to do all the promotion yourself, and only have your book on store shelves for four weeks. I am not so sure that a place like Neighborhood Press looks so bad by comparison. I don't know how many publishers like this are around, but in the current market, I think we should look at them quite carefully.

Happy Writing!


S.K.S. Perry Sun Jan 17 11:24:05 PST 1999


I can't agree more with your statement about the "formula" agents and editors try to impose on writers. How can the artform of writing evolve, how can a writer write something new or avant guarde, if the only works that are published fit into the strict criteria imposed on us by the people who sell the stuff. I was going to say buy the stuff, but it occured to me that it's really the public who buy the stuff, and they can only buy what is presented to them--another argument for the fact that those in control of the media have too much power over what we see, hear, read, and ultimately, believe.

Maybe the only way new ideas, structure and techniques can evolve are through self-publication, or in the smaller markets such as E-zines. Rest assured that if something new does catch on, publishers will be pigeon hole that too.

Maybe there's another topic in this mess for you Jack.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Sun Jan 17 11:21:51 PST 1999

For the sake of accuracy, I believe I meant F. Scott Fitzgerald's ms showed poor spelling. But then, with this scrambled head, it could have been Shakespeare or Milton!!!

Thomas Sun Jan 17 09:27:01 PST 1999


You are so right. Let me share what I think on the matter of editors and such.

Having been a business writer and columnist for a while I know that whatever I write is up for grabs by some well-meaning (sometimes not) editor who has "a better way". I have resigned myself to the fact that my words are not "engraved in stone". But with book writing the matter changes drastically.

At first, I thought the idea behind a book was the author's voice speaking. But after receiving so many conflicting responses from agents and editors about my book I am baffled as to whose voice these people want to read. It seems each has a sure-fire way to sell a book, and each way is different. Each also has a different set of outlooks, syntax structure, and on and on...

I once saw a handwritten ms of William Faulkner. The man could not spell. But it seems his agent and editor saw the talent behind the flaw and not only encouraged him, they worked with him. Agents and editors in the present publishing world are no longer interested in working with talent, or should I say working. They want a formula, polished and ready to sell to Random House or Knopf or whoever. Of course, the polish and formula must meet their criteria, which does not come the author's way until after the book is written and submitted for consideration. I have received so many saccharine responses that say I have a good idea, good writing skills and good credentials, however, my structure isn't right for them to believe they could sell the book or it needs editing -- end of story.

It is not a pretty picture, and one has to wonder why one gets hooked into trying to have a book published. But as I was telling my wife this morning, the only time I feel whole is when I write. Selling the stuff makes me feel useful too.

Eddie French Sat Jan 16 11:51:13 PST 1999

You are so right. A few years ago I was working full time for a large Construction Company here in the UK. My position was 'Contract Co-Ordinator' I suppose that would be the equivalent of a construction superintentant in the US. I had to write a lot of Contractual letters and reports to clients and sub contractors. My immediate superior had to clear anything which I sent out. He used to drive me nuts!. The content of my reports was never altered but he had a field day with everything else. In the end those reports read just like his own pretentious splutterings around the office for which he was well known and derided for. Oh how I hated that job!
Does anyone else have a story about a job which drove them crazy? (They may contain good ideas for character development)

Fight scenes:
I have a number of fight descriptions/scenes in my latest novel. I find that I really enjoy writing these scenes. The action just seems to flow and I rarely feel the need to edit. Introducing new characters is one of my well as dialogue......links....continiuty....etc.

Ah well, live and learn.

A week of mixed emotions here. Kyesha went back to Germany with mum and dad (Nikki and Marcellus). Sad because the house seems emty without the family but relieved that she is well again. We will see them again at Easter.
A big week for me next week. I take my assesments for the new career which I am trying to carve out for myself. If I am successful I will be taking the m.c.s.e. course within the next couple of months. It's not a cheap course at three thousand pounds stirling but I am hopeful of securing some fund aid from the Government. Fingers crossed.

Thomas has volunteered to help with the dedicated Chat room at ICQ so I need at least one more volunteer. Hands up!
Just make sure that you have added the &NoteBook Chat to your contact list before putting up your hands.
Once again the number is:

Later all

Goodweed of the North Sat Jan 16 11:38:48 PST 1999

S.K.S. Perry; You have a talent for putting into words the frustrations many of us share.

I too have extensive experiance as a tech-writer, and with writing proposals, memo's, and other buisness writing. Often times I am forced to take a bid-spec and change it to meet the approval of my supervisor, who has less than perfect language skills, let alone writing skills. To be fair, he often has some good ideas about including things I would not have thought of for bid-specs. He has been in the telecom buisness longer than I. But his presentation abilities, both written and oral are lacking, or at least, untrained.

One of the things I have to watch for though, is that my own extensive vocabulary allows me to use words that are not "common" enough. Some who have read my work have accused that I am purposely writing above their heads because I think I am supperior. That isn't true. But I sometimes use too much jargon and forget my favorite approach to writing, that is, reader oriented writing. I need to remember that the audience, who is generally not trained in the tech aspects, will be lost by a sentence that is normal to someone used to the telecom, or electronics world.

We often learn words peculiar to our own professions, and use them often enough that they are part of our everyday language. For instance, how many people know or care what a SCR (silicon controlled rectifier) is. How many know tip & ring, or dry pair, or fast busy, or mosfet device, or differential aplifier, or...

Whether in fiction, or non-fiction/buisness/tech. writing, it is important to remember who the audience is , and write to their level. It is also important not to be too simplistic as to insult them.

A trick I have often use is to incorporate my boss's suggestions into a report, but modify what he suggested. You have to keep the modification close enough to retain his content, while improving it enough to appear intelligent. Some times though, you just have to mutter under your breath and do what you are told (isn't it the pits to be a slave to bills, and house-payments).

In a perfect world, I would be king and everybody would do things the way I do. (This is the thought pattern of most stuper, uh, I meen, supervisors). I guess they are a necessary evil in today's society.

Could I survive in pre-industrial, pre-urbanized America?
Oh that I could live on Waldon's Pond, only with a computer and spell checker.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

S.K.S. Perry Sat Jan 16 08:28:16 PST 1999

Hey all,

You know there's too much snow when they actually have to close down the ski hills!

I'd just like to say a word or two about editing and critiquing. Other than editing for grammar and spelling, when someone edits your work, all they're really doing is telling you how they would like to see it, or how they would do it if they had written it. Why is it that we automatically assume that because you have authority, your way is better. Anyone who's ever had to write something that had to pass through a superior for approval knows what this is like.

Case in point: I've had to write personal evalutation reports that before being approved have to go through several different levels of authority. Each one has his or her suggestion (make that demand) on how to change it to make it better. Often these people are lucky if they have a grade 12 education, and their english skills are marginal to say the least. In some cases, english isn't even their native language. Still, every suggestion must be treated as gospel because they're the boss. I've had one report returned to me by someone several links up the chain of command, who complained that the report was drivel. She was right, it was, because that's what it had become by the time everyone had stuck their fingers in the pie. When I showed her my original draft, she actually apologised (how refreshing.)

I've often wondered if these editors who ask for rewrites based on their suggestions actually perform any service at all other than to bolster their own sense of self-worth.
So a story wins a Hugo. Maybe it still would have won without the editors input. Maybe it would even have been better; it makes me wonder if some writer out there maybe lost an award he might have won if the editior had have kept his mitts off of the story....I guess we'll never know, because the writer had to comply with someone else's wishes rather than present his own vision of his work in order to get it published.

Remember, in many cases editors are often frustrated writers whose own work just didn't cut it. I guess what I'm saying is to have confidence in your work, especially when receiving critiques. Suggestions are just that, suggestions, and they may or may not improve the story. The final decission is yours.

That said, if you're trying to sell your work, you're pretty much at the whim of whoever wants to buy it. After all, the customer is always right. If you're not worried about selling your work, then you can have the satisfaction of telling them to go to....

Be Well, Live Well.

Michele Sat Jan 16 00:03:40 PST 1999

Well I did say I was uncritical about ST since I watch it for escapist purposes . . . I'm just pleased to see a female captain for once !!

Avatar - I laughed at the story of the food fight - don't take that the wrong way - it thought it was amusing and cleverly done !

Oh well time to go eat some breakfast . . .


Lena Fri Jan 15 17:52:08 PST 1999


I must agree that Jean-Luc Picard is my favorite captain also. Captain Kirk was great, but somewhere in there I got tired of him seducing The Girl every other episode. Picard is my ideal of a good captain (at least for a starship) in that he was reliable, a diplomat, and a scholar. He was a Renaissance man.

