Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From November 1, 1996 to December 14, 1996

Jonnie Sat Dec 14 15:47:45 PST 1996

Howdy!I really appreciate your warm welcome and the jargon of writing intellects. I'm beginning to feel like the patient just coming out from under anesthesia with versed on broad, wondering where I am and what I'm doing here.You're way over my head in certain areas, but I'm trying to be like a duck-calm on the surface but paddling like crazy under the water.
Harrison-which name do you prefer? Harry or Harrison? I sort of like Harry, but only because I'm very fond of the only Harry I've ever known. (Don't tell Sherrie.) I'm looking forward to Dec. 16th. can't you hurry?
Ben, Rec. your story, thanks; I enjoyed it very much, what part I could read. The right side was cut off in places and some of the last sentences in the ends of the paragraphs were missing.Try Again?
What's this about not watching the strippers? Come now, Ben, what are you reading us? A bedtime story? Surely you don't expect grown women to believe that.
Ditto, Brit, on the morning breakfast. How can your poor brain function on that? Feed your stomach something more substantial so it can send O.K. messages to your brain.
Harrison, I agree, always keep your reader in mind. Too bad that often the reader and the publisher don't seem to communicate on this.
I want more of Aaron Shoemaker, Philip. Great work. I've been swimming through the workbook. Trying to be encouraged. Seems to me everyone of you had to start at ground zero at one time or another. So I'll just keep plugging along and hope I can catch up.
Charles, your titles have my undevided attention. Will wait for their arrival in the the states.
Ah, Ben, forgot to mention that I have my story, or I should say my dad's story all mixed up. When I was home with him, my mother-in-law had just died. She was the best mother-in-love in the world. Taught me a great deal that I use with my own daughter-in-love. At any rate, I must not have listened too closely when my dad mentioned it. I called him last night, and he asked me if I was going to use it in a story. Maybe, dad, just maybe. The family is Barby, lived in Wellington, N. Z., not Australia. Sorry. They had one son and two daughters, or the other way around. Kitty, I'd love to have the title of your book on locating people. I've just lost contact with a college friend-crazy in her own right, and I want to find her.I'm sure there's more I could say, but will leave some space for someone else.Good-bye for now, I'm late. I'm late for a very important date.

trudy Sat Dec 14 06:24:06 PST 1996

Hi everyone, I tried posting here the other day but my computer kept crashing so finally gave up. Hopefully I'll have better luck today.

Congratulations all on the good news you are receiving. It's fabulous when people succeed at what they want most.

Ben don't worry about not having responded to the children's story I sent you. I know everyone is busy and appreciated your trying. To all who did respond thanks; it was most helpful and I will let you all know how the process went...I think successfully; I'm filled with ideas on rewriting Bossy.

Welcome Harrison. I think that was in the post that never was. And if anyone else is new and I've neglected to welcome you, it's not intentional.

Britomart, enjoy the break. Read books you've always wanted to read; go for long drives and walks; just sit and daydream; write some letters; write in a journal; relax, relax, relax; and just enjoy the break. Happy holidays now if you don't get to pop in around Christmas.

I know there are a million other things I should be responding to but as per usual I'm rushed so must go. The light is at the end of the tunnel though as far as extreme amounts of work at the workplace. I must say I've found it exceptionally challenging.

Will try to return soon. Trudy

Ben Woestenburg Sat Dec 14 01:09:27 PST 1996


I can't believe all the great news for everybody all at once. It looks like it has the possibility of being a very merry Christmas for all of us. I've spent the last two nights trying to get back on line, and I managed. You were right KITTY, when something goes wrong you start to learn all sorts of things. I just hope I haven't totally screwed it up and accidently lost some of his files...

Anyway, it's great to be able to hit the keyboard again. The wife's been doing all sorts of Christmas baking and insists I be there and support her. (Use the corkscrew and twist open the bottles of homemade wine she's been brewing up with the neighbor.)I've got to love this time of year, but this is when I get Dom DeLuis disease. I just eat and bloat out with beer and wine and stuffing and the snacks...I'm gaining pounds just thinking about it.

Now I know you all want a copy of this story, and all want the first one, but you have to wait until I have a couple of spare moments tomorrow and teach myself how to tackle that ASCII stuff. I mean they make these things idiot proof right? But SHERRIE got hers, and I can't understand why it never works the same way twice for me. I hope you like it, and feel free to say anything you want.

And Harrison. I just been sitting here and staring at the screen for a few seconds trying to think of what to say about everything you wrote last night. I'm amazed. Impressed as equally as Sherrie was. You were kind enough to ask me for a copy, and I'd like to thank you for your kind words people obviously see a lot more in my words than I do. (Thank God you can't see me blushing.)

PHILLIP: Thanks for you kind inspiration. I started up MY computer yesterday, and this morning, and opened it up to page one. It's so refreshing to come back and look at it after the last two months. I'd been looking at this thing for so long, changed it so many different times and different ways, it's time I just wrote it, or at least finished it. It'll be up at the crack of dawn and taking the bull by the horns for me. Of course, I was up at that time this morning and now it's 1:00 a.m. which may explain why I'm rambling. Oh yes and PHILLIP, thanks for the idea about the 'kid market'. My wife just smiled at me and asked why we hadn't thought of that. I just shrugged.

JACK: You're working yourself rattled and getting confused!
Stop working suck long hours. You have worse hours than I do! It would be different if we we in different time zones, so get some sleep and try to take a break for an hour or two!


Sherrie Fri Dec 13 21:45:48 PST 1996

I'm back. The dinner went well; must have been a good mystery, as only one teen figured it out. It was that one piece of evidence--the theater ticket--that gave it away (whew! ;-) . . . it ain't fun if no one can solve it)
BRIT: I hope you're still there. You sound absolutely poured out, girl. I find it helps to get out of the house--and no fair taking a laptop with you. Go for a few days (or as long as a starving studen can afford). Answer no phones. Meet no schedules. Distract yourself with anything but writing, research, and analysis. Good luck!
CHARLES: Great news on the film "treatment." You're energy and resiliency (did I butcher that word?) is amazing. What do you hear about agents?
BEN: I apologize. Haven't finished your Cindy story but probably will, tonight. Will you send me your short story, as well? I like your stuff!
PHILIP: Congrats on the agents. Keep us informed. As for the radio station plot, that's just the thing; I'm not entirely certain about it, just yet. I mean, I know what was in the proposal I sent the publisher, but I'm still tweaking it a little. I'll give you an answer in a few days, when I have more time and can speak without stuttering. [A dear friend alerted me that I was doing that, today. This bit of news must have really knocked me on my pockets. I probably have in excess of 10,000 hours at a michrophone. Do you have any idea what it takes to make me stutter!?]
EVERYONE: I received a virtual long-stemmed red rose tonight from a colleague at the office who's been cheering me on in the book thing. You have to see this sight. Go to You can send free flowers of congratulations or whatever to anyone who has e-mail access.
And since she may stop in to check the site ('cause I told her about us), publicly . . . THANX, PAM. You're very kind, and you're opinion matters more than you know. (You see, Pam is somewhat of a local legend when it comes to writing/editing for the toughest of audiences/customers--scientists and engineers. ;-) )
Now, I'm somewhat of an emotional creature, and this day's demand has emptied me to a shadow. Thanx everybody. See you tomorrow.

Britomart Fri Dec 13 18:33:40 PST 1996


I have finished my edit, but now my wrists refuse to do any more work - curse RSI! Also, while on the surface I may appear to be a cheerful bubbly thing, I'm actually a seething miasma of all things dark and desperate - ie. I have lost the plot and I didn't even feel it slipping away. I guess I just did too much this year.

So I am going into enforced hibernation from my PC (ie. my partner is going to remove a vital cable and not let me have it back until I've had a holiday - btw, can anybody here advise me on how to have a holiday?)

I will miss you all!

Congratulations Sherrie on being a soon-to-be-contracted writer; congratulations Charles on writing a notable screenplay; congratulations Ben on intuiting how to write a multi-layered narrative; congratulations Phil on your imminent OS success; and congratulations everybody else on continuing to plug away at the grindingly difficult but ultimately alchemical task of making meaning.

One last thing - I WILL RETURN (in February, maybe).

Much love
BRITOMART the tired and teary

Philip Fri Dec 13 17:17:10 PST 1996

SHERRIE: fantastic! Up you go gal... don't ask to pee in my toilet. Tell us more about the radio plot. Great news.

Back soon - Philip.

Philip Fri Dec 13 17:11:30 PST 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: ... jingle bells.

CHARLES will forgive me if I tell you he has written what I think is an excellent film treatment based on his next book. He recently emailed me his rough draft. If we push him he might be persuaded to send those interested the final draft - clever, clever work indeed.

Again publicly, BEN has written an intelligent and witty ten-to-teen's short story and sent me a draft copy. This work typifies what we all knew would come from Ben. His story has the scope to take adults like myself along with pre-teens readers to that other magical place in fantasy. Publishers will positively snap this up. Well done, mate!

HARRISON: - ) really... a pissing contest? I looked back in the Notebook and read where I politely asked a fellow writer, new to the group, to tell us about his work. (Continental cross culture, cross wires, similar language: must be an American macho thing... maybe if I were female?)

Mate, your work sounds fascinating and, by all accounts, lucrative - the best combination. Dare I ask for more about the Children's books and your pen names - no - someone else can do that.

I've always delighted in the inventiveness of colloquial expressions. This particular 'pissing' gem for instance makes one wonder how women writers fare in Texas when asked about their books - but please nobody tell me, I'm not asking. The present acidic puddle has fouled the air enough.

You're right Harrison, Thomas Keneally was lecturing in the US but is home now. He lives about a mile from us at Bilgola Beach in a big house overlooking the ocean. Apart from writing two new stories at the same time he is busy heading a massive republican push for Australia.

And no, I don't think I'm the only one who can read subtext...

MY BIG NEWS: I now have two well known US agents wanting to represent my stuff internationally - so now begins a whole new, exciting, real life chapter for me... WOO HOO!

Back soon - Philip.

Sherrie Fri Dec 13 13:38:58 PST 1996

HARRISON: Impreeeesive. And you confirm my suspicions--it's not the visible stuff that pays (and this applies to more areas than just writing); it's the subtle, not-often-thought-of markets that feed the multitudes.
EVERYONE ELSE: Very exciting news. Agent Kathy phoned today; we will get an offer by the end of next week--a two-book deal--on the completed historical and the hardly-started radio station story. What a Christmas present. I'm in shock.
I'm also rushed. That mystery dinner I wrote is tonight, and I'm not only starting our little sleuths on the trail of the thief, but our house is the first course--finger food. For teens, that means chips and dips, but I still have to shift the clutter and set up the crime scene. See you tomorrow!

Harrison Rose Thu Dec 12 23:08:12 PST 1996

Hello all,
Another rainy day here in the East. I believe it has now broken the record for the most rain in a single year. I hope we don't have the snow we had last winter.

Philip: Why do I get the feeling you are inviting me to engage in what Texans colorfully call a pissing contest? As I see it, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference what a person has done so much as what he is and where he's heading. I judge people on attitude, not accomplishment, and always expect that they will do great things eventually. I hope you feel the same way.

Now since you insist, I will tell you that my print work was done primarily in the 60s. All juveniles, all done under a variety of pen names (I had the notion that I should "save" my real name for the serious adult works which I was sure I would write someday) and all long out of print. Also a bundle of articles and short stories (for those ubiquitous little magazines) and even a ream or two of poems. I was publishing and teaching and starving.