SN Arly - I apologize if you took offense at my joke about Liberal Arts. I have a habit of making fun of myself, and often people who do not know me well think I am being serious. If I actually thought Liberal Arts was useless, would I study it? Same thing with Latin - I enjoy joking about Latin as a dead language, but that in no way means I am any less serious about it. I'm going to look into the 3-2 program, and check out scholarships and student loans, because I have the funny feeling that if I do decide to study Liberal Arts I'm going to find myself paying for most, if not all, of the cost.

Avatar - Loved the story! LOL

Luna & Ray - Welcome to the Notebook.

Jack - Perhaps you could have a topic about editing your own writing. I have often found that I have trouble revising my writing simply because I have no idea where to begin. What do editors look for in a story? How can you look over your own story with a critical eye?

Sonja - A hut in New Mexico? Oh the dreams we dream...

Oh, and I noticed that the last paragraph of my last post (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day...) was very jumbled and nonsensical. I did not type it that way, and I have no idea why it came out that way. Just wanted you to know that my blithering nonsense was not intentional. I believe I was trying to attack everybody with mashed potatoes at the time... going back to what Hayden said, this is not a very action/object oriented site and I just wanted to actually do something instead of merely expressing an opinion. Chat rooms are often very action oriented, which is amazing considering it is all done with words. I call to mind the time I got into a caviar fight with several people in a chat room once. I believe I won. :-)

Fare thee well,

Luna Fri Jan 15 17:39:01 PST 1999

Um, hello Im pretty new at this sort of thing but I hope it worked.I have been wrinting fiction especially fantasy and Sci-fi though in my opnion its not really good. I plan to come back every once and a while. I love writing fantasy because it allows you to create your own worlds own religions and own characters. I think creating characters is the most fun part especially since Im an artist of some sorts too. Hope I did this right.


Thomas Fri Jan 15 06:29:26 PST 1999


How about a topic on what writers get from notebooks like this one. Also, how should a writer go about studying the market before submitting. (About the fourth book; Really? Having not yet sold my first book, I am flabbergasted that I might have to go through this again on the fourth one.)

Welcome Sonja and Ray. Just jump in and be sure to keep your skin thick and your sense of humor (humour, for Ray).


Not yet on the mortgage payments, but I did make a few good contacts. When I made the trip in November I landed two good jobs. For me, it is going back to my old profession. I used to work in the audio visual field as a storyboard designer, voice over director and independent producer. I am making a segue into writer of proposals, scripts and special events. This is a segment of writing that pays well and also allows enough down time for a writer to be home working on his creative stuff.


Loved your GreystoNe story. It truly takes an editor's eye to see something like that while walking around perusing racks.
So you are north of Binghamton. Had I known that yesterday I might have stopped the mad drive along Rt 17 and asked you for a room for the night.

Allein and SKS,

I have had situations where email took days to reach me. Haven't a clue as to why that is.

Rhoda Thu Jan 14 20:17:37 PST 1999

Welcome to the Notebook, Ray. It is nice to know that you really do exist and Eddie had not made you up. I was getting worried about Eddie. He does have a good imagination, and sometimes we writers get so intense with our work that some of us confuse fiction with reality.

Rhoda Thu Jan 14 20:09:56 PST 1999


Glad to see you back safely. I hope your trip to New York was beneficial and that you have brought home more than enough work to pay your mortgage.


Welcome to the Notebook. I hope you will come back often and feel comfortable posting whatever you wish.

I personally like fight scenes if they are not overdone. Life is full of conflict and sometimes that does culminate in fight scenes. When I read fights in books, I do not follow very well. My mind only absorbs who is on the offensive and who is on the defensive. I don't really follow what happens until those positions change. Most of the time I am in a daze until one party wins.

I didn't find doing fight scenes particularly challenging for my novels. I just had to keep the action straight in my mind. I personally find the challenges to writing fight scenes similar to that of writing love scenes. Fight scenes and love scenes have much in common. Both are ways of relieving tension or intensifing tension. Both are expressions of strong emotion. Also both types of scenes require carefully worked choregraphy.

No captain beats Jean-Luc Picard. I cried when they cancelled SNG. Jean-Luc was diplomatic, fair, scholarly, trustworthy, and so utterly predictable--a virtual Rock of Gilbralter. After him, no other Star ship captain can measure up. Captain Janeway reminds me a little of my first Latin teacher in High School. This fine lady was a wonderful teacher, but very stern. She wore her hair just like Captain Janeway. If they ever come out with a Star Trek series with a British captain, what French actor will they use to play the part?

Happy writing!


S.N.Arly Thu Jan 14 19:46:43 PST 1999

Lena - I thought I was being serious. I have a liberal arts degree and I haven’t worked fast food since high school. Haven’t needed to. And I thought I was giving you factual reasons for getting one, especially if its at the same time as another degree. I KNOW engineers who didn’t like their work and now they have 4 yr degrees that don’t do much. One ended up back in school. I have a former roommate who was a primary ed major. He realized, in student teaching, that he doesn’t like kids enough to teach. Now he’s doing desktop publishing with a little web page freelancing on the side.

Michele - How can you like Janeway? I wish they’d kill her. She’s such a cardboard cutout, and after this many seasons, that’s just wrong. She’s also inconsistent. Ick. And agree with SKS on her character, unfortunately I admit my dislike spills over some into the actor.

Hi Ray. Welcome

Jack - I'll try to come up with some ideas and will let you know if I do.


Allein Thu Jan 14 18:14:50 PST 1999

SKS: I never recieved the e-mail. Sometimes it takes a while, but never this long. Perhaps you should send it again.

Bye bye,

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Jan 14 17:44:37 PST 1999

      I have a favor to ask of all the folks here. I am tapped to do the writing track for Westercon 52, a major regional science fiction convention that will be taking place in Spokane, Washington, over the July 4 weekend. You might recognize this from my shameless plug earlier about the Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith presentation that will take place just prior.
      The favor is a request for suggested topics for panel discussions at the convention. What I have come up with already includes EBooks and Publication on Demand - the future of the publishing industry?, Midlisting or why is it harder to get your fourth book published than your first and is there a solution for this, Cross genre fertilization or are crosstime romances romances, science fiction or fantasy and does it really matter, writers block and the solutions for it. These are just a few. So, what else do you think might be interesting and would like to hear and see. Let me know either here or via email. Of course, anything that is really interesting could also become a topic for discussion here. On that score, although I have deleted the topic for discussion as a button I still think it might be nice if we have a particular topic to center our comments here on. So, if I find one of the suggestions of particular interest I may drop it back here and suggest we discuss it to death here first.

Take care everyone.

Howard Thu Jan 14 17:34:21 PST 1999

Jodi -- Bingo! Dunno why, but GreystoNe caught my eye as I was walking past the book rack. I took them to a Tarzan fest once, but nobody was interested. Thomas - Nope, not too near Auburn, although my grandfather grew up there. I live in Lisle -- on I81 just north of Binghamton. Food fights sound good to me -- I swing a mean kumquat! :-) howard

Sonja Thu Jan 14 16:17:32 PST 1999

Hello! This is my first adventure posting anything on the web. I find myself in the constant dilemma: pursue a "serious" career: along a known path with a well established ritual for getting going and the eventual benefit of having a real job with $ and benefits... Or..moving out to a hut in New Mexico or somewhere and writing passionately with the hope of eventually being able to support myslef at it in some meager way. Any thoughts? I'll write either way. Do I want to make it my life?? Seem like a cool bunch of people who post here, so I thought I'd drop in.

Allein Thu Jan 14 16:03:26 PST 1999

Fighting experiance - my only advice (along with a lot of my friends) - if someone hits you, beat the living snot out of them. Actually, though, I don't fight because I don't believe that violence will solve any problem and I'm a whimp and don't want to get hurt.

SKS - no, didn't get it, but it should come soon - I'm writing this a few minutes after your message.

Bye bye,

S.K.S. Perry Thu Jan 14 15:58:04 PST 1999

Hey all,

Allein, did you get the E-mail I sent you on chapter one of your story?

And I don't much care for Katherine Janeway. I find she's too inflexible and holier than thou, and I often don't agree with her stance on things. Too many times she's pulled rank to get her way, right or wrong. That said, I think the Kate Mullgrew is doing an excellent job of playing her. It's nice to see a starship captain with real human flaws.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Thu Jan 14 14:27:40 PST 1999

Hello all,

Back from New York City, and lucky to have made it. Drove right through one of the worst storms this season. Blah -- hate it. And then my neighbor didn't even take the time to shovel my driveway while I was gone -- the nerve!