Then the opportunity came to do some scripting. It clicked and I never looked back. I fell gratefully to my knees and worshiped Mammon. It was wonderful. It is wonderful! I began earning thousands a week writing --- gasp -- industrials. Oh yes, my li'try friends shunned me. I was no longer invited to their teas. No longer asked to review their painful exposes of childhood traumas masquerading as fiction.

But what did I care? I finally learned the meaning of life: screw art. Grab the cash and run.

And run I did. I have written so many industrials (for those who don't know, scripting is divided into entertainment features and "all the rest" known collectively as industrials) I have lost count. Well over 300. And that would count only the original versions. My production company (which eventually became MY production company, as in "I own it now") developed a clever little marketing scheme that allowed me to keep the rights to the industrials, selling generic and modified versions to other companies (with a royalty back to the original "sponsoring" company.) Quite lucrative. Each original would eventually translate into a dozen modified versions (minor rescripting and reshooting) and into hundreds or thousands of sales as off-the-shelf products.

My client list is (or rather was, I should say, since I am now all but completely retired) the cream of the Fortune 500. I will name just a few: ATT, IBM, ARCO, SUN, WR GRACE, Commonwealth Edison, Campbell Soup, General Electric, Hughes, and on and on, including Uncle Sam himself.

The list prints up to more than a full page -- and that's just the primary's, not the off the shelf clients.

Some notable achievements: In '83 I wrote a program for Campbell Soup to help them deal with a problem they had with high incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome in certain plants. That program became a mega-bestseller, won several awards (the names wouldn't mean beans to you, I'm sure, unless you also work in industrials) and most important, was a motive force in creating an awareness of repetitive motion injuries in the workplace. In 1983 hardly anyone except a few industrial hygienists knew about the problem. Now everyone does, or at least I hope they do.

Another fun achievement: At one time in the mid-80s, all the health and safety training programs in all the GE plants in North America were written by me.

I was also well known as a writer to turn to for industrials dealing with environmental issues. After Bhophal, Union Carbide Canada came to me to help with a problem up there.
And so it went.

My favorite company to work for was AT&T. My old friends there, all now retired, were products of the monopoly days and had no regard for saving money. We used to go jetting around the country "on research." (Yeah, researh. grin We once flew to San Francisco to research how cable was being pulled ... and also to try out a new restaurant they had heard about. They were pulling cable in Philly, too, but who wants to eat there?)

My least favorite company was Texaco. I laughed when I heard the news a few weeks ago. They were the most racist, dirty dealing bigots I had ever run into. Second least favorite: IBM. They were the most arrogant. I used to charge IBM 20% more than my standard rates just to get even for putting up with their attitude.

And so it goes. There. Now, Philip, go and darken my door never more with these questions about achievements. I can piss with the best of them.

And you still didn't tell me what you thought of Kinnealy's Flying Hero Class. (I knew "Mutant Message" was a hoot.. I just wanted to get a rise out of you. grin Did you think you were the only one who could read subtexts?)

By the way, is Mr. K in Australia again? I can never figure out where he lives. Wasn't he teaching in the US somewhere recently?

Philip Thu Dec 12 18:28:02 PST 1996


HARRISON: subtext - being alert to subtext is something I've learned having lived in England for a while, not to mention living with an Englishwoman for twenty four years and working with playwrights and producers for most of my life. I was sucked in by your new boy's dangling question, not quite knocked off my feet, also I was intrigued by what you've written (books, films, TV) and about prizes won. Come on old mate, give us the proper run down. And yes I agree with you, writers should keep one eye on our reader as we gush forth.

You may be interested to know, earlier this year I was honoured to be invited to join the Pittwater Writers group, we are writers who live in the northern beaches area of Sydney who come out of isolation and meet once a month for long lunches to compare notes and concerns and we stage our own annual festival (which is open to the public). Notable in our group are Morris West and Thomas Keneally.

Mutant Message Downunder by Marlo Morgan was originally self-published as non fiction. For those who don't know, the book was her own account about getting naked in the desert with a mystical, lost tribe of aborigines and learning their ways - the old, secret, primitive-keys-to-life trick. It was amazingly successful before HarperCollins picked it up (for a reported million dollars). Problem: none of what she wrote was true. Lawyers for the publishers panicked when they found this out and finally they agreed to release it as fiction. It is a fairytale, insulting to Aboriginal Australia. Even her geography, flora and fauna are well out.

Sorry, I don't know the virtual Aboriginal art gallery you write about. Did you bookmark it?

To answer another of your questions, I have written about Australian Aboriginality in all my work thus far, exploring our indigenous and European peoples and cultures, past and present. You may not know the real history of Australia has been well hidden and present day issues are still skilfully swept aside. So I shine bright lights on what I uncover in my research using popular fiction. The history I was taught at school in Australia was a sanitised version that suited our overwhelming, homophobic, Anglo-Saxon population. I always thought the publication and teaching of selected history was something reserved for totalitarian states? But change is in the wind: last month I was invited to join a curriculum advisory committee for the humanities at one of Australia's largest universities - the honorary appointment is for the next three years and I've accepted.

KITTY: it's good to see you're back and in fine form. I didn't pick up before that you're from Quebec - you must parlé some Francais... oui. When I lived in Edmonton eighteen years ago, I worked in a unique Canadian film production team (the only one in the west) that made films for CBC French Canada - I was the only person who did not speak the language but I made every effort. To say I tried the patience of all within earshot would be an understatement - they chose to speak English whenever they saw me approaching. I got back at them on the phone, though. Good times.

Back soon - Philip.

Kitty Dwyer edwyer@spherenet Thu Dec 12 08:07:16 PST 1996

Jonnie and Sherrie, here is the bio though if you look in the Workbook, Philip did a nice job of collating the information the last time we did this. But here it goes in the new format...
Name: Kitty Dwyer
Locale: Hudson, Quebec, Canada
Family: husband: Ted, soulmate, works in high-tech computer graphics; children: Caitlin and Jack, bright, beautiful and always perfectly behaved, both are in school; four-legged companions: Nanny the very old Great Dane and T. C. the very neurotic Dalmatian.
Job (day and night): wife and mother, writer
Published: newspaper features and column
Current Focus: getting back into the habit of writing every day, elliminating the extraneous and concentrating on the essential.
Works in Progress: collaborating on a mystery and a historical

Jonnie, I have a book somewhere on how to find people written by a female private investigator who specializes in this sort of thing. I'll go root about the books, if you like and pass the info on to you. Should be available at the local lilbrary and it is in paperback too.
Sherrie, I'd love to read a chapter of your book. Maybe I would understand the genre more. Perhaps you could recommend some good, in your opinion, Christian Fiction writers. Oh, and the Radio Story too please. But will I need a secret decoder ring to understand the radio lingo?! As to the question of men and their thinking processes, I'm about as clueless as Henry Higgins was about Eliza. Have you read Susan Isaacs After All These Years or listened to the Dr Laura Schlessinger Radio Show. These may provide some enlightenment. Otherwise, you've got me thinking.
Ben followed your essay on the he/she thinks until the last paragraph at which point, methinks you protest too much! If all you want to do is play pool, get you to a poolhall and ignore the biker babes. What is it with men and strip joints and "invisible" strippers? Anyway, you have a humorous style when writing about male /female relations--I was reminded of Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. Most definitely looking forward to the pleasure of one day meetng Renu and am feeling very sorry for myself that I live on the East Coast and a Chinese lobster dinner is not a drive away. Would be happy to read Cindy and Her Sisters, if you care to wing it this way.
Bob, I still don't know who Zeus' youngest daughter is. Will I be forced to watch the New Adventures of Hercules til she makes a guest appearance? I promise you and Ben I will not notice any rippling male physiques, I'll concentrate on the beautiful New Zealand landscape. Or I could go crack open the Bulfinch. I do agree with you regarding the name and am very aware of how much thought is put into the names of graphic boards like the Mystique or Millenium.
Britomart, congratulations on the marks and the imminent completion of revision. However, I am concerned about your choice of breakfast foods. Coco Pops is not brain food! If you must have a first-thing-in-the-morning chocolate fix, try some pain au chocolat and a cappucino.
Charles, let us know what happens with the query to McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
Deb, have you read any Lois McMaster Bujold? She's my favorite sci-fi author and her series is set in a universe she created.
Harrison, welcome. Both Harrsion and Cortland are strong names--I'm sure that romance writers have used both quite a lot. However, wasn't Harry Rose Fanny Brice's second husband and a promoter of those water ballet extravaganzas? And I am wondering what "deadly quiet places" you have been to of late. Haven't been to your site yet, saving it for dessert as Bob would say.
Catch y'all later.

Lisa Nickles Wed Dec 11 23:30:42 PST 1996

Unfortunately I'veleft myself no time to comment tonight, but I'll throw up my bio for now.

NAME: Lisa Nickles
LOCALE: Amityville (Long Island), NY
DAY JOB: Federal Officer with USDA
FAMILY: Husband- Kyle, 4 children- 11,8,4,1, One cat, one dog
PUBLISHED: Work for Government newsletters.
CURRENT FOCUS: editing first draft of novel
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: fantasy novel, several short stories, poetry collection

So now you know. :-)

Ben Woestenburg Wed Dec 11 23:08:03 PST 1996

I've just spent a rather frustarting evening with attempts at e-mailing and transcribing and blah...blah...blah. I'll just have to try and figure it out in the morning.
BRITO: just wanted to say I can't find ASCII text here anywhere, but I know it can be encoded somewhere, same goes for you Jack. I spent most of the night trying to send it to you. I got myself lost and found so many times I don't know which way is up anymore. I downloaded the Eudora, but you'll have to mail me with further instructions. I think, and I'm not sure about this, I'm hoping I stopped it in time, but I think I almost mailed you the entire download. Wouldn't that have been a neat surprise?
Anyways, I'm lost, confused, tired and going to bed. See you at 5:00 a.m.

Jennifer Wed Dec 11 20:37:57 PST 1996

Hello everyone.. I just popped in to say Hi and let you know I'm working on a great project and when I finish my first chapter I will let you see it. I've taken all that neg. energy I had and turned it into this wonderful story.. I'll be catching up soon.

Harrison Rose Wed Dec 11 20:04:01 PST 1996

Back again to check up on mail etc before turning in for the night. Just read over what I wrote earlier this day. Apologize for the numerous typos. I must learn to slow down and not be so sloppy as I am when working on first drafts. (My usual writing method is to write furiously fast and then edit the heck out of it later. Unfortunately I haven't been able to figure out if there is a way to write to the Notebook offline and then upload it later. (Is there? That would be a convenience.)

Philip, sucked in by a subtext? Egads, my good man, you must be a mere wisp of a lad to be knocked off your feet so easily. (grin) But then isn't that the key to entertaining writing: creating curiosity and then measuring out the suspense until you satisfy it?

Too many new writers too long schooled by high school English teachers think that the key to writing lies in elegant or fine description or, less awful, breathless action. They focus soley on the story and forget that the real game is about the reader.

I was/am intrigued by your background, Philip. I've had many Australian friends over the years, both here and there, but never met anyone with aborigine heritage. Fascinating. Just last week I discovered a site on the web in Australia, some museum in the middle of nowhere whose name escapes me for the moment, which has the most wonderful collection of aborigine art on "virtual" exhibit. Do you know the place I am referring to?

Do your books deal with the cultural conflicts between aborigine peoples and the English? I confess a weakness for Thomas Keneally. Flying Hero Class was a delight and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith equally interesting. (I think it also amazing that an Australian has written one of the best Civil War novels I have ever written.) Isn't it ironic that Schindler's List was such a big hit and 9 out of 10 people probably think Spielberg originated it.

It would be great fun later in the season to do something on the FicTech page comparing your work with Keneally - the native view vs the "alien." Or just for fun, throw in a third book -- Mutant Message Down Under (Marlo Morgan). Have you seen that one? It's a strange one.

Well, running off at the fingers again, I am. So I had best say goodnight.

Oh yes, to answer your question: Mackinac Island is the setting of my little mystery. I need to find out if a certain cave on the island is big enough to hide bodies in.
(Such pleasant thoughts before dreaming.)

Philip Wed Dec 11 15:08:51 PST 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: just back to share a gem... check it out.

Back soon - Philip.

Sherrie Wed Dec 11 14:57:49 PST 1996

BEN: Your brother is WRONG! Everyone is NOT the same size in bed. Trust me on this--and that's all I'll say. ;-) Oh, and thanks for the "Where are you?" I was being quiet because I'd assumed I'd been talking too much, again. I tend to be a life-of-the-party, too.
HARRISON: (Sorry, I just adore that name too much to call you Harry--besides, "Harry" is my husband.) About your grandfather changing everyone's names--you're living proof, my man, that fact is stranger than fiction. I would imagine if any of us would have written that a manuscript, some narrow-nosed editor would have said, "That's simply not credible; write it out!" (Applause, applause)
CHARLES: Sorry you don't care for the bio format as well, but thanks for playing anyway. You're a good boy.
Well, it's afternoon, I finally STARTED my Christmas shopping--actually bought two gifts (and one for myself)--and I'm several paragraphs into chapter 4 of the radio station story, so I'm gonna get back to it. That, and I received BEN'S story; get to read that. I'll check in before bed. See ya.

Philip Wed Dec 11 14:50:41 PST 1996

HARRISON: I've been to Sault Sainte Marie near Mackinac Island - why did you ask? Is it the setting for your mystery? Maybe it's the title of a previous book, film or TV show? Or could you possibly be from there originally (do people live there)?? Indigenous people, French trappers, Hudson Bay Trading, mmm? See, now you've created yet another mystery... I'm sucked in by your subtext.

JONNIE: email me the name and any details of your father's lost friends and I'll set to sleuthing.

Back soon - Philip

Wed Dec 11 13:45:23 PST 1996

Here's a bio according to the suggested format. I think these non-fiction CV's are much less compelling than when they were 500-word steams of consciousness... but here it is anyway... ;)

NAME: Charles Samuel

LOCALE: Jerusalem, Israel

DAY JOB: Philosophy Lecturer, Counsellor

FAMILY: Wife Laurie. She is my best fan, critic and is my publisher and promoter here in Israel. We met and were married in Toronto and moved to Israel in 1983 where we are raising our kids who range in age from 4 1/2 - 12 years old.

PUBLISHED: MISSILES, MASKS & MIRACLES - The Astonishing True Account of the Invisible Shield Protecting Israel During the Gulf War (1993, 1994 in Israel) North American release by Leviathan Press in June 1997. Russian edition published in 1995 by KEST/LEBOVITZ. THE JERUSALEM CONSPIRACY (Novel) (Providence House 1995 and 1996)

CURRENT FOCUS: Currently seeking North American publisher for THE JERUSALEM CONSPIRACY and am looking for a good agent to represent my work in general.

PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: A second novel, an archeological thriller. Planning stages for three more novels and two non-fiction books.

Harrison Rose Wed Dec 11 08:54:20 PST 1996

Hello all.
Thanks for the friendly welcome.

JACK - This is really a great place you've got here: friendly crowd, focused discussions, the right blend of work and play. And all those other areas you've got posted -- the links and info sheets, etc. It's obvious a lot of work went into this site.
As for FicTech NetEZine, it's really just the result of a series of exchanges made recently on the mystery newsgroup. Some people were lamenting the fact that there was rarely any discussion of technique or serious reviews of the books. So FicTech is a way of addressing that issue. I thought a limit to discussing only mystery fiction was too narrow a focus, so I thought it would be fun to include the whole spectrum of fiction.
Never one to turn down a challenge, like Tarzan, I leaped before I looked. Naturally I know zip nil nada about HTML and only started using the web a bare six weeks ago. Designing pages is a real challenge. But quite a bit of fun. I heartily recommend it to all. (Incidentally the pages on Geocities are free, if you'd like to give it a try. They give you 2 megs storage. There are content limitations, as you might expect, none of that naughty stuff -- and no commercialism or sales pitches.) The one drawback to Geocities is that you get the site withing seconds of your application -- but you have to put something up within a week or you lose the space. Which is why you will see a blatant preview of FicTech at the site now instead of the real thing. I didn't know when I applied that I had to put something up that quickly. Oh well, live and learn... die and forget it all, I say.

Thanks again for nice comments about the page. Sherrie, the name is real. Harrison has been a family name for generations. (On my father's side) I know it was the name of one of my great-uncles. Back in the Victorian days I think it was quite the fashion to name kids using the last names of in-laws or some such thing. I was lucky. Harrison Rose sounds okay. You can call me Harry. My cousin was not so lucky: Cortland Rose. Poor Corty.

Mom was very concerned with names. My mother was in the fourth grade when one day the teacher calling roll asked for Jean Welsh. No one replied. The teacher called the name again and pointed to my startled mother. "You are Jean Welsh. Answer when your name is called."

Poor mom. My grandparents forget to tell her that they were having their names changed. They had notified the parish priest and the shcool... but not their own kids.

My mother's name was Concetta Gugliuccello before the sudden switch. In Italian the Gugli is pronounced something like "Gwee" but in English it comes out like "GooGlee". Gramppa was at wits end when that song came out... you know... Barney Google with the Goo Goo Goolie Eyes... He had to do something. They were driving him crazy at work.

His revenge was sweet. He changed every name in the family... to the match the names of his boss's family. So mom not had a new last name but a new first one as well.

I don't think she every got over it. She always seemed to hesitate a moment before she called any of us kids by name... just to be sure she had it right.

And on that note, I'll end.

Harry Rose

PS: Greetings from the Jersey suburbs of PHILADELPHIA -- I forgot to tell you all where I was from, didn't I?

Ben Woestenburg Wed Dec 11 06:25:45 PST 1996

Now I know the story didn't make it to some of you, but I'm wondering if anyone got it at all? It's purr-plexin', and frus-turatin'the hell out of me. So let me know, and I'll try again.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Dec 11 01:27:21 PST 1996

Yes, if you'll clean them up and send them my way, I'll put them together in a separate page. If people would like to send me a .gif or .jpg or just provide a link address to their favorite graphic of themselves to go along with the bio that would be cool. Also, if you have books in print that can be gotten, say, from, I can trie pointing towards those as well. I think, for sure, this is possible for Philip.

Everyone else: welcome to the new additions. Harrison, I'll try to check out Fic-Tech and probably add it to the links on the main Writers page. I tried going just now and was timed out, but that could just be my own server. It's been a strange day in that the transformer just down the block exploded and put everyone's lights out. I'm just glad it didn't create a sufficient surge to do any damage. Well, back to the grindstone. Maybe, after Friday, I'll be able to raise my head above water and look around. Take care and keep writing.

Sherrie Tue Dec 10 22:01:43 PST 1996

Hi! Not to worry, I'm collecting all the bios; I'll clean them up (some of you didn't follow format--spank, spank) then get with Jack about doing something with them. I like Charles' idea about putting them in a link in the welcoming paragraph.
BEN: I'd take that story, if you'd care to send it. Don't care how long it is; I like DEPTH!
By the way, thanx for answering my questions about MEN--but I think I'm more confused than I was before. Although, at least you were honost. You see, I've asked these questions of the more muscular gender, before. They usually avoid the sex thing. But we know--one side of the brain at a time, right? To the rest of you, more spankings. You could have at least hammered out some b . . .b. . .nonsense, just to make me happy. I'll give you another chance, though.
JACK: Love your page. Aren't you a talent, and so in love with Fran. She appears a dear lady. So relieved you made it through your recent ordeal. And by the way, love the pics. You sound so straight, but look so cool. How long is your hair? Wanna trade beauty secrets? (Hard to keep the ends hydrated, etc.)
LISA: What's the address of YOUR page? I wanna see.
HARRISON: Welcome! You have the most fabulous name. Is it a pseudonym, or did your parents bless you, so? That title just begs to be underscored by a flashy music bed (= jingle) to become what's known in the radio biz as a "liner." (A DJ's special, produced introduction; that's for you, KITTY.)
MY RADIO STATION STORY: Just too nervous to post it on the Workbook. And Husband Harry was going to make the dash to get my home page up and running, but I'm too nervous to put it there, too. Call me insecure (call me anything but late to dinner.)
Tell you what. You want a read for the evening? Get back to me, let me know the format (word processor, as my Mac is fluent in many languages), and I'll send it as an e-mail attachment. I have three chapters, each about 10 pages (5,500 words). Going once, going twice . . .
At this point, I'm not looking for a critique (too soon), but I'd welcome comments. I seem to be one of the few who hasn't shared their craft.
In a goofy mood, tonight (no remarks from Jonnie on that, please--she's seen me in every state). See you tomorrow.

Ben Woestenburg Tue Dec 10 21:45:04 PST 1996

Okay, I sent a whole hockey sock full of copies out to you guys, if I missed anyone who asked me before, just send me a friendly reminder and I'll be zipping it off tomorrow, either in the morning or when I get home from work. (That was a long sentence, wasn't it?) Anyways, the story as it stands is too long to publish in any magazines I know right off hand, but if anyone can think of a mag that publishes a maximum of 15,000 words, then I'm in under the wire, coming in at just a bit above 14,000. I think this will have to be the conclusion of whatever series happens to come out of it.

I see we have another new member, and when I told my wife she was quite excited about your credentials Harrison. She's just amazed at the people I come across here, and absolutely loves you all. I think she has a mental image of what everyone should look like. But don't we all? I think I've almost got you girls convinced I'm a combo of Mel and Redford...but maybe I'm just foolin' myself?

Anyways, Harrison -- I feel like I should be saying Mr.Rose (my parents brought me up to be respectful), I want to check out your website and then I'll get back to you.

JONNIE: It's a funny thing about me and the girl, you know I didn't even notice she was short for the first couple of meetings because one of us was always sitting down, you know, in a car, stuck in a bar seat out of everyone's way, that kind of thing. And after I did meet her, well, I was your typical kid trying to do what single guys are into at that age (25) -- begging for sex -- so again, the height thing didn't matter. Because my oldest brother has a short wife too (again with the tall guys/short wives), and he always said to me: everyone's the same size in bed. He was right.

So I see everyone's getting hot on this idea of a forum of some sort, and I think it's great. Someone had suggested (Brito?) we each write out 500 word essays about a particular subject, to see what we could come up with. Then someone else suggested writing about something we don't know -- which isn't very fair to me 'cause I don't know nuthin'. But if we could find a way to draw straws, I'd be willing to give it a whirl. Imagine trying to explain to sherrie how to write for a christian fiction market? Or trying to tell Phillip what's involved on the business side of writing, like galley proofs and such stuff, when you consider the fact more than half of us don't have a clue about what they look like. Too of the wall? Just a thought. Perhaps keeping things light.

DEB: I have to agree with you as far as writing non-fiction is concerned. I don't read myself very often -- except research books on dry historical data, but that doesn't count. I tend to think it should be writtien like fiction. I liked "Nicholas and Alexandra", because it was told with an interesting voice. A lot better than "The decline and fall of the Roman empire."

Anyways, I gotta go and look a few things up now that I have the time. Lisa, Sherrie, Kitty! Where are you? The day just doesn't seem complete without you guys!


(Hurry back Phillip!)

Deb Borys Tue Dec 10 20:35:02 PST 1996

Darn it--did it again. Keep forgetting my name isn't Anonymous. :-)

Tue Dec 10 20:33:21 PST 1996

Well, wasn't that just nice of me--I finally get my web browser working right and then I drop out of sight. Will you ever forgive me?