Won't know for a while if the trip will produce any writing assignments, but I always love a few days in New York City.

Hey, Howard. Are you near Auburn? I just landed a wine column in the monthly Auburn Business Almanac. I think they will run the first one in February.

Steak and fights. I used a steak once, after a fight; I had to put it on my eye. But you should have seen the other guy.

I find grammar check quite useless, except for things like passive sentences. What drives me nuts with grammar check is it does not like long sentences and it does not like semi-colons, colons and dashes. I think it is geared toward business writing. Spellceheck is fine, and my aging mind demands it.

Eddie, I'll be one for the test case on ICQ. Until the writing jobs come pouring in from NY I shall have a flexible schedule. (Lots of time for my Pink Bunny)

Lydia ICQ froze my computer twice. Perhaps there is a bug in it.

Thu Jan 14 13:41:32 PST 1999

By jove I think I've got it.
I'me edd's imaginary friend Ray if this works can I call myself a nerd?. Answers please on a postcard.

I don't think I'll risk any more, let me know if this reaches anyone,



Avatar Thu Jan 14 12:46:13 PST 1999

The Price of Bread

The sun was a yellow cheese color as it rose in the still morning sky. The air upon the land was silent, stilled. The land anyway. Everywhere else there was chaos.
Sha'in looked at the blunt point of french bread that was aimed directly at her chest with hatred. In her fist she held a ham-club, menacingly feinting back and forth at her opponent. In the other she held a good-sized kiwi, which threatened to spurt juice at him at any moment.
The hands that held both weapons were covered with gloves, a necessary precaution as the touch of sun-food was death to all water-dwellers, but it was still very awkward to hold the deadly stuff in thick kelp gauntlets. Feeling her grip slipping, Sha'in dived in for the attack, thanking all the Makers that her grip lasted long enough to strike him in his bread-arm.
He gasped as the pain of the fire-roasted ham sent him reeling, but retained enough balance to strike her feet out from under her with the cucumber in his other hand before he dropped the bread.
Sha'in was shocked to find her legs turning blue with a cold far worse than the frigid waters of her homeland. Falling to her knees, she released her grip on the ham and resorted to squirting him with the deadly kiwi.
The juice arced toward him, undaunted by the ever-flowing water and struck him full in the chest. He looked at her with something akin to remorse as the poisonous fruit juice slowly worked it's way into his system. The cucumber fell from his hands. It lay, forgotten, in the rocks at his feet.
Sha'in straightened and saluted her enemy, respectful of him, even as he died.
When his eyes closed for the final time, Sha'in stooped to retrieve his weapons, both still using well-cast preservation spells that kept both in an unaging, unchanging warp. Might make a good price at the market, she thought as she left, scavengers already diverging on the dead meat. There was no place for burial here.


Spur of the moment, so if anyone doesn't like it, it's not as good as something I'd take time to redo. Probably not what most of you had in mind. Whaddya think all?

Jodi-thanks for the quote. I've been wondering what the full verse was.

Rhoda & Rachel-goes to show. You CAN use cucumbers as weapons. Perhaps vegetarians are more dangerous than we thought they were. ;)


Michele Thu Jan 14 12:33:07 PST 1999

Did I miss something ? How did we get onto the topic of Katherine Janeway ?? I like her actually - but then I'm pretty uncritical when I watch Star Trek - it's the only TV I watch and I watch for escapist reasons . . . when I die I want to be reincarnated as Data . . . !

On the topic of buying my proof-readers eyes - it'll cost you lots if I do decide to sell - thing is you'll need my brain to go with them (they don't work independently of my brain funnily enough) - and I'd hate to do that to anyone - you wouldn't want my brain - it's TOO, TOO weird !!


Michael Thu Jan 14 12:25:51 PST 1999

You hear about it all the time - Writer's block, writer's block, writersblock. What I'm suffering from is Editor's block!!! Some days I'll go back over my work and be thrilled. Other days I fling papers across the room screaming "This is crap! CRAP!"
Mommy . . . .


Lena Thu Jan 14 12:08:41 PST 1999

SN Arly - Yup, that new captain was pretty annoying. I respect everybody for trying to have females in charge, but they usually try to put some girl with a stake (or is it a steak?) up their rear end in charge, somebody with an attitude. This is annoying and stereotypical. I have this problem with the captain on ST: Voyager, also. However, the last episode was excellent. I did see a Call to Arms, which was okay.

Hey, did you know what the first words a Liberal Arts major says after graduation are? "Would you like some fries with that order?" Hmm, so it wasn't that funny. WHY do I do this to myself??? And I was very serious, SN Arly. I don't know if I want to strike out on my own for Liberal Arts. I need information badly.

Caroline - I finished the "Path of Daggers," and the book really picked up at the end. It looks as though he has set up a lot of the plot lines to converge in the next book (Egwene attacking Tar Valen, Faile kidnapped, the Asha'man turning, etc.). I have higher hopes for the next book, and hopefully the characters will go back to their normal selves, especially Nynaeve.

A serious fight scene with food? That might be fun. I have a friend who wrote a story in which, instead of using swords, they used fish in a fencing match. It was between two brothers, and since their mother the Queen did not want either of her darling sons injured, she made them use fish instead of real swords. 'Twas fun, but I don't know if that would exactly count as 'serious.'



S.N.Arly Thu Jan 14 11:39:04 PST 1999

meant to say proximal objects, not local. Duh!

S.N.Arly Thu Jan 14 11:37:13 PST 1999

SKS - Nothing beats entertaining typos.

Lena - Does a liberal arts degree help? What sort of question is that? Libral arts leaves you nicely rounded out (and I'm not talking size). I had an engineering major for a roommate in college and those classes got awful stagnant after a while. On the real job aspect, if you get out there and find that you hate working in engineering (which REALLY REALLY DOES HAPPEN), liberal arts degrees work everywhere! Engineering degrees are somewhat limited to their focus. And if you were planning on going 4 years anyway, the extra 5th isn't that big of a deal and it will give you more experience to take into the dreaded evil real world (which I still haven't found) and it will give you more options. Besides, if you have multiple skills and talents, you become that much more useful to your employer. You're less likely to be downsized. Also keep in mind that the average American changes careers (not jobs but CAREERS) three to four times in their life post college. I'm on my second (though it's sorta the third) and I've got many working years to go.

I did not see much of season 5 because the new captain gave me hives, or asthma.... or both. I did see A Call to Arms, which was good. I'll miss it when we pitch our cable.

Rachel - If someone threatened me with a blunt steak I would take it as a personal attack as well.

On fight scenes - keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there who have no fighting training. They might miss when they punch. They might hurt themself by keeping their thumb tucked into the fist instead of outside. They might trip or run into something. They might fall on their ass when they try to kick. Failed blows can add length, excitement, and realism.

Edible weapons? I always like creative use of local objects in fight scenes. A fight in a kitchen? Hmmmm...


Michele Thu Jan 14 01:43:48 PST 1999

SKS Perry - Why did Dickens sting ?

And for all those who asked - I'm kind of attached to my eyes so no, they're neither of them for sale !! (Unless I get VERY, VERY desperate for money - I now students generally are desperate but so far I haven't needed to sell bits of me !!) :-)

Going to go write me an English essay now - talk to you all again soon . . .


Jodi Wed Jan 13 23:38:12 PST 1999

Winter seems to be giving my neighborhood a skip this year. This has been the weirdest winter weather that I have ever seen for this neck of the woods. When I drop my kids at school and see their classmates in shorts, I know that all is not as it should be. After all, this particular region is known for having, "The Greatest Snow On Earth." (Utah)

For fight scenes, I can see them, I have participated in a few (both on stage and in life), but as for putting them on paper (or the computer screen), forget it.

Spelling is a pet peeve of mine. Grammar, I am so-so at. I have a tough time sending anything out with spelling errors, but as for posts, I just don’t check.

This year I did make a goal to write at least one hour daily, and so far so good. The problem is that it has been very poor material, and I seem to spend most of the hour rewriting the previous days work. Argh!! A bit too distracted by school to do any quality work to this point.

As for the Shakespeare Quotation, it is from "As You Like It"

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,"

Fairly PC for his time.

The thing that is unique about the TARZAN novels is that he is Lord of Greystoke, not Greystone.



toby b Wed Jan 13 22:47:28 PST 1999

Level three emergency road conditions at my present location. Still enjoying winter Goodweed???:) Actually, on the upshoot, I have a six day vacation. Thursday/Friday classes are cancelled, Sat/Sun are off, Mon is off due to MLK, and tuesday I have no classes due to my schedule. Sweetness, and if anyone makes a comment about missing education I'll throw a thawed steak in their direction.