Gawd, didn't know there were so many people on this site. Things were real quiet there for a while. Good to see you (umm--read you) all. Here's my bio information:

NAME: Deb Borys
LOCALE: Tiskilwa, Illinois USA
DAY JOB:Administrative assistant at a Christian Camp and Retreat Center
FAMILY: Divorced with two sons: a 19 1/2 year old who lives with his dad about 7 miles away and a soon (two weeks away) to be 18 year old who's been living with me since November (MAJOR lifestyle change, here!!): two dogs named after my grandparents (Trixie and Leonard), and one bitch of a cat who was part of the 17-year-old son deal. (I'm not a cat hater, honest, just this one is so NOISY!)
PUBLISHED:Two Short Stories so far, Local freelance work (bit parts for peanuts or prestige, but not both)
CURRENT FOCUS: Suspense is my thing, but I recently created an alternative future world through an exercise at a writing workshop and I've found I need to know more about it. I have about five stories and an essay making the rounds. In fact, it's time to get another batch of rejection collectors in the mail soon.
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: The science fiction thingy mentioned above is one of the short story series I'm working on now, The other is my Eveyln A. Archer, P.I. series. I have a suspense novel series waiting in the wings--one book finished and the second started, but am waiting for a few more successes with my short stories before sending it out again.

CHARLES: In Re: to "Here's a question: How do you make non-fiction as compelling a read as fiction? (I've gotten more serious pressure to write a book on love and relationships... it's one of the subjects I've been teaching the last eight years.)
Pretend it IS non-fiction. Use the same style, dialogue, characterizations, etc. Show us scenes to illustrate points rather than just making points. Enjoy what you're writing and we'll enjoy reading it.

Not that I know a heck of a lot about nonfiction--but that is what I would want to read, so that is how I would try to write it--unless I were being restricted to some format by my market--like local newspapers tend to get edit happy if you try to portray an accurate character sketch of the village mayor when you're reporting on the town council meeting. Boring!!

Jonnie Landis Tue Dec 10 20:21:13 PST 1996

Welcome, Harrison. Now I'm not the newest addition, though it looks like the least experienced (in writing, of course). Youngest somehow sounds better than oldest living employee. That's what they attached to me when I became a grandmother. I tell everyone I was married at 12, which isn't too far off.
Thanks to EVERYONE. Keep those bios coming.Charles? Lisa? Bob? Sean? A few questions for:
BEN: One that's jelled in my brain since high school. Why do tall men always seem to go for short women? Best friend in college married the star football player. They didn't dance eye to eye, but eye to-well, okay, lower chest.
PHILIP: My dad was in your country in the 40's. Has always wanted to trace a family that befriended him so far from home. He actually carries their name and address in his wallet, but lost contact with them about twenty years ago. I just found out in Sept.Any ideas?
CHARLES:Thanks for info on meeting. I might consider it. Not in 97 however. Is it always the same month? and time?
SEAN: Why can't they write computer manuals so normal people can read them? I've been in the books for a week now-time I could have spent writing.
By the way I'm on my 3rd manuscript-the first two over 100,000 words. This one more than half way at 50,000.This might just be sellable. I've been told I'm great on plotting, a little weaker(Probably a lot) in Characterization, and need improvement on editing. What can I say, I didn't major in English.
HARRISON: looking forward to your page.
See you all later, Jonnie

Philip Tue Dec 10 16:08:08 PST 1996

WELCOME HARRISON: can't open your zine from my browser, looks good - I'm well teased.

What a morning! Great to be alive...warm and sunny in downunder Sydney today (80°F). The clear blue skies, gentle breezes and great surf is causing strangers to smile at each other in the streets of Newport. You know, the kind of morning that just overwhelms everyone and every thing.

I saw NORMAN MAILER on television here last night discussing his book on PICASSO in a BBC production - an excellent, insightful interview program. Anyone read it? I have to get it. It was panned by US critics - guarded art critics were given the job of reviewing the book - Mailer was quick to say he gave them short shaft in his book. Picasso suffered at their hands all his life, he said. I would back Mailer, in other works I found his research impeccable. Must be wonderful to employ a team to do your footwork for you. Imagine, pick your favourite topic or person, write a book on it/them and become a world authority. Not a bad lifestyle either, in the doing. I read where JAMES A. MICHENER permanently employed ten researchers while he and his (now deceased) wife collated the resulting piles of documentation.

JONNIE: I hope you're collating all the biographies

NAME: Philip McLaren
LOCALE: Sydney, Australia
DAY JOB: Writer.
FAMILY: Wife ROZ, born in England immigrated to Canada - we married in London, she's also a writer - advertising, PR, Head of Department. Roz is 40,000 words into her first novel; TANYA (19) university student - last year, in her final year at high school, Tanya finished first in English, first in maths and second in Ancient History - her boyfriend of three years, Kenny, is a year older and is at the same university; JAMES (12) primary school student, going to high school next year - first in English, won the school's annual senior art prize, top surfer, hurdler and fearless rugby player. And ME: I'm a Kamilaroi man, an Aboriginal Australian, part Scottish - Clan McLaren from Balquidder and the Island of Tiree, Scotland. I was born in Sydney but both my Kamilaroi clan parents are from the Warrumbungle Mountains, three hundred miles north-west of Sydney. I was invited to stay on a rugged sheep and cattle ranch in the mountains a little while back, the owner had read one of my books and wrote me a long letter telling about a secret site (government registered) he'd found on his property. It was a ceremonial cave situated high in the hills that had numerous artifacts and wall paintings belonging to my ancestors that have been carbon dated at twenty five thousand years Before the Present. All material has been left exactly as it was found and the site cleverly sealed from wild animals and human raiders even though it is on private property well off the road, in a difficult to reach location.
PUBLISHED: "Sweet Water - Stolen Land' - University of Queensland Press - 1993; "Scream Black Murder" - HarperCollins - 1995; upcoming "The Lightning Mine" April 1997; "The More Things Change..." - October 1997.
CURRENT FOCUS: general administration of career; seeking quality international agent/representation; attending conferences/festivals and the right luncheons and drinky poos. And attending a few writing groups including this very important one.
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: polishing "The Lightning Mine"; polishing screenplay of "Scream Black Murder"; well into a fifth book - my first work of non fiction - a shocking, international crime story.

Back soon - Philip.

Charles Samuel Tue Dec 10 14:14:41 PST 1996

BEN: Can you send over Cinderella as an attached file? We'd love to take a look at it over here.

BRITOMART: Don't get distracted now! Keep going...

HARRISON: Welcome to the group. Your site 'zine' looks interesting. Can't wait to see more. By the way if you've done that much writing, we'd love to hear your war stories and more about your novel.

JACK: Perhaps a link to a members bio page in the "Welcome" paragraph would be helpful.

Just sent off some more queries to agents. Hope to start writing again next week.

Here's a question: How do you make non-fiction as compelling a read as fiction? (I've gotten more serious pressure to write a book on love and relationships... it's one of the subjects I've been teaching the last eight years.)

See you soon,

Britomart Tue Dec 10 12:50:31 PST 1996

Dear Everyone

I'm really, truly back! I've only got the two closing chapters and the epilogue to go, and I've been working so hard that my beloved rewarded me by telling me the new password. Now I can waste ALL MY TIME surfing the net.

I'm sorry to keep harping on it, but I'm so pleased with the edit. It's a much stronger book now, and something that I'm very proud of.

Here is my bio-data (in the correct format) for new browsers:
NAME: Britomart (for my real name, you have to look up my home page, I'm a bit shy)
LOCALE: Brisbane, Australia
DAY JOB: Full-time student at University of Queensland, studying English literature
FAMILY: Cute boyfriend who is a musician - we're childhood sweethearts (kinda) who have been together 7 years (I'm 26, he's 24). There are pictures of us both on my home page.
PUBLISHED: On July 5, 1997, "The Infernal" - my Gothic horror novel, will be published by Random House Australia.
CURRENT FOCUS: Finish my edit and have a holiday
PROJECT IN PROGRESS: I'm planning a big, fat, scary novel to be set in an old college which I hope to start in late January. It's going to be a truly "Gothic" gothic, with lots of subterraneous passages and winding staircases and dark, stormy nights and weird erotic overtones.

Re the "Virtual Writers' Festival". Jack, my idea would be not to have it the same as this notebook, but be more topic focussed. Anyway, it was just an idea, and in no way constituted a demand that you set up the whole thing! (You are an extraordinary web-master, but presumably you have a social life to attend to on occasion).

Ben: I'll have your story - do you want criticism or just opinion?

I'm going to go have some breakfast (hmmmm... Coco Pops). Be good all! And thanks for the support and encouragement. This is the best writers' group I've ever belonged to.

Harrison Rose Tue Dec 10 11:49:59 PST 1996

Hello Everyone,

This is quite an active group going here. A pleasant surprise from all the deadly quiet places I've been too lately.

I'll probably be a regular visitor, if you all will have me.
And I hope many of you will stop by and check out FicTech - the Net-E-Zine for Novelists that we are currently putting together. It is a free biweekly aimed at improving writing skills primarily by analyzing what best-selling writers have done and how they achieved their effects. There are techniques to writing that can be learned and FicTech aims to explore them.

It will not be a participatory site such as this one -- just read it and go on to your next destination kind of place. Hopefully, you all will discuss some of our articles here.
A preview page of the first edition is up now. (The first edition is scheduled for Monday Dec 16th.)

You can find FicTech - The Net-E-Zine for Novelists at

About myself -- I'm semi-retired. A writer/producer. (I wrote scripts the last twenty years.) Won lots of nice awards (hooray! ... now where's that free coffee??? What you mean I still gotta' pay? sheesh!) Also have had lots of print stuff published and taught creative writing in jr college. Currently doodling around with a mystery novel.
Anybody here familiar with Mackinac Island?

Enough of your time for today. See ya'
Harrison Rose

Jack Beslanwitch Tue Dec 10 00:18:23 PST 1996

Hello all,

I do not know about membership cards, but at some juncture at I indicated, I would like to set up a password protected area where we could feel free to deposit manuscript to each others and peruse at our leisure. As far as a possible festival, I do like the idea of an online version, although I think that is sort of what we are having already. One possibility for those in the immediate area of Seattle is Potlatch which takes place February 28-March2, 1997 - Seattle, Washington. It's primary focus is writers and science fiction, but I think could be extended. If anyone would like to crash at our place and commute, that's cool. As I indicated we have Jacuzzi so if anyone wishes to please bring your suits.

In regards to bio:

Jack Beslanwitch, happily married to Fran who you can get a look at from the previous link. My current project is an internet related project that has a deadline for this Friday which I'm playing hooky from. I am a born and raised Montanan who transplanted to Seattle a little over 11 years ago. I have my own computer/website design business. I am also extremely active in Science Fiction and fantasy fandom and the creator and chief cook and bottle washer for this place. In fiction, others here are far more accomplished, but I have hopes and aspirations. Take care.

Ben Woestenburg Mon Dec 9 23:20:27 PST 1996

Okay, I've finished CINDERELLA AND HER SISTERS. I'm going to edit the last couple of pages in the morning, and if anyone wants to read it like I know some of you said you would before, be warned: it's 14,600 or so words. That's 17 pages of single spaced manuscript. If you're still interested, email me, tell me exactly where you want it to be sent, and I'll see what I can do. I'm sorry it took me so long to finish it.

4Ben Woestenburg Mon Dec 9 21:22:16 PST 1996

Hi Jonnie, just thought I'd check in with a big hello from this side of the continent. As you may have surmised by reading the archives and things, I tend to be a bit long winded, but that's because I love to type. I love watching my fingers zip across the keyboards. It's the only reason I write actually.

So here's my synopsis:
NAME: Ben Woestenburg (That's WOO-STEN-BURG)
LOCALE: SURREY, B.C., (That's thirty minutes outside of Vancouver, half way between the border and the big city.)
DAYJOB: Sawmill worker. (But we don't really want to discuss that. It's a job other people find fascinationg, but I just say: 'Get me the Hell out of here!'
FAMILY: Wesley,(10), Jasmine,(8) Wife,(#$)-- more about her later.
CURRENT PROJECT(S): Poem:ROBIN HOOD, and short stories, until I have to go back to work on my novel,THE ROMAN TRILOGY, sometime in the New Year.
FUTRURE GOALS: To become published, (of which I have not had the distinction); to not have to work for a living and be able to generate a living as a writer, (and to be able to say that I can); to persue these dreams until they are realized,(No matter what!)

Okay, back to the task at hand.

CHARLES: I'm only too glad to help you, I'm just sorry I didn't get the time yesterday to look anything up. Things that come out of the top of your head, although they may be correct in a sense, may also be incoorect in minor details. So I'll be getting back to you with a more detailed synopsis of the time later in the week, if that's alright with you?

KITTY: You say you want to know about my wife? Well, she's a hard one to figure, because just like every other woman, she thinks I should be able to read her mind. And she'll be the first one to me too.Yesterday was a perfect example of that. When I said: I didn't know you didn't want the red and green together, she simply said, I thought you were supposed to be able to read my mind? Other husband's do!
Anyway, her name is RENU. She's from FIJI, and came here when she was about ten years old. She's very short, about 5 foot on a good day, compared to my 6 foot on a bad day. She's obviously pretty, otherwise she wouldn't have caught my attention, and I think her greatest asset is her smile. It's one of those smiles that lights up her entire face, with perfect teeth that would make any model seethe with jealousy. Her skin is darker than her siblings', so that she looks almost East Indian (Which of course she is, but don't tell her that -- apprently, it's like calling a Scotsman an Englishman, or a Dutchman a German. I just tell her it's a Hindu that can swim. She's #$ years old (it's not hard to figure out her age, I'm just not supposed to say it, so you'll have to look at your keyboard to see how old she is.)
She's a great cook, too. She can make anything. In fact, once a year we have Chinese lobster dinner, which is creamed in a sauce that is absolutely to die for. If anybody ever makes it out this way, be sure to drop by and we'll whip up a batch. In fact Jack, since you live so close by, you should drive up for the night and join the party. I guarentee you won't forget it. (Just a thought if you have nothing planned.)

LISA: I checked out your page today, and I must say, it's looking good. I even bookmarked that link for Queries -- they've alway been something I've had problems with -- and I hope to get back to it in a few days so I can see what the heck I've been doing wrong all these years.But hey, the page has grown considerably since the last time I dropped by, and I can't wait to see what you add over the course of the next little while.

TRUDY: Always good to see you again too. I'm sorry I didn't get back to you about your story, but I had trouble finding it in my files, and by the time I did I had to go to work. I left it for my girl to read, but my son came down and started doing something so that by the time she got down here, it was nowhere to be seen. I just sort of lost reack of time after that because the weather was so good and she was always outside playing with her friends. I'm sorry.

SHERRIE: Now for the hard part. You want to know what guys think girls think about them. That's a hard one. Personally, I think it goes by age. If a guy's young, obviously it's sex. That's all you think about when you're young (this is just my opinion of course). But the one thing that attract any guy to any girl is sex: because it's something that she has and he wants, and something that he needs, but is too often denied -- (as a matter of fact, that sounds like where I am right now! Hey! What's going on here?)
Anyway, when a guy matures, sex doesn't seems as important as it once was. I think it has something to do with complacency. He's generally married, and seems to think he can get it whenever he wants it, which is a hell of a lot more than when he was single, no matter what anybody says. So guys, as a result, think that girls think guys look at them as sex partners. (This is what guys THINK girl think about them.) Whereas in actuality, girls are probably looking at a guy and wondering if she remembered to turn the dryer off before she left the house that morning. Whatever a guy is thinking about concerning a woman, you can count on the fact that the woman is thinking something completely different, and does not even know that that guy exists. The only time a guy is going to stand a chance, is if he looks like Mel -- you know who -- Gibson.(Which of course I do!)
And what do women misunderstand about men? Well, again, it's back to that age thaing. When he's young, and just let out of the house and out into public drinking establishments for the first time, there's not much she's going to be missing at all. Men are pretty well open books. When they get older, more comfortable, they get more difficult to figure out. I've been know to hang out in strip bars -- and yes my wife does know about it, and no she doesn't really care one way or the other because she knows I'm so out of tiuch and out of practice, I wouldn't know if a girl was coming on to me unless she was holding a sign that said: THIS IS A COME ON. But I've been known to actually be seen in these places, and yet, I couldn't tell you what the strippers looked like, or how many there were, or if one was a blonde, brunette, or redhead, because you see, I don't pay any attention to them. If I'm there to play pool, then that's what I do. Have a few beer -- okay more than a few -- and shoot some stick. If a woman thinks she can figure a guy out then, she may be in for a bit of a challenge. I know, there are some guys who are sitting right in front, GYNO-ROW, as we call it, but they don't really have a life do they? Those are the guys holding onto cigarettes with ashes four inches long. I know guys that are thinking about baseball stats, hockey scores, or gardening. Is this helping you at all? Too bad I'm the only one who answered you, eh? Anyways, that's as deep as I can get. I didn't read: "Men are from Mars..." too intimidating for me: I think a woman wrote it.
Anyways, I gotta sign off and do some writing,

trudy trudan Mon Dec 9 17:36:37 PST 1996

Hi all, I figure I better leave a small message or you'll all forget about me. Plus I wanted to welcome Jonnie to the Notebook as well. Welcome.

In answer to Jonnie's request for info and in following with Sherrie's format:

NAME: Trudy Kelly-Forsythe
LOCALE: Hampton, New Brunswick, Canada
DAY JOB: advertorial writer for daily newspaper
FAMILY: Husband Dana, cat Riley
PUBLISHED: Nonfiction (newspaper, hunting and fishing magazine, writer's newsletter)
CURRENT FOCUS: Wish I truly had one outside of work, but mostly it's writing tidbits here and there. Also focused on breaking into the national magazine market for freelancing.
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: As some of you know working on a children's book which has been rejected twice so thought I'd do a major overhaul after some criticism. Thanks to all who have helped, and you have been helpful. Waiting to hear back on an article on team penning sent to a magazine on spec. Doing research for a non-fiction photograph book on large landmarks in New Brunswick. The list goes on and on.

I too love the idea of a virtual writers forum. I just hope I'm around when you guys get it organized. If it's after Christmas I'll have much more time to help organize and take part.

Anyway I'm out of time; will try to take part in some of the discussions going on here later.


Bob Hanford Mon Dec 9 16:18:26 PST 1996

Forgot to welcome Jonnie. This is a wonderfully warm group, Jonnie. Very interesting and as close to an extended family as I could ever imagine. Welcome. Will do my two-liner soon as possible.

Bob Hanford Mon Dec 9 16:13:36 PST 1996

KITTY: I would be most disappointed and very surprised if there was any connection between either Skitzaroonie (from Duke Ellington's Satin Doll) or Zeus's daughter and a computer store. That's the whole idea. In today's pop-tech environment, if I were looking for the latest and best software and I had to choose between a computer store named MediaWorks and one named Zeus's Youngest Daughter or Skitzaroonie, I would not go to MediaWorks. But...that is me.

Sherrie Mon Dec 9 15:53:29 PST 1996

KITTY: Gave me a laugh about Ben and whether or not the coals he's so willing to walk are hot or cold. Aren't we turning into a jovial bunch?
Just for the fun of it, and since the radio station intrigues you, I'll figure out the best/quickest way to post the first chapter on the Workbook. OR, if that's too tedious, I'll put out the word and send an e-mail and attachment to anyone who's interested. Give me some time to fiddle with the logistics, and thanks for the kudos. It's always great when someone thinks you're fascinating. ;-)
EVERYONE ELSE: I agree with Britomart (and aren't we proud of how tenaciously she's slaving over that hot keyboard); an electronic writer's forum would be great. I also think someone should select topics. I honestly don't know what I'd address; I'm rather a jack of all trades and master at nothing. Perhaps I'll just listen.
CHARLES: Too bad there's no carpentry conference for Bob--but then, he'd probably be BOARD, anyway. (Groan. Sorry. It was too easy, too good to pass up.) Keep looking, will you?
EVERYONE ELSE: Since Jonnie has requested we go through the bio thing again, may I suggest a format? I'm a natural-born organizer (there was a time--when I cooked more frequently than I do now--that I actually alphebetized my spices); I'll even get it started.
NAME: Sherrie Lord
DAY JOB: Environmental compliance & health and safety officer
FAMILY: Husband Harry, sons Mike (19) and Erik (17), Norwegian Elk Hound/German Shepherd "Katie"
PUBLISHED: Nonfiction (newspaper, magazines)
CURRENT FOCUS: Christian romance (I hate that word and it's simpering connotations, but it's the most concise description; please credit me with more depth and intelligence than one usually discovers in this realm)
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: Waiting to hear from my agent on a completed historical manuscript that's on the desk of an interested publisher. Another three books proposed; two of them started; been too busy to go any further, lately.

Charles Mon Dec 9 11:17:48 PST 1996

SORRY, there was a glitch, a lockup and a hiccup on my computer. BEN: I've BEEN to Caesaria... it's amazing.

Charles Samuel Mon Dec 9 09:54:32 PST 1996

KITTY: Guess what? I found a "COPYRIGHT FAQ" service on McGraw-Hill Ryerson's home page. I sent them off a query and I'm interested to see what they say. By the way, if you manage to find a copy of HIDDEN FOR 1000 DAYS by Sara Veffer the prize is..... the book of course! I said it was a real treasure. ;)

BEN: Thanks for the research info on the Romans. I have to check out the web site you suggested. Looking forward to more info.

PHILIP: The WRITER'S FESTIVAL sounds like fun. Maybe I'll organize a Jerusalem International Writer's Festival... There's a million conferences in this city for obvious reasons.

By the way Jonnie, they have an annual International Anaesthesiology (sp?!)Conference here. I have a friend from Manhattan who attends every year. I don't know about any carpentry conferences for Bob tho', but there are computer conferences galore for Sean.

SHERRIE: Just sent off the email to Colorodo. Thanks.

LISA: Next time I come to Kennedy (which I hope is soon) I'll stop by and say hello. Do Webwitch Members get the VIP treatment and whisked through passport control and customs?
Hey Jack... we need membership cards! :)


Charles Samuel Mon Dec 9 09:52:24 PST 1996

KITTY: Guess what? I found a "COPYRIGHT FAQ" service on McGraw-Hill Ryerson's home page. I sent them off a query and I'm interested to see what they say. By the way, if you manage to find a copy of HIDDEN FOR 1000 DAYS by Sara Veffer the prize is..... the book of course! I said it was a real treasure. ;)

BEN: Thanks for the research info on the Romans. I have to check out the web site you suggested. Looking forward to more info.

PHILIP: The WRITER'S FESTIVAL sounds like fun. Maybe I'll organize a Jerusalem International Writer's Festival... There's a million conferences in this city for obvious reasons.

By the way Jonnie, they have an annual International Anaesthesiology (sp?!)Conference here. I have a friend from Manhattan who attends every year. I don't know about any carpentry conferences for Bob tho', but there are computer conferences galore for Sean.