Caroline Heske Wed Jan 13 22:29:42 PST 1999

Did someone say they wanted a creative fight scene? Then perhaps SKS and Rhoda were on the right track after all: my eternal admiration to anyone who can write a SERIOUS fight scene with edible weapons. Shall we make that a challenge?

Wed Jan 13 22:23:34 PST 1999

Allein Wed Jan 13 19:59:22 PST 1999

Hi all. I'm actually just putting this here to remember where I last was.

Bye bye.

Rachel Wed Jan 13 18:55:11 PST 1999

Hi all

If anyone pointed a "blunt steak" at me I would likely die of horror. I am a long time vegetarian, but have to admit, most people would not be harmed by that.

I have wanted to hear about fight sceens but have been shy to ask. I have had the experience of feeling afew kicks and punches that were ment to be gentle and have come to the same conclision as SKS and SNArly anyone who could stand up to that kind of stuff I just better run away from real fast.

I have attempted a couple of fight sceens and have found them very short lives, usualy consisting of between one and three well placed blows or kicks. I sit back and read and think, uh yah that would about do it, but yah know it kind of lacks excitement.

Oh well what to do. I guess I will get more creative as I learn more.

Take care all


Rhoda Wed Jan 13 17:28:44 PST 1999

Hurting people with blunt steaks and doing away one's husband with leg of lamb--food is dangerous stuff, espacially meat. Perhaps vegetarians are on to something. It appears that red meat is truly dangerous stuff. Aside from the risks to your heath and blood vessels and aside from the e-coli risk, red meat can be very violent.

The only thing that comes close to red meat might be chicken soup. Is anyone here old enough to remember when someone drowned in Mary Hartman's chicken soup?

Happy writing and Careful eating!


Howard Wed Jan 13 16:51:02 PST 1999

A Blunt Steak?
Does anyone remember the Alfred Hitchcock episode where the cop's wife did her hubby in with a frozen leg of lamb, and then roasted and served it to his buddies after the funeral? They were still trying to find the murder weapon, and the chief, sitting at the table, carving the roast said "I can't help feeling the murder weapon is somewhere right under our noses."
I guess I have that "proofreader's eye" as well. It's an aggravation sometimes, but most tupos and other errors just kinda jump off the page at me. It's funny, though, I still have to say "I before E except after C..." whenever I write words with those letters in them.
That did come in handy one day when I was walking past the "new books" rack at one of our local stores. I spotted a stack of Tarzan re-releases. The covers were real nice -- had TARZAN in big block letters, and "The Adventures of Lord Greystone" as a subtitle. I bought 6 copies. Can any Tarzan fans tell me what made them unique?

Lena Wed Jan 13 16:23:37 PST 1999

Hullo to all,

Michelle - yet another envious person! I would be quite willing to buy an eye of yours also... you have two eyes, you have two customers! Whadaya say? Amazingly enough, spelling has always been my worst subject in school, and grammar has always bored me. I know I need both spelling and grammar to write, but it's just not fun.

Avatar - I don't think Shakespeare would be quite so PC as to say "men and women." It just doesn't seem unenlightened enough. LOL

Goodweed -Your novel sounds really interesting... I'm looking forward to picking it up in the bookstore off the bestseller rack soon. :-)

And now for a question that has absolutely nothing to do with writing! (well, it sorta does...)

I am looking into colleges at the moment, and just found a program that really interested me. It is called a 3-2 program, and in it, during the course of five years, you earn a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts and a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. I am interested in computers/mathematics as a career, but I also love the Liberal Arts curriculum. This looks to me a great combination of both. However, does a Liberal Arts degree help any? Beside the crap that put in college booklets about "teaching you how to think," would a Liberal Arts degree help me get a job? Remember, I would also have a Bachelor's in Engineering. I know there are some people on here who work as programmers, so... any real world advice? PLEASE help me, because if I decide I want to do this program I'll have to argue it out with my father, who believes Liberal Arts is a waste of time.

SN Arly- Did you see the final episode? Oh, it was so sad...

Fare thee well,

Jai Wed Jan 13 15:26:00 PST 1999

Umm, I have done a lot of these double posts, always leaving somthing out.

I made an hour a day ( + 4 hours on the weekend days ) resolution a few months ago and kept to it for a whole week, I was proud of myself, at least I know I can do it. Now I just need to keep it up from week to week...

Jai Wed Jan 13 15:22:34 PST 1999


Let me start with fight scenes well I have done alot of roleplaying ( Dungeons and Dragons and those weird games ) in the past and fought countless fights with countless enemies in my head over the years and now I have absolutly no problem with fight scenes, its the dialog I hate. I think I have become profecient at visualising all the combatents and following their movments. If you need to use some paper to help you remember where they are, who they are fighting and so on. Maybe even have some fun, like fighting your friends ( or kids ) with roled up newspaper and garbage bin lids ( shield and swords ) to get an idea how it feels, how much harder it is when two of them gang up against you... and so forth. Guns are much easier to describe since there is only two parts to a conflict, who fires first and did they hit.

Michele - I envy you our built in proof reading eye... How much would you sell it for :)... Genetics are moving along at an astounding rate.

As for little good ideas, I am still on the big good ideas, I find little ideas come to me about a story I'm working on as I go but not usually as detatched entities in themselves. But I get a good BIG idea ( a whole storys worth ) every now and again and make sure to write them down (then resist starting yet another story and just leave them as ideas).

Well I think I'll do some writting tonight, I'm finally settled in enough after my holiday, I think...


S.K.S. Perry Wed Jan 13 12:38:24 PST 1999


So far I'm still writing at least a page a day, though sometimes it's tough, like when I'm uninspired or out of time.

Be Well, Live Well

Avatar Wed Jan 13 12:32:23 PST 1999

What's this with steak?

Lena- good idea. I never thought about doing it that way before. What I do is I write them down on little pieces of paper that always seem to be in my way and dump them in a box. I'll see what I have when the day comes and the box is full. Until then, I'm totally out of ideas;]

I'm wondering about this, for those of you who made those page- 1/2 page a day resolutions, how have you kept them, or how are you doing so far?

"All the world's a stage,
and men and women merely players"

that's shakespeare for ya'. Tell me if'n I got it wrong, though. I hate it when I don't get quotes right


S.K.S. Perry Wed Jan 13 11:32:26 PST 1999


Damage someone with a blunt steak eh? Maybe if I froze it first. Either that or give 'em a good slap in the face with it, and I'm sure getting worchestershire sauce in the eyes would sting like the dickens.

Be Well, Live Well.

S.N.Arly Wed Jan 13 11:25:44 PST 1999

Lena & Avatar - I forgot to mention those little ides. I also save mine. Who knows when I'll figure out the real reason I cam up with them? I don't always know the endings of my stroies, before I write them so I assume my brain has other plans for those other ides, and sometimes I've been right.

Norman - Give er a go and see what happens. If we have answers (or can pretend like we do) we're often quite happy to share.

SKS -You? Twisted? Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I also have the same thing happen with errors slipping by, and I've come to the same conculsion as you. I know what I meant to seay and I probably don't actually READ every word. I've learned to read very carefully.

On fight scenes - Now I have been in a fight or two in my life, and while I haven't actually broken any bones, well none that are documetned, I have felt pain. Tons of it. I also have a very good memory. I call a specific event to mind I can smell what I smelled, see what I saw, and feel everything I felt, physically and emotionally. This is great for description.

Also I completely agree with SKS on TV fights. I was watching a couple of Jackie Chan movies over the holidays and I spent most of the time admiring the footwork and all, but wondering how the hell someone would stand up to a sidekick to the mouth and not loose their teeth (and marbles as the case may also be). I know what my kicks can do. And I know what kind of piunishment the human body can and can not take. If someone takes one of my kicks full pell in the noggin and gets back up, they ain't human! So realism is also nice.


"If you're going to have delusions you may as well go for the really satisfying stuff."

Michele Wed Jan 13 11:24:58 PST 1999

SKS Perry - you mean to tell me it isn't possible to do damage to someone by striking them with a blunt STEAK !!! :-)

This is less of a problem for me as I seem to have an in-built proof-reading eye and as soon as I look at a printout of anything I spot the errors - I don't spot on screen ones because like you I know what it's *supposed* to say - but as soon as I see things in black and white - boom ! it hits me ! So I always print out a copy of something before I give it to anyone else to read, knowing I'll spot the errors as soon as I read it.


S.K.S. Perry Wed Jan 13 07:13:13 PST 1999

Sorry, that's me again.

Wed Jan 13 07:11:58 PST 1999

Hey all,

We got another six inches of snow last night. Apparently we've had more snow in the last eight days than January usually gets here for the whole month.


I've always figured my spelling and grammer is pretty good too, and the grammar check on Word can be next to useless, or worse, totally wrong. However I still run my work through it after I'm completely finished. Sometimes it catches the odd thing that I let slip. I know the difference between your and you're, or we're and were, but even so, in my haste to get thoughts on paper the wrong word occasionlly slips in. The problem is that when I read over my work, I KNEW what I meant to say and I think my mind just skims over the mistakes because it knows what I meant to say too. It doesn't help me to leave the work for a while either, because I have this warped memory that, while not quite photographic, at least draws rough characitures.

Not only that, I usually let several friends read my work too, and stuff still slips by. After doing several edits, a couple of spell checks, and having my buddies go over my work, the fact that one of my characters was struck in the chest with a blunt steak as oppossed to stake still slipped by me. (I thank Caroline for catching that one!)

S.N. Arly,

I'm not really worried about marketing the story (well, at least not until I finish it.) I think the main reason the things gotten so long is because I'm having so much fun writing it. It's also my attempt at writing something in the first person, and I've put my own twisted slant on that too.


About Need to Know: I've had several people mention the screenplay thing for Outer Limits (that's the one that's back). Unfortunatly, screenplay writing is an art in itself, and I don't know the first thing about it. It might be an interesting challenge though when I have a little more time, or maybe I could find someone to adapt it for me? Something to think about.

As to writing fight scenes--they're my favourite part! The irony is, most people who read that sort of thing have never been in a real fight in their life, and wouldn't know a believable one from something outlandish. Take for instance the stuff that passes for fighting on television. I can tell you, if I were fighting someone who could take a roundhouse kick (mawashi geri)kick to the head and still stand afterwords, then as far as I'm concerned the fight's over, cause I'm outta there!! Yet this is the type of thing we see on television all the time, and the type of fight your readers expect. If you want to know if your fight scene is works, have a couple of buddies read it, then act it out. If what they're doing pretty much follows the way you saw it in your head, then you're halfway there. Unfortunately you're going to have to have enough talent to use the words that describe the action so that the three page fight scene only seems to have taken twenty seconds like it probably would have in real life. A fight scene should have a sense of immediacy, everything rushed. Be creative in your description and don't fall into the tired cliches. Fountains of blood gushing from slit throats don't make a fight scene.

Oh, Oh. I'm afraid I'm rambling again. Or maybe it's raving...ranting?

Be Well, Live Well.

Michele Wed Jan 13 02:20:04 PST 1999

SKS Perry - I *KNEW* that of course (being a programmer I can PROGRAM Word to do things that would probably drive you nuts !) but I figure I know more about Grammar than a damn computer so why waste my time and energy running the Grammar checker ?

Toby B - I see - so now I know what Grammar checkers ARE useful for - I still won't use one ! :-) Loved the description of snowing melting off a tree though !! What did you mean by "personal edification", BTW ?? I got lost there - blame the fact that I am shattered trying to revise for exams next week and the week after !

Oh well time to go do some more . . .


Allein Tue Jan 12 21:34:57 PST 1999

Pink fuzzy bunny so funny! That's close to what my friend has written on her notebook. We must be close to Easter - my confirmation group and I are already starting on the decorations at church. But, unfortunately, I won't be around to see them because I am going to Florida to spend Easter with relatives.

Bye bye,

PS: When walking down the road of life...hitch-hike! It's faster! :)

Norman Tue Jan 12 21:24:58 PST 1999

Norman: I am the culprit in the piece. I have been absolutely swamped for the moment between a death of a friend and commercial web site responsibilities. I will try to get you onto the bio page sometime this week. Sorry about the slow response time, but life does sometimes happen.

Norman Shatzoff Tue Jan 12 20:39:47 PST 1999

Someone phelp me. A week ago I submitted a bio. It was confirmed by email. It has not shown up. Am I supposed to do something else.

I have run into a problem in the novel I am writing, and wanted to ask some questions, but I dont know if I will be heard.

Caroline Heske Tue Jan 12 20:24:47 PST 1999

Fight Scenes - Well, I can picture them in my head - exactly - but when it comes to getting them down on the paper, they sort of end up as drivel (until I spend about five hours combing through them with a thesaurus)... But what I've found help is to not dwell on one character too long, keep alternating between them, and describe moment by moment with really visual verbs. Uh... watch a lot of action movies etc. and try and choreograph the fight in your mind, then try and tie in what is driving each character emotionally... Okay, so they don't necessarily end up splendidly original, but I like to think they end up suspenseful. Maybe?

Eddie French Tue Jan 12 17:19:04 PST 1999

Pink Bunny ???
Are we getting that close to Easter?

Allein Tue Jan 12 17:07:34 PST 1999

Fighting scenes - good topic. There are a few in my story. Although most are little ones between Allein and Marcie (anyone who's read the story knows what Marcie can be like), there's one big one towards the end. So, I encourage, go ahead, discuss - I need the info.


pink bunny Tue Jan 12 16:59:23 PST 1999

Lena Tue Jan 12 15:38:32 PST 1999

Greetings all!

Fight scenes - ARG! The bane of my life! Well, not my whole life, but certainly a big part of my writing-life. Okay, not that there's much of that either, but fight scenes are still a big part of the banefullness of my writing, um, life.

I have a lot of trouble writing people in conflict / people in pain. Physical pain, that is -- I have no problem with mental anguish. If I sit down and force myself, I can write a technically good fight scene, but I can not seem to write a GOOD fight scene, one in which you can see the fight happening and you are rooting for the hero(ine) and the suspence is building, a fight scene that is unique and different. It's the same thing with scenes where people are in intense (physical) pain. I really try to throw myself into the character, to show the reader how it feels, but I can not get the essence right. I suppose I could chalk it up to the fact that I have never fought for my life and have never been in serious pain, but I suspect many writers do just fine without first nearly killing themselves. So, once you get the technical aspects down, what exactly makes a good fight scene? The trouble I have with this subject is very annoying, because the type of story I like to write often hinges around action. Any suggestions?

Avatar - I do the same thing, I have little ideas that pop up all over the place and I have no clue what to do with them. A few months ago I started a file on my computer specifically for those strange little ideas, and that seems to be working really well. I can pick an idea and work it into a story, just to give a little depth or add a character or embellish a story line. I don't know if this will work in the long run, but it does seem to be helping with a story I just started. Saves me the trouble of thinking up neat ideas on the spot.

Well, the snow if falling... typical small talk. Everybody TALKS about the weather but no one does anything about it! Oh, and here's a neat tongue twister: Whether the weather is cold, or whether the weather is hot, we'll weather the weather whatever the weather, whether we like it or not. HAH! =D

"Do you have anything worth living for...?"

Lydia Sweet Tue Jan 12 14:08:37 PST 1999

Hi all,

I had to throw away the ICQ and reload because it kept locking my computer up.  It worked fine the first day or so then anytime my mouse went near it locked up tight as a drum. I'm trying this in hopes I cleared up any bugs. My ICQ Id# remains the same.


I was thinking about your post about your story getting in the way of your career planning. That piece I read for you, "The Need to Know"? ( I think that's right.) I was thinking if you cared anything for screenplay that it would make a great short for "Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits". One of those has made a comeback. I'm not sure which one.

Current discussions about seasonal inspiration are like discussions of style. Everybody has one and inteprets it in different ways. I love Winter, hate Summer. Spring and Fall are for everyone, a break from the extremes of the other two. Even if I hate Summer I still find things to enjoy about it and vice versa things to hate about Winter even though I usually enjoy it. Theregoes!

Currently we are enjoying 60 degree weather and tomorrow the high is supposed to be in the 30's. I'm sure others in the states are having these temp swings. Now talk about confusing a body!


S.N.Arly Tue Jan 12 14:02:46 PST 1999

SKS- Oh yah. I have been in your shoes before. And they're too damn small! What size you wear anyway? No, seriously. I have a lot of stories that I expect to be around 6k, or I'd like to be around 6k. One ended up as 13 and that's only becasue I lopped it. It was ready to get even bigger and I needed something to turn in to my writers group.

Don't worry about the market while you're writing it. That takes away all the fun.

Avatar - Find someone cooperative to walk through fight scenes with you, if you're having trouble. I've done that with some of my more problematic ones. As a martial artist and occasioanl action TV/movie viewer, I can visualize most of what I want to. Lastly, practice, practice, practice. It is the way of the writer.