SHERRIE: Just sent off the email to Colorodo. Thanks.

LISA: Next time I come to Kennedy (which I hope is soon) I'll stop by and say hello. Do Webwitch Members get the VIP treatment and whisked through passport control and customs?
Hey Jack... we need membership cards! :)


Charles Samuel Mon Dec 9 09:50:15 PST 1996

KITTY: Guess what? I found a "COPYRIGHT FAQ" service on McGraw-Hill Ryerson's home page. I sent them off a query and I'm interested to see what they say. By the way, if you manage to find a copy of HIDDEN FOR 1000 DAYS by Sara Veffer the prize is..... the book of course! I said it was a real treasure. ;)

BEN: Thanks for the research info on the Romans. I have to check out the web site you suggested. Looking forward to more info.

PHILIP: The WRITER'S FESTIVAL sounds like fun. Maybe I'll organize a Jerusalem International Writer's Festival... There's a million conferences in this city for obvious reasons.

By the way Jonnie, they have an annual International Anaesthesiology (sp?!)Conference here. I have a friend from Manhattan who attends every year. I don't know about any carpentry conferences for Bob tho', but there are computer conferences galore for Sean.

SHERRIE: Just sent off the email to Colorodo. Thanks.

LISA: Next time I come to Kennedy (which I hope is soon) I'll stop by and say hello. Do Webwitch Members get the VIP treatment and whisked through passport control and customs?
Hey Jack... we need membership cards! :)


Lisa Nickles Mon Dec 9 09:09:46 PST 1996

Hi all. Boy, this board was active yesterday!
BRIT: Good idea, a virtual workshop. There are a number of us who might have difficulty travelling, or getting time off to do so.
BEN: :-}
PHILLIP: When you travel to New York for the Writer's Conference, look me up. If you come into Kennedy Airport, however, give me advance warning and I'll meet you there. (I work at the airport.)
JONNIE: Welcome! Pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable.

Jonnie Mon Dec 9 09:04:00 PST 1996

Morning all. Yeap, I was raised in Va. but now live two thousand miles away. Getting ready for an 18 hr. call at the ol' hospital but wanted to say what a hoot I think this page is. If I'd known this existed, I'd have bought this computer sooner. Though I've had a powerbook for five years, it never gave me associations. Sherrie will probably tell me I can read it in the archives,but folks I'd like a two liner on you all--personal, please. And if you're published, book titles. I need a good read. Bye for now.

Britomart Mon Dec 9 01:10:01 PST 1996

Dear Everybody

I seem to have missed so much. Never mind. Guys, I'd love to come to Seattle, but I'm afraid on a student's salary (even with my advance), that just ain't going to be possible. Besides, there's no guarantee I'll meet the guys from Soundgarden anyway - they probably hide from curious grunge-lovers like myself.

But - why don't we have a virtual writers' forum? We can think up a topic for everyone that is in their field of interest/specialty, and everyone can write 500 words and post it somewhere (maybe we could dedicate the Workbook to it). We could post all our papers over a weekend, then spend the next couple of weeks discussing ideas etc. Maybe we can come up with a couple of debate topics, reports on literary scandals (we had a doozy here in Australia last year, didn't we Phil?), and other interesting stuff. I'm all for it, hell - I'll even come up with some topics if you're all interested. It could be the first thing of its kind!

In other news, the editing goes well. I'm down to the climax/concluding chapters, madly rewriting, tightening up or padding out as appropriate, trying to balance the tension just right. I had a lovely moment today reading it back where I actually burst into tears at a particularly tragic scene - but then it could be my hormones.

I got my second semester results back today - 4 x sevens and a six (seven is the highest). How I did that and managed to finish my book is beyond me, but may explain why I'm so bloody tired.

Anyway, give the virtual forum idea some consideration, and start thinking about what 500 words of advice you'd write if we held it.

Bye all!!!!

Kitty Sun Dec 8 23:38:51 PST 1996

Have we been busy here! Ben, your last paragraph about the Christmas lights and your wife was so funny. By the way, what is her name? I have never heard a woman refer to her spouse as "the husband," but often hear men refer to their SO's as "the wife." I hope I have the pleasure of one day meeting the woman for whom you would walk over a bed of coals--wait a minute, you didn't specify whether the coals were hot or cold! Can't wait to read your response to Sherrie's question. As to Harold... The bit about the song titles is yours to use, if you want. After posting I realized the angel would have wanted the carol title to be "Hark, Harold the Angel Sings"--he really wants the world to know just who announced the birth, kind of missing the point. You could incorporate a bit of humor into your story, if you wanted. The angel helps the little girl, the girl helps the angel--how Capraesque! And it occured to me how wonderful it would be if you put a copy under the tree for your daughter. When my children ask me what I want for Christmas, I tell them to write me a story. They do, complete with illustrations. Very precious gifts.
Charles, amazed if we found one, eh? Sounds like a challenge to me. I'm going to try the University library and my used book sources. Is there a prize if we track one down? As to the copyright, you may be able to buy it back. If the book was written 30 years ago and the publishing house no longer exists, is it possible the text is in the "public domain?" I bet McGraw Hill has a web site and probably an e-mail address. Why don't you ask them the status of the book? You have all the details and you have a legitimate interest. And don't neglect to let them know, at the appropriate time, that you are a published author.
Bob, who was Zeus' younger daughter and explain the connection between her and Sean's store--after your Wednesday deadline, of course. Skitzaroonie, too!
Sherrie, Wow, what a life. Get cracking on that radio station story. You have me intrigued. As to Christian fiction, the reason I mention Jan Karon is that one of the themes in her books is faith. I guess I am wondering why, if you have a strong story, you would confine yourself to such a specific market. And, no, I haven't a new cat in my life, yet.
Jonnie, welcome. Don't let the computer intimidate you. It is just a machine! Be fearless and go explore. You can always hit "escape" or click on "back."
Catch y'all later!

Sherrie Sun Dec 8 22:29:53 PST 1996

Oh, sure, I take a four-figure cut in pay, and now we're all going globe hopping. (Sigh) Okay, count me in. I'll come up with the money, somehow. Seriously, it does sound like fun. Would love to meet all of you face-to-face.
BEN: Fuuuuunnnnnnyyyyy! Two heads? It went right by me when I first read it because I was just skimming new entries while I was on the phone with Jonnie, filling her in about all you guys. I just roared when I came back and read it, fully. Husband Harry gets about half jealous--"What's so funny in there?" he asks from his Lazy-Boy. "Oh, just my friends," I reply. He knows.
By the way, I asked Husband Harry which head he thought with most of the time. He said, "You know the answer to that. Neither."
See you later. And hey, sailing, it is.

Philip Sun Dec 8 21:44:35 PST 1996

Hello Jonnie and welcome. Sherrie, please bring the boat. Back soon - Philip.

Philip Sun Dec 8 21:38:05 PST 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: I'm back to follow up on 'what writers' festivals are like' as requested by Charles. They do differ of course but I can generalise by suggesting that they are mostly made up of forums, panels, readings and debates; writers, agents, publishers, distributors, academics and lawyers are invited to head these sessions and they are always well attended by writers, students and the reading public alike. Usually panels consist of three invited guests (could be ourselves) who prepare papers on specified topics; a typical forum might be titled "What you're doing wrong?" and made up of publishers and/or agents; or if they are writers they might tell how they succeeded in getting published. Well known writers usually tell a little about themselves, read from their work, take questions and sign books; Sometimes authors are divided into various genres: fiction, crime, romance, non fiction, historic etc, and the sessions are given clear, sometimes clever titles. Each person is allocated about twenty minutes and when everyone is done there is about a twenty minute question time from the floor. The public love writers' festivals as do most writers (others avoid them like they're deseased).
Sponsorship is essential and surprisingly easy to get: hotels like hosting festivals (half rates), airline companies sponsor them (30-40% off), the media - television, radio and newspapers - love hyping them (free publicity) and the largest bookstore in town promotes them like there's no tomorrow and is permitted to set up a book stall at the back of the hall. If we convened a festival in say Seattle (don't worry Jack), Holiday Inn usually help out, Amazon books would surely come on board, I know people at United Airlines who would help. I would ask David Gutterson (Snow Flakes on Cedars) who I met this year - he lives in Seattle and our Sydney Writers' committee have been in contact with Sherman Alexie and Tom Wolf recently, both live there... not a bad start.

Or we could simply have our own Webwitch group meet at an agreed hotel and stage our own Writers' Festival/Conference over a three of four day weekend, setting our own agenda for each day the night before.

I'm planning on doing some travelling next year including to the New York City Writers' Conference in June and as a college writer-in-residence for Australian Studies for a few weeks in Florida in October, might be able to see you there or nearby. Failing that you are all welcomed to come to the Sydney Writers' Festival (Jan 22-26 '97), Spring Writing in Sydney (mid Sept '97) or the Pittwater Writers' Festival north of Sydney (Nov 14 - 16 '97) - we can bunk a few down at our beach house.
Back soon - Philip.

Sherrie Sun Dec 8 21:10:26 PST 1996

EVERYONE: Please meet Jonnie (a female, by the way) who has been a writing chum for years. She's a little new to this computer stuff--and especially the Net. I'm young at it; she's younger. She finally got up and running; this was the first place I sent her.
So now I'm confused (no snickers from the peanut gallery, thank you very much). Are we doing this festival electronically, or are we going to Seattle? Can I bring the sailboat? Will you point and giggle if I don't lose a few pounds before I stuff myself in my swimming suit (for the hot tub)?
BOB: Tell Sean thanks. He'll be hearing from me.

Sherrie Sun Dec 8 21:10:13 PST 1996

EVERYONE: Please meet Jonnie (a female, by the way) who has been a writing chum for years. She's a little new to this computer stuff--and especially the Net. I'm young at it; she's younger. She finally got up and running; this was the first place I sent her.
So now I'm confused (no snickers from the peanut gallery, thank you very much). Are we doing this festival electronically, or are we going to Seattle? Can I bring the sailboat? Will you point and giggle if I don't lose a few pounds before I stuff myself in my swimming suit (for the hot tub)?
BOB: Tell Sean thanks. He'll be hearing from me.

Sun Dec 8 18:27:26 PST 1996

Sean Hanford Sun Dec 8 18:22:41 PST 1996

Hello all, what surprise to actually hear from the other addressee. Yes I do sell mac ram, software and components. I have not yet designed a catalog, but will in the future. I don't carry a large inventory, but can have anything shipped directly to you. If you are local (say within 10 states from here) within 3 days. Ask me what you want, I will get it for you at very reasonable prices. I will open on Friday the 13th. No I'm not superstitous! My name will be Media Works, the current name is Graphic Business Solutions, and you can reach my web site by pointing your browser to Look for the Meadowlands Mall at the bottom of the page, or somewhere like that. If you want to talk to me directly, my e-mail at work is I check my mail regularly and can return a quote the same day. Thank you all for your support and I hope I can help you keep your macs current. Sorry but I have to go now, have just walked in the door and have yet to have my evening cup of tea. So-long.

Jonnie Sun Dec 8 18:17:26 PST 1996

Wow! What a find. I feel like a peeping Tom-(excuse me?) Okay, so make it a peeping Elizabeth. I just got my new computer up and running, and my dear friend, Sherrie--yeap, the one and only, put me on to this.
My vote is yes for a webwitch fest in Seattle. Make it June 8th week or Sept.1st week, please. (I have to put in vacation requests for the following year on Oct 7th every year. I get alot of time off but I need some space for Anesthesia meetings and volunteer work in spanish speaking countries. Anesthesia machines I understand, but these nasty computers, with all their whistles and bells, are up one on me. (No, I'm not a doctor.)
Sherrie and I have been together for a few years now. Is it three or four? She's a great writer. If she doesn't get published, I certainly won't give up my day job.