Avatar Tue Jan 12 13:02:27 PST 1999


okay, now I feel better.

It's amazing how much one can miss in four days.[8-*]
(in case one asks, that face is pensive)

S.K.S.-if my younger siblings were here they would probably beg you for your snow. As it is, the four inches we got around Christmastime melted in about three days. I'm talking from the northwest US here, and we're supposed to have some sort of flurry by now.

I prob'ly should explain my outburst. logic does not run in my genes obviously, because i seem to introduce these new, absolutely great ideas to myself, and then have no idea what to do with them. Some are story ideas, some are names, some are cultures, etc.... but rarely can I use them. Any ideas?

Oh, new idea for group discussion.

Goodweed- sounds in'trestin don' it

S.K.S. Perry Tue Jan 12 11:26:44 PST 1999

Hey all,

We got another seven or eight inches of snow last night. That brings us to a grand total now of TOO FREAK'N MUCH. Sorry.

Eddie, I'm game for the chat thing, just let me know when. My hours are pretty flexible.

My latest effort at short story writing has apparently gotten away on me. My intent was to write several short stories in an effort to establish some publishing credits which I would then use to generate interest in my book, but apparently the muses have other plans. They're having a ball and the story has now topped the ten thousand word barrier, which I guess officially makes it a novella now. Problem is, there's still no end in sight. The way things are going it may end up a full fledged novel. Does anyone else here write this way...I mean just take an idea and fly with it and see where it leads?

The worst part is, I'm not even sure how to market this thing when I finish it. It's kind of a horror/fantasy thing, which really isn't my usual style, but it seems that lately I've found I don't have a usual style. I'd always thought of myself as a science fiction writer, but most of my stuff doesn't really fall into strict catagories like that. Maybe it's more of a cross-over fiction. Is there such a thing? Ramble, ramble, ramble.....

Be Well, Live Well.

Eddie French Mon Jan 11 19:43:30 PST 1999

Allein. Me too! I've only been away for a day or two and I've lost it already.
Remember I introduced Ray, just a few days ago??. I told you he was unashamedly computer illiterate! He is dying to get to the notebook but he is still having problems. I'm sure that he will be here shortly.
(Just in case you thought I had an imaginary friend.....)
Winter finaly arrived here in the North West of England. No snow yet, but the frost is quite severe. We really have been experiencing October weather since well before christmas!
Hope everybody is feeling good working hard...
I will get to the next I.C. real soon but we need a few more on the ICQ list so go ahead and get it soon, then complete the form in 'Notebook chat'.
I am looking for at least two volunteers to try out the new chat room before I put it out to the group en mass.
If you would like to take part in the test then indicate so here and I will set up a mutually convenient time for a pan Atlantic (possibly pan hemispheric) try out.
Keep well,

howard Mon Jan 11 19:38:34 PST 1999

&&Soapbox on: Spell check? Grammar check? I use them once in a while, but not often. Back in the dark ages we used to have spelling and vocabulary drills. Learned a lot that way. One of the most important things we learned was word roots -- rudimentary etymology. We didn't learn Latin per se, but we did learn to recognize where and how a word originated. It makes it much easier to get it spelt right if you know where and how it got there. Then there's practice, and reading, and playing games with words. We learned words by using them -- not phonetically, but in practical usage. It seems like nowadays they teach kids how to pronounce (sometimes correctly) words, but they forget to teach what the words are, and how their supposed to be used. And there usage is often as misunderstood as they're spelling. &&Soapbox off: I leave you with words of wisdom from Boris:

:=) "Hey, Natasha! Is moose!"


Allein Mon Jan 11 19:24:20 PST 1999

Hi all, I read the updates. Just stopping by to let you know that I am still alive.

Well, bye bye,

Mon Jan 11 13:26:13 PST 1999

Hello all,

I am new to this forum, but I need to find a place where I might find some objectivity. I have recently put together a small reflective piece which I would like to share and hopefully get some feedback. My friends and family always give positive feedback on my writing, but I can't be sure that their judgements aren't clouded by our closeness to each other. The piece can be found here:

In any event thank you all for your time.

Aaron Fisher

Aaron Mon Jan 11 13:25:11 PST 1999

Hello all,

I am new to this forum, but I need to find a place where I might find some objectivity. I have recently put together a small reflective piece which I would like to share and hopefully get some feedback. My friends and family always give positive feedback on my writing, but I can't be sure that their judgements aren't clouded by our closeness to each other. The piece can be found here:

In any event thank you all for your time.

Aaron Fisher

Toby B Mon Jan 11 11:43:16 PST 1999

Oops, mea culpa. I somehow did something wrong down there. My message is blending in to S.N. Arly's. Sorry. To read the aformentioned piece, follow the eggplant-production link by E-mail.

Sorry Jack (embarrased grin)

Toby B Mon Jan 11 11:39:58 PST 1999

I don't use the spellcheck when I write initially, I use wordpad or notepad, or something very similar. This way I train myself to catch my own mistakes and my own grammar as I write. Later, after finishing a piece, I run it through a sophisticated (?) program that puts little squigglies under my writing so I can catch any mistakes I miss. Even then I still print it all out and go over everything by hand once more just to be sure.

Michelle: passive voice markers in the programm are actually usefull for a fiction writer. A passive sentence is a sentence like 'the tree was covered in snow'. Nothing wrong with it grammatically, but if you want to make a desription sparkle something like 'melted snow dripped down the branches of the elm, forming large icicles...' (how about all that winter imagery folks!) works better. I actually find that looking for passive sentences in my fiction helps make the piece more dynamic. Proof that, yes, even computers can help my writing. If used correctly. A computer is a tool like any other, it can used well, or badly.

On another note, a short short story of mine is up at Mon Jan 11 11:18:49 PST 1999

Dog help me if Im being judeged by my posting skills! I make time for checking up on the notebook, but not enough to spell check. In general writing, I hate grammar checkers because they hate me, mostly because while I use proper grammar it's not the way the program likes it (occasional passive voice, can not as two words, yadda yadda). I do like spell check because it saves time, and catches my usuals. I always go through and look for real words that aren't the right words - from/form, for/fro, any/nay. If I wanted to send all my posts through that garbage I'd never get anything done. Hell, I don't even get through a read before turning something over to my writer's group. Before it's ever sent anywhere that's all fixed, but with my lack of time, I like to be as efficient as possible.

Thomas - I thought we were talking about writing all along.

Michele - Personal edification?

"It goes ‘bing' when it's done!"

S.K.S. Perry Mon Jan 11 11:12:04 PST 1999


You can customize what the spelling and Grammar checker in Word will check for. For example, you can set it so that it doesn't nag you about long sentances or passive voice. You can also use the autocorrect function so that it automatically corrects words you habitually spell or type incorrectly. Just go to Tools, Options, and under spelling and grammer select Settings. There's a whole list of stuff there you can use to customise the way Word checks your writing, including adding "smart quotes", checking for one space instead of two after a period--it's almost like magic!

I still find the grammar check sucks though. It makes suggestions I KNOW are wrong.

Be Well, Live Well.

Michele Mon Jan 11 10:52:41 PST 1999

Hi !

Lena - am I glad you told us that - I gave up using the grammar checker on Word because it was ALWAYS complaining about my long sentences and "passive voice" (que ??) - now I know it's just a case of a dumb computer being programmed in a dumb way (as a programmer I can say that !) - which is what I'd always suspected !!

Can't compete with winter stories - we don't get enough snow over here in the South-West of England for me to be able to tell stories like that - but I did like Goodweed's description.

Got to go write an English essay (remind me again, WHY am I doing a degree course ??!!)

Cheerio !


Thomas Mon Jan 11 06:08:29 PST 1999


Nice lengthy holiday -- you do believe in the 12 days of Christmas! Welcome back.

Hey all,

That monthly nut we call the mortgage dictates that I drive to New York City this week in search of freelance writing work. I shall check in when I return, and I know the notebook will be so full I will need a day just to catch up.

Wush me luk -- correction: wish me luck!

Jai Shaw Sun Jan 10 19:35:06 PST 1999

Hey ho,

Back from holidays at last. Hope you all enjoyed yourselves as much as I did. The sea was warm and the valley was humid, the mosquitoes were ferocious.

Here is a poem I wrote -

A million foaming frothy waves soar,
With grumbly rumbly voices,
Straight and true towards the shore,
To break and bash and smash and crash,
Once heard, once known, forever with us, its mighty roar.

Being paranoid I ran this message through the spelling check, I always doubt my abilities, only one mistake. I gotta trust myself more. Personally I don't mind a little bad grammar and a few typos or spelling mistakes, writing is a slow enough medium of communication without the added complication of rechecking it. Anyways I need to train myself out of worrying about it as it often breaks my train of thought and inhibits my creative processes. ( I know their is some more spelling mistakes in that bit ) Though on the other hand... only through dogedly checking every peice of writing will we become better at not making mistakes. Like always writing writing with a double t damn me. I am a writer and I should know how to write writing by now, OK I think I have it.

Jai Shaw

Goodweed of the North Sun Jan 10 19:01:06 PST 1999

Thomas; In answer to your question, my first novel, an heroic fantasy, is entitled "Power of the Talismans". It is a story of adventure and conflict wherein a fragmented people, living in a resource rich valley, must learn to work together against a potent and dangerous sorceress, Quella.

Using the Darkstar Talisman to enhance her magic, she extends her sadistic reach until only the use of equally powerful magic appears capable of ending her conquest. Northron's King, Telgar, must raise an army and attack Quella's stronghold with little hope of success.

The valey tribes, under the loose rule King Telgar learn to work not only together, but with incredible creatures such as the enormous bird of prey, Melna Tor Kara, and the mother of dragons, Trok. They too have a talisman, the Skyangle, which allows its owners to communicate and control winged creatures, and small ground loving forest dwellers.

Together they battle against Quella and are soundly defeated.

That's all I can put here. Just know that they are saved. Can't tell by who though. I don't want to take up too much space.

SKS, I gladly accept your gracious apology. You are a good man, and a good freind. Thank you.

As for my bit being pollyann-ish, everyting I said, I have experiance. I have bad memories too of course. I really hated catching a slush ball in the side of my head. It stung, left my ears ringing, dripped down my neck... But most of all, it opened me up for more ridicule by the bully who threw it. He was easily twice my size and there wasn't much I could do about it. I don't much care for humiliation.

The bad is always just around the corner, but if it wasn't slush balls in the winter, it was a bb gun or crab-apples in the summer.

Then I finally grew, learned some self defense, learned some self-respect. You know the story. I guess there is usually some kind of ballance in the universe. Where there is good, there is also bad.

Enough of phillosophy 101. I hate it when I get going on my soapbox. Somebody save me from myself.

Put up a great writing topic to talk about.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Lena Sun Jan 10 18:58:18 PST 1999


I read and write all my e-mail and posts offline, so I can catch at least some of my spelling and grammar errors before I send stuff out. This also gives me a chance to wax poetic because I have all the time in the world offline, which is a reason why all my posts tend to be so long. I'm actually rather proud of myself, 'cause the last two times I have kept it short 'n sweet. Of course, I also write in the horrible English that is the bane of the younger generation, but I suppose everyone will just have to deal with that one.

"What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out of me..."

Ho-hum, listening to the Beatles.

After you grammar check a piece of writing, do you know that box that appears which ever-so-helpfully tells you the 'grade' of your writing, or the level of difficulty at which your story is written? Well, my English teacher recently shared with my class the big secret of how the computer figures out the grade level of your writing. It is based entirely on the length of your sentences and how many words have three or more syllables. Seriously. So someone like, say, Hemingway, would end up with an extremely low grade average. I feel better knowing that, because my writing has consistantly come out in the 7th grade.

"I've got to admit it's getting better..."

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Jan 10 16:57:09 PST 1999

Hello all: I tried to archive last night when I realized that we had mushroomed to over 150k, but my ISP was down for its monthly update. At any rate, I have archived 134 k of our discussions. Things should load easier. Take care everyone.

Thomas Sun Jan 10 13:39:57 PST 1999


What is the subject matter of your novel? Title?

Re: grammar/spelling. All across the Internet it is easy to find typos, but there are many indications of spelling problems too -- consistent mistakes like ie/ei, et al. Also, there are many situations where subject/verb problems pop up and singular/plural noun problems, too. In some cases, if a writer is not a good speller, spellcheck won't help (waste/waist, that sort of thing) and Microsoft's grammar check often seems like a sinister plot.

As I age, I find that I am losing some of my spelling capabilities and I do not like the thought. More importantly, if I am not a good speller and spellcheck does not catch some of the mistakes, what will an editor think about my writing? Maybe I am nuts, but I check everything I write (and still miss a lot) because I want always to place my best look forward -- never know who is reading the stuff.

In my opinion, everytime a writer writes it is an exercise in his/her craft -- even a shopping list.

And I hope I have successfully got us to talk about writing now.

S.K.S. Perry Sun Jan 10 13:26:49 PST 1999


I'll accept your apology if you accept mine. I wasn't kidding when I said that winter really gets me down; apparently it really makes me cranky too! I'm usually not so easily offended, and having corresponded with you in the past and knowing what kind of person you are, I should have known you had nothing but the best intentions in your posting.

Please, enjoy your winter. Everyone's entitled to their likes and dislikes. That's what makes the world go round.

As to spelling and grammar on the Notebook, I have to agree with Goodweed here. While I do try to make as few mistakes as possible, often things posted here are written in haste and with little time for a proper proof read. I leave words in here that I KNOW I've spelled wrong, I just don't have the time to look up the correct spelling. I would hate to think that my litterary skills were judged on the basis of what's written here on the Notebook. Isn't that what the Workbook is for?

Be Well, Live Well.

Goodweed of the North Sun Jan 10 12:49:57 PST 1999

Lena; you've been reading Xanth novels I see.
SKS Perry; I do understand your feelings and apologize here, in public for the callousness of my remarks. You are right. We can't just "leave". Often times we are stuck in places we would not choose of we had other options. Winter is not for everyone. Here in sunny Sault Ste. Marie, Mi., we are the coldest place in the nation every once in a while. Three years or so ago, the thermometer registered sub-zero temperatures (farenhiet) for two months straight. I had to go out to my car every night at midnight, start it, and let it run for twenty minutes just to make sure it would start for work in the morning. I have to admit that I didn't much care for that.

Anyway, I was just trying to help everyone see the glass as half full instead of half empty. I guess I was trying to lift spirits a little. I have enjoyed your critiques, and comments for a good while now. Please don't be offended by my memories and ramblings.

To everyone else, I still love winter, even if I can't afford a snow-mobile and my wife hates the cold. It's just me I guess.

Thomas; Be assured, that every story I write, is thouroughly proofread and spell-checked. I don't proofread the postings I place here do to a general lack of time. My first novel is in its eighth revision now. It has been proofread by myself and no less than four other well-read and highly educated persons. I am a firm believer in the phrase; "writing is 10% inspiration and 90% persperation". I type at about 45 words/min. but do make quite a few typos. Sorry about the typos and gramatical errors.

Hope everyone has great success with their writing this season.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Thomas Sun Jan 10 10:14:40 PST 1999

SKS, Goodweed, all,

There is a lot of truth in what SKS says, especially about the callous nature of a few comments Goodweed made. And although the description of winter in that piece is pollyanna-ish, I say, "each to his own".

On the plus side, the writing shows a flair for fantasy, yet I personally have trouble with the grammaticals and spelling, but that is the frustrated editor inside me speaking.

Anyway, I propose there was something in Goodweed's winter piece for everyone -- good and bad -- and that we move on to the subject of writing.

S.K.S. Perry Sun Jan 10 05:55:13 PST 1999

Yes Goodweed, that was a beautiful description of winter, but as far as I'm concerned it was just so much sentimentalist drivel. I like sledding, scultpting and snowball fights as much as the next guy, and making snow angels and pitching my buddies into the snow can be a real hoot, but it gets tired really fast, so excuuuuuse me it the things that I enjoy doing consistantly--like downhill skiing and snowmobiling--cost money. Besides, I think that months of shovelling snow, mulitiple car accidents, people freezing to death, coats-hats-boots-gloves-scarves, no sunshine, cabin fever, frostbite, dirty snow, slush, window scraping,flu and colds, ect, ect. ad nauseum are just a little too high of price to pay for the odd snowball fight or snow angel.

And to say that if you don't like winter just move is oversimplification. That's like saying if you don't like your boss just kill him. Who needs friends and family and a forty thousand plus a year career, daddy's cold kids, so we're moving. And by the by, I am Canadian, so there's a definate shortage of warm tropical climates for us to relocate to.

I realise everyone is entitiled to their own opinion, but that doesn't mean you should be callous or demeaning to mine just for the sake of writing something beautiful.

Allein Sat Jan 9 19:24:24 PST 1999

Goodweed - It sounds like that was a terrific winter. The way you described it, I could picture it in my head. :)

Take care, all,

Rhoda Sat Jan 9 18:22:13 PST 1999


Beautiful description. You should take those wonderful memories and incorporate them in your writing. It is hard to do that when you write science fiction and fantasy. After reading that rendition of ice-fishing with your wife, I would incourage you to try a new genre, romance.