Ben Woestenburg Sun Dec 8 17:22:00 PST 1996

Whoa,man,like this is deep, ya know?I think I'm gonna have to sit back and think about this one for a little while, okay, a little longer than that. I just got my kid off the web looking for game codes to his Nintendo, and have to get his dinner ready. I was just passing by on my way to shutting him down for the time being (he wanted to print a file that was fifty pages long!)So I have to make him dinner and get things ready for later -- I think the wife wants to make gingerbread men for all the nieces and nephews -- so I'll get back to you on this one, and believe me, I'm not as deep as anyone might think. And that's the basic thing about guys: we have two heads!

Sherrie Sun Dec 8 17:05:06 PST 1996

BOB: The wood WANTS to be cut straight!? I love it. Good for you. And thanks for running messages about the computer store.
BEN: I was in about my 2.5 year of college and decided I wasn't going to cut my hair until I graduated. They gave me the paper in 1993, and the hair's still growing. It's within an inch or so of my waist, now, and I get so many compliments on it. Husband Harry, especially, loves it. This could be very interesting.
As for your Harold Angel, I rather saw him as a goofball with a big heart. More of a comedy thing, rather than something sentimental--although I love that you're so tender. (Don't tell anyone, but Husband Harry cries at Polaroid commercials. Love that too.)
KITTY: Did you ever get a another cat?
BOB & KITTY: Guess I'd better check out Jan Karon.
CHARLES: I know nothing about THAT kind of copyright law. You're rather bright; I think you'll find the answer. Pass it on when you do. Good luck.
QUESTIONS: Since the books I write run heavy on the relationship thing, I have to crawl into the male POV (point of view) in roughly half the scenes, and I'm fascinated with/love to analyze people anyway, I'm going to toss out a little question to see what you come up with; I'm seeking learning, here.
1.) What's the difference between what women think men think of women, and what men actually think of women, specifically where relationships are concerned?
2.) What do women misunderstand about men?
3.) What do men THINK they misunderstand about women?
Have fun with this--and please go deep. You're practically anonymous, here (can't flunk your kid or scrape a key along the length of your paint job), so please be free. Hey gals, you can comment here, too. (Oh goody, goody, this should be good. Be back in a while.)

Bob Hanford Sun Dec 8 14:57:52 PST 1996

What a group! Such a delight reading everyone's messages.
KITTY: Are you another Jan Karon fan? I absolutely adore her books from Mitford. I think she writes about love as well as or better than anyone.
KITTY AND SHERRIE: Re the questions about Sean's computer store: I'll stick him on and have him answer. He hasn't named the store yet. He's so conservative he wants to name it something like Media-----. I want to name it SKITZAROONIE or ZEUS'S LITTLE GIRL or ZEUS'S YOUNGEST DAUGHTER. He'll win out of course. He is in a very conservative area near Gettysburg though he does have Shippensburg College nearby. But I'll have him do the shameless self-promotion.
SHERRIE: Nothing like stepping back at the end of the day with coffee cup in hand, looking at the finished product and saying, "I built that." Wood is wonderfully predicable.
I've taught a course that I designed on Zen and the Art of Woodworking. I.e., the saw wants to cut straight, the wood wants to be cut straight. The only one who can screw it up is the person. Etc.
BEN: Enjoy you so much.
Gotta go. Long day. Deadline Wed.

Ben Woestenburg Sun Dec 8 13:48:39 PST 1996

CHARLES: I used to let myself get discouraged with the idea of rejections, and sure, while they are disappointing, and only seem to add to the time you devote to getting the story out there, I know have a plan to simply forget that story,and move on to the next one. I've learned a little bit about the business end of writing over the years, and whereas before I wouldn't ask for guidelines and just wrote what I wanted, I can look back now and say of course, why wouldn't I have been rejected. Age more than makes up for the stupidity of MY youth, so I won't let the odds discourage me, because I've felt it in my bones for too many years, that eventually I will become a success. The stories that I have, the ideas for books, plays, poems,etc., they just go on and on. I wanted to be remembered as another Goldsmith, SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER, THE DESERTED VILLAGE, THE VICKER OF WAKEFIELD, but that's a little farfetched; then I thought, maybe I could be the youngest man to win the Noble prize for lit., but I guess that's fallen by the wayside, too. Now, I just write for myself, and if it sells and makes money, fine, bonus even, but if it doesn't, that's alright, too. Fame or fortune? Which one do we want? Sure, fortunes would be nice, and they come and go like the seasons, while fame is eternal. But who wants that, because in a hundred years we'll all be dead anyways. A simple life where I can sit with my family and not have to work for a living -- because writing isn't work when you love it as much as that, is it? -- no worries as far as bills and tax collectors breathing down your back.

But that's all I can say right now, because the wife just came home and wants me to change all the lights around. Seems she doesn't like the red and green effect and simply wants all red. And of course, the lights around the window look sloppy, so I should straighten that out, it's the linear thing she wants. My son's sitting here beside me, and when she left the room, he turned to me and said: 'Gee, Dad, now I know why you don't like Christmas.' But it's not as bad as all that. I can't even complain about it. It's pissing down rain out there, and I gotta climb up on the roof and re-arrange things, but I don't mind. After last week's silence, I'd walk over a bed of coals for her, or just to get to her. She wants it, I'll do it, because I know she can't reach -- she's really short.
So, I gotta rush off

Charles Samuel Sun Dec 8 11:54:22 PST 1996

KITTY: My Grandmother's book is called "Hidden for a Thousand Days." It was published by the defunct (swallowed up by McGraw Hill) The Ryerson Press in Toronto in 1960. The book went out of print thirty years ago. I got my copy from a friend who found it in a used book store 15 years ago. I would be amazed if any of you could find one. I've been thinking about republishing it. Interestingly it says inside the cover that The Ryerson Press is the copyright holder, not the author. Actually, the writer was not my grandmother. It was one of those "as told to" books where the ghost writer got his name on the book. He was a top radio host on the "easy listening" station of the day. Do any of you know what the copyright laws are on something like this?

SHERRIE: I wasn't disappointed at all. When I sent off the eight letters I sat back waiting to 'chuckle' at the responses like Kitty did. If you believe your writing is good and others have told you so, why be disappointed when the assistant of an agent dumps the project on the reject pile because she's been given strict instructions on what "passes" and what "fails." I can't control other people, especially from 6,000 miles away. I try to live by, "according to the EFFORT is the reward." That's very hard to do when we live in a world (and especially a publishing world) of, "according to the RESULTS is the reward." So, as long as I'm working hard to do my best, why be disappointed?

BEN: It seems to me that most agents are going to want to represent someone who has a book to sell with a number of other books on the way. For these kinds of clients, they will usually be willing to place material in magazines as well... as part of a package relationship. Don't forget that they make a percentage of your percentage. How excited do you think they are going to get about the possibility of making $20 from selling a short story or two of yours? I suggest coming up with two or three outlines for novels and submit the outlines with three sample chapters. You might get someone's attention, but they won't do anything until they see a final manuscript.

There are a billion wannabe writers out there who have a zillion ideas for books. A million actually start writing their book. Probably 99% of those never actually finish. Of those who finish, only 2% are actually good enough to get published. First you have to finish the book and then the assistant to some agent who gets your query in the mail is given the mighty task of deciding if you fit into the 2% that gets into the "in" basket of the agent.

Sorry about the dismal statistics, but my degree is in Mathematics. If you want to get ahead of the pack, start with a finished manuscript. The agent can help you decide which of a group of ideas is most saleable... but then again so can this illustrious group. So share with us the three ideas that you want to write novels about and we'll help you narrow it down.

Bye for now,

Ben Woestenburg Sun Dec 8 01:45:03 PST 1996

Hello from me!

My Gawd! Work one extra night, and everyone comes out and writes on the page. I love it. I've just gotten home, read the postings, checked the mail,(kind of excited about trying to help Charles with some research...Hell, more than kinda!)
Good to see Kitty's back with us, and don't worry girlie, you'll go to the party, and everything will just sort of slide on by. I had a great time last night.(Life of the party, of course.) Unfortunately I found out that we've been invited to four of them next weekend. God, it's a good thing I like to drink to excess and have a good time, not to mention eat great food. Oh, before I forget, did I tell you guys about the time our friends wanted us to be maid and butler for their daughter's rehearsal party dinner? They wanted me to be rude and obnoxious -- no big stretch there -- and my wife to dress up in a French maid's outfit. She did a perfect imitation of The Nanny, nasally voice and grating laugh too boot. I love those kinds of parties. I love shocking people, like letting them watch me make the punch. They pretend their not watching, just as I pretend I'm not apying any attention, and then all of a suddedn, before you can say Jack Daniel's, they've drank all the punch, and I've only had two little glasses because I'm so busy running around laughing with everyone else. I always tell them they have to give me a few drinks time, so I can get a personality happening. Then I go to the bar, pour a shot of something straight, doesn't matter what it is either, and then do something stupid, like gargle with it before I swallow it. I guess I'm just a kid who doesn't want to grow up. Our friends' kids all think my wife and I are the coolest people, and when one kids says , 'Excuse me, I gotta go and talk to my ol' lady,' I just shake my head at him and ask what he's talking about. Hell, his mother's only a year and a half older than I am! But, enough about me and my party animal tendencies. I'm going to make you guys think I have a drinking problem, which isn't even close to the truth. I just like to drink a lot, whenever I do.

You know Kitty, this is why I just love reading whatever you have to say. I had managed to get a few notes written down for myself about Harold, but not even close to what you had suggested. I was looking more towards the year 1946, and a little girl who makes a wish on the Christmas tree angel because her grandmother tells her that if you say a prayer to the angel, God will send one down to answer your prayers. All she wants is to have a Daddy for Christmas, because hers was in the war, and hasn't come home yet. It was going to be sentimental and sappy, and looking at the girl, because I figured, heck, my girl sort of gave me the idea without knowing it. I was thinking about putting it in Washington D.C., making her a little black girl, her mother working graveyard shift cleaning offices, her grandparents taking care of her during the day, and giving them a bleak existance, so that having an angel coming into their lives would be something you'd want for them. Everyone of them has a dream, or a prayer within them, and they all get what they want without even realizing it. And nobody except the little girl knows about the angel, and nobody notices that the angel on the tree is actually missing. Now I think there's a story in there, and it's an idea I think I'll play with for a while, just to see what comes up. I want to keep it short this time, bringing it in at about 4,500-5000 words. So if anybody has any ideas they want to throw in, feel free; anything you want the adults to wish for? Why not? I want to finish it before Christmas, and I think I'll read it to the kids one day when we're sitting by the tree. I read them A Christmas Carrol last year, and my wife enjoyed it more than they did. In fact, she was almost in tears. That's the kind of story I want to give them. Hell, I'm the kinda guy that gets all teary eyed when I hear the song by Band-Aid, "Do They Know Its's Christmas." Just an old softie I guess.

But I'm getting long winded again. I knmow you don't really mind, and do you know why? Because I love reading long notes instead of short ones. They sort of leave you wanting to hear more. I got time to kill anyway.