Seriously, you almost convinced me that winter was wonderful.

Happy writing!


Lena Sat Jan 9 15:37:25 PST 1999

<> Goodweed, beautiful! You've almost made me forget my cold toes. Ah, I assume that when you go ice fishing with your spouse and you're all alone in that nice warm ice shack, of course you play bingo. Am I right? I knew it! So that's the secret of the Adult Conspiracy! AHA!!!

Glad she's finally figured The Big Secret out,

Goodweed of the North Sat Jan 9 14:15:50 PST 1999

Winter holds wonderful memories of sledding in any of the numerous deep & steep gravel pits in the area where I live. It was a magic time of snowball fights, skating (mostly on road ice in hard soled shoes because of weak ankles back then), snowmobiling, snow forts... It was a time when you could walk to an empty field in the deep woods, find yourself in complete isolation, and watch brilliant sunlight turn the snow crystals into a zillion diamonds, or look at truly unspoiled land covered by perfect snow, framed by gargantuan, leafless trees, thrusting thier bare branches toward the sky. It's a time to follow the tracks of a tiny mouse accross the snow to discover its den. It's a time of snowy owls, crows, and the mournful, lonely voice of the raven, and the always uplifting chick-a-dee-dee-dee of the chickadee. Ever wonder why they call wintergreen by that name. Dig through the snow, to the ground. You will find, if you are lucky, the ever-present shiny-green leaf of the wintergreen. Pick some, fire up the Coleman stove, melt some snow in a pot, add the leaves, and voilla, wintergreen tee. Ice-fishing is great fun when you take a freind or partner. If the fish are not biting, and you are the only ones out on the ice, (we often went out during storms. The ice shack was warm) well, let your imagination decide what you will do. With my freinds, it was always something like seeing who could run the furthest accross the ice in bare-feet and no shirt for braggin' rights, or the modest bet of a buck or two. With your spouse,...
Winter doesn't have to be doom and gloom. It doesn't require money to enjoy. When is the last time you tried sculpting. The only tools necessary are a bucket of frozen water, of course the ice must be removed, a hammer, and some simple wood chisles. Have you tried it. Can be fun if you are artistic. Ever take two chunks of snow for the boundaries of a goal and play hockey in the driveway? Basketball isn't the only sport in the land.

Have you lain on the snow, face toward the clouds, with your children, or your freinds and made snow angels yet?

There is no more fun in the entire world than dragging a buddy, kicking and hollering, into a snowbank.

I needn't go on. Life is what you make of it, whether in the dead of winter, or the warmth of summer. And if all else fails, if you truly hate the cold, use it as an excuse to stay inside and write.

If none of the above gets rid of your angst about winter, move.

We are creative people here in this cyber-site. Let's use that creativity.

I love winter, summer, fall, and apring. They each have their own magic. You just have to know where to look.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

S.K.S. Perry Sat Jan 9 13:50:50 PST 1999

In case you were wondering, that last post was mine. Even if you weren't wondering, it was still mine.

Sat Jan 9 12:01:27 PST 1999

Hey all,

Winter has gotten serious here. It didn't snow at all until January 4th, and now it hasn't stopped. I have to shovel our driveway at least twice a day, three if you count when the plow goes by and fills in all the work I've done. I've applied for the position of the guy who hides around the corner and signals the snowplow when you've just finished doing your driveway and gone inside. I hear the pay sucks, but there's a lot of job satisfaction.

I'm a serious summer person. Winter really gets me down--the grey days, cold weather and dead trees depress me no end. I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if I could afford to do all the fun winter things, like snowmobile or ski, but alas, no funds, no fun. Not only that, but I actually went through the ice when I was a kid and got dragged downstream. I managed to find a shallow spot where I could touch bottom and hammered my way up through four inch thick ice. Then I had to walk two miles home in 18 degree Farenhiet cold. I have no idea what the wind chill factor was, but I'm certain if I had have stopped for any reason, I would never have made it. As you can imagine, I have a terrible aversion to being cold.

So any of you out there who are missing winter, you're more than welcome to mine.

Be Well, Live Well.

Rachel Sat Jan 9 11:12:56 PST 1999

Hi all.

All this talk of snow gave me snow dreams last night. I live in British Columbia, Canada. In the lowermainland and we do not get much snow. I in my dream was into the wild snowball fight. It was really fun. Ducked down behind our three foot snowbank with dozens of pre made balls. It was fun, love fun dreams.

All this talk of summer, has got me thinking about my spring garden. Which due to the mild climate here will be happening before I know it. I just started to garden last year. I enjoyed it a great deal and did much more that I ever anticipated. Who'd of thunk a garden could get so expensive?

Got a phone message the other day about a highschool reunion its to be our thirteen year reunion. As thirteen has always been a lucky number for me I think that I just may attend. Tell me does anyone else think its a little odd to have a thriteen year reunion?

Take care all


Thomas Sat Jan 9 10:58:43 PST 1999


When I receive the tax bill from different governments I simply send them each a special poem; they accept it as payment.

S.N.Arly Sat Jan 9 07:31:54 PST 1999

I am a complete and total mutt! Got a little Celt, a little Welsh, bit of German, Russian (though it was called Prussia back then), Boheme… I don't dare tell culturally degrading jokes because I just may be slamming myself.

Lena - Are you SURE we’re not twins? Cold toes, cold fingers...

Jack - Life was easier as a child because we hadn’t figured out what we were supposed to hate (other than vegetables)and what we were supposed to like (other than sugar).

Wish I could afford to attend the conference. Alas poor me. Literally.

"We thjought you were dead."
"I was. I'm better now."

S.K.S. Perry Sat Jan 9 07:31:20 PST 1999

Hey all,

Just to set things straight, I believe I said I was a child of the world. If I were a citizen of the world, the taxes would kill me.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Sat Jan 9 06:24:33 PST 1999


I lived in Iran from 1973-75, and you are right. From that experience, and from extensive traveling afterwards, I have learned the basic similarity among peoples of all places. That is when I established the belief that I am a citizen of the world. It is also the time I began to write in ernest, especially history, to show how connected we all really are.

Hey all, I got a great rememberance of summer yesterday when I came home from four hours of getting the car serviced and food shopping. It was snowing wildly, close to six inches on the ground, and there in the driveway was my tractor.

The tractor was out for repairs and was supposed to stay there until spring, but the repair people decided to drop it off as soon as they finished with it (and they never called me either).

So I fired the tractor up to let it warm up a bit while I went to open the barn door. But the barn door was frozen shut, what with the ice of the past week, and the six inches of snow made it that much more difficult to unfreeze the door. So I drove the tractor to the parking space in front of the house, dug out a tarp that was buried in snow, covered the tractor with the tarp, threw rocks that I had to pry out of the ice over the tarp to hold it down, brought the groceries inside through the snow, dropped the groceries in the kitchen, went back outside to shovel the snow from the driveway and to park the car and then went back inside to curse the winter and, as Howard says, to look at my first seed order which had arrived in the day's mail.

I can see green pastures, tall stalks of garlic and shallots and, hey, it's the first tomato of the season. I can smell the thyme, the lavender, the oregano and the horseradish. I can even smell the newly mewn grass that lies piled near the compost heap. (I think I ought to stop taking these pills the doctor gave me for pain after I wrenched my back shoveling snow!)


Don't feel bad about the shameless plug; you earn your keep and you deserve the plug.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Jan 9 01:38:59 PST 1999

This is a shameless plug for a science fiction convention I am web master for. However, for those who are interested, here are the details for the writers workshop that will precede Westercon52 in Spokane, Washington. I am definitely going to attend. The critical point here is that this is now how to write, but how to be successful in the profession of writing. Also, on Thursday night before the convention there is also a boat ride around Couer de Laine Lake. Quite beutiful actually. Not sure if I am going to do that one, however. If any plan to attend please let me know and maybe we can arrange to touch bases.

June 30-July 1, 1999 - Westercon 52 Professional Writers Conference - Kristine Kathryn Rusch & Dean Wesley Smith will be running their famous Professional Writers' Conference just before Empire Con on June 30th and July 1st. Dubbed "the Kris & Dean Show" by Locus magazine, they have the country doing this workshop to share their many inside secrets and hard-won experience on becoming a professional writer. Cost is $75 for just the conference, $100 if you wish to pay for a full attending membership also. This includes lunch both days and a movie Wednesday night. Contact the convention directly via email at for more details.