I'm trying to figure out what to do, and I want to ask you guys for an opinion. I know I'm not going to be able to sell this short story 'Cindy & her sisters', so would it be a good idea to send it to an agent? I've been thinking maybe I should try and find one, but then another part of me says I don't need one, because I'm not even published yet. But if I send out this story to show them my writing style and tell them I have all sorts of other books and stuff in my head, what harm can it do me, right? I like short stories, and I figure I can churn them out pretty quickly if I put my mind to it, (and yes Charles, you're right, I can probably spit a story out in about a week or ten days if I'm prepared for it. It's the preperation that throws a monkey wrench in the wheels all the time though.) But there's a new year coming up, and my wife is telling me I need a haircut. I had to break the news and tell her I'm not planning on getting one until I publish something. It's just an excuse of course, because she likes me in short hair, and for some stupid reason I want to see what I'll look like with longish hair. But I want to publish more than I want long hair. So what do you think? Agent or no? I think this next year is MY year, (but then, I think that every New Year.)I'm tired of working in a mill. I don't want to be a blue collar man anymore. I want to sit at my computer and write until my fingers are numb, or else my brain turns to mush. The sad part is that I make so Damn much money there, too much. There's no incentive to leave when you make that much, and you actually like some of the guys, even if they're strange in their own ways. If I have time this week, I think I'll tell you guys the story of Iain, who pissed on a guy for a free beer. You know when they say truth is stranger than fiction? Well, this is one of the reasons. I'll put it in the workbook and try to make it as funny as it was the first time I heard it.

Anyways, gotta go now. Thanks for letting me ramble, as usual, and thanks to you guys even more for finding the time to drop in here tonight.

Sherrie Sat Dec 7 21:48:27 PST 1996

Thanx to all for your well-wishes. I feel well-er.
CHARLES: Thanx for your encouragement and gentle reminder about this rejection stuff. Sorry for your own disappointment, but I know this is just a bump in the road. Gosh, you amaze me with your tenacity. ALL of you do. And thanx for sharing your grandmother story. So sad, what has gone before us. And so brave, those who triumphed over it. So petty, my "struggles."
As for my news, I don't know why I'm so negative about it. One publsher is still interested--the publisher who was the first to ask for the full manuscript, the first to inquire about the next book in the series, the first to say the book was slated for an editorial meeting, and the only to ask for chapters of the radio station story. What AM I complaining about!!!???
KITTY: Good to see you, again. Radio? ;-) Go ahead, get me started. Actually, I was at the mike (I have nice pipes and think fast on my feet). Mostly, I had the guts to walk into a daylight-only AM station in Wyoming when I was just shy of my 17th birthday and tell the general manager I wanted a job but wasn't interested in the secretary's desk. He hired me on the spot, and I became the first female voice KEVA had ever had. I left the biz after about a year but found it again in my late 20s. For 7 years, I worked up from AM to FM, and from MOR (middle-of-the-road) to rock to the top country station, where I was the general manager's little darling. Then I quit to go to college, but, after a couple of years of school, got the itch again (it gets in your blood) and landed a prime time gig ("morning drive" = 6 to 10 a.m.) in a male/female team on an AC (adult contemporary) format. It was a blast. My partner and I wrote sketches and gags for our show and could almost hear each other's heartbeat, we were so in tune. And did we laugh (mostly, but not always, during songs). The folks in the front offices were always peeking in the studio to see what was so funny. And the station was tops--free movie tickets, restaurant passes, and a white limo I could borrow any time I wanted. We were celebrities, but I was too much for the ultra-conservative management. I called in sick one day and was told not to bother to come in the day after. (Chicken) It's that way in radio; as I said before, it's a good business to get out of. But man, was it fun.
Thank you for indulging me that little walk through time. I got a little homesick when I visited the gang at my old favorite country station to see how the technology has changed. Sometimes I miss the action; it's an adrenaline rush.
As for your other question, what is Christian fiction? It's a big question and such a small space. I suppose, in short (Me!?), it would be fiction written by Born-again Christians, with a Born-again perspective. The names you mentioned aren't familiar to me (except Galico's--have you read "The Silent Meow?" DO!), but I suspect they come from the voice of religion, which is a structure of rules and criteria; the right words are there, but they're hollow. Good feelings and nice thoughts, but no bone and sinew. Rather, this is--my books speak of--a relationship. THE relationship. One is man trying to reach God, the other is God reaching to man, who fails miserably and repeatedly in his efforts to make himself good enough. God doesn't grade on the curve, you see. It's pass or fail. Passing is accepting the gift--and it's so easy, most miss it. So, woven into my novels are the threads of this special friend-to-friend relationship, but rather than get syrupy, I tend to speak on the sidewalk level, to push the limits of traditional Christian fiction and dare to include real sin, as it really is. No perfect heroines and heroes, here. I tell it like it is. That's why I'm getting rejected, I think. They like my writing, but I'm just a little ahead of my time. Afterall, it took 10 years for the Tennessee Ernie Ford crowd to accept the words "Christian" and "rock" in the same sentence; now the airwaves are teeming with tunes that surpass Top 40 (Van Morrison, Phil Keaggy, John Elephante of KANSAS, etc.).
Well, now you've all been to church. And I've been windy, again.
BOB: I second that. Will Sean be selling anything (software, RAM, etc.) for Macs? Tell us more. And by the way, I admire carpenters. What a joy to work with wood and actually see something you made with your own hands, at the end of the day. At my job, I push paper, at the taxpayers' expense. Not much atta-boy in that.
JACK: A festival? YES! Any way you can. And you have a deadline, Friday? As soon as you meet it, fill us in. It's just gotta happen.

Kitty Sat Dec 7 17:21:23 PST 1996

Hey y'all! Charles, I'm chuckling. My husband says that you don't start selling until the customer says no. And to answer your question to me from way back, which I apologize for not answering sooner, he was born in Toronto but grew up in Quebec (mostly Montreal and sometimes Elliot Lake). I passed on your offer too, but the company he works for is beyond the venture capital stage. Finally, you neglected to tell us the title of your Grandmother's book. Of course, we will want to read it and you know this intrepid crew can track anything down.
Bob, along this computer tangent.... When is the grand opening day? What is the name and where is the store? Is there an 800# and a catalog? And what's the hottest graphic board he carries? It's not shameless son-promotion if a neutral third party is asking you to cough up the info and I bet I'm not the only one who wants to know. My best wishes to Sean for a success in his venture.
Ben, so is Harold doomed to explain over and over again about the thick skulled Victorian librettist who didn't get it was "Hark! the Harold Angel Sings, " but wrote down "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" instead? Does his pride and stubborness in wanting to see the Carol corrected keep him earthbound, enlisting the aide of those he's supposed to be assisting?
Sherrie, could you explain to me what exactly qualifies as Christian fiction. Clearly there are Christian publishers (I deduced that from your posting), but are there specific Christian guidelines. And how does Christian fiction differ from say a book by Paul Gallilco, like the Mrs.'Arris series or the Snow Goose. And where does Jan Karon fit in here? I genuinely would like to understand what this sub-genre is about. And just for curiousity's sake, what kind of radio station and what did you do there?
Hey to the rest of the gang. The beloved one is tapping his toe, waiting for me. We're off to a Christmas party, the first of the season--but with practically no snow here and the fact that I missed the Macy's parade, I'm not feeling in a very holly jolly mood. It will be nice to go out though.

Charles Samuel Sat Dec 7 13:27:32 PST 1996

Hi Guys!

SHERRIE: Don't be so down about the rejections. That's part of the game. In fact I think I just won the world's record for fastest rejection... thanks to modern technology and cyberspace. I sent the reviews of THE JERUSALEM CONSPIRACY (you saw those quotes) to a top agency in New York on Thursday at 4:00 pm EST via fax. Within two hours I received an email requesting more info (first chapter, character outlines and a brief paragraph describing the book). It went out via fax the next morning. By 4:00 pm I got the following via email:

"... I am very sorry to have to resort to a form rejection letter... I apologize if this format offends."

You gotta laugh. I used to tell my salespeople when I was managing a computer store that you have to go through ten "no's" in order to get a "yes." If you get a "no" say to yourself, "Great, I'm one step closer to getting that sale!"

Thanks for the tips about historical writing. I'll let you see some of it when I get a chance to write. Same goes for you Ben.

BEN: Thanks for your insights about historical fiction. I'll email you directly re: specifics and thanks for your offer to help out! I still think you should write a novel about a BEN character who works at the sawmill by day and writes by night and becomes a bestselling author. The contrasts and images the story conjures up are great. Why not start with a short story about it? You're so prolific you could probably zip it off in a couple of days.

JENNIFER: My grandmother wrote a book in 1960 about how she, her husband and six children (my father is the eldest son) hid in a room just outside Amsterdam for three years from the Nazis. At the time it was a bestseller in Canada, but talk about a treasure! Coincidentally, I was lecturing six years ago and a girl in the audience mentioned she was from Holland. Within a few minutes we determined that her grandfather was involved in the 'underground' that helped out my family. Last week she called from out of nowhere and we invited her over for the weekend and she got to read about HER grandfather in the book. You are right, we don't appreciate how much of a legacy we can leave our descendents through our writing.

BRIT: I'd write you words of encouragement but by the time you get to this it will probably be archived.

JACK: Thanks for being there for us, and keep plugging away at the proposal. The computer business, and computer related topics are soooooo unstable.

Gotta go... warm regards to all.


Jack Beslanwitch Sat Dec 7 03:54:35 PST 1996

Hi everyone.
Philip: If it ever became logistically possible, I think it would be great to have a Webwitch Writing Festival. Our jacuzzi would be open. If nothing else, if bandwidth ever becomes wide enough, we could attend virtually and see and talk with each other which would be cool...Cool Talk or Net Meeting or something along those lines. It's been an unrealized dream of mine. Attempts at IRC and JAVA chat rooms have been disappointing. At the very least, when people are in the same neck of the world we could touch bases and meet in person.

Hope everyone remains or gets healthy and writes. Sorry to hear about head aches and other maladies. I'm currently playing hooky and attending a convention for Science Fiction Convention runners called SMOFcon. Then I have to get back to the grindstone and have something ready for my editor on Friday. Take care everyone.

Jennifer Fri Dec 6 18:30:59 PST 1996

LISA: Toys huh? I like those erasers that you get at art supply stores. You can just hold it or pinch it or make it into a ball.. It has a great feel and I get a little up-set if I find some one else holding it..

Jennifer Fri Dec 6 17:43:00 PST 1996

SHERRIE: Feeling better tonight.. wish I could do something for your headache if sympathy helps you've got it..

Bob Fri Dec 6 14:33:16 PST 1996

LISA: I use Pooh since I have a tendency to take life too seriously and he doesn't. I have all his movies and all his books.

Sherrie Fri Dec 6 14:23:08 PST 1996

BEN: Have fun at your party. We were supposed to hit an open house tonight, but I'm begging off. The sinuses, man--dizzy, the rubber ball syndrome (feels like your eyes are gonna slinky right out on your cheeks), and general don't-feel-good. Also have tickets to "Ransom" (the movie), but even Mel will have to wait. Now you KNOW I'm not myself (mmmmmmmmmm, that guy!). Have fun for all four of us. And keep us posted on your progress to acquire a computer. (Buy a Mac)
JENNIFER: Know what they call that--the psychs, that is? "Unmet expectations." And you can do one of two things about it. You can pack a little more mortar in the wall, maybe even build it a little higher, but pretty soon you feel nothing at all, neither joy NOR sorrow. Or, you can decide, right at the start, that people are creeps, sometimes, and you'd be absolutely right. Whether out of ignorance or greed (selfishness), they're gonna hurt ya. But usually it's not a malicious thing; they just don't know how to do life any better than you do. We're all just banging around, you see, walking the best way we know how.
Anyway, WE appreciate you. Don't give up on the holidays, yet, Jen. There are still two-plus weeks to go, and it's such a blessed time.
And that's the sum total of my wisdom, except remember, this person who let you down represents just one person's opinion, and opinions are like elbows--everybody has a couple (that may be a little dirty and usually get in the way). ;-)
Now, if I could only take my own "encouragement" and apply it to my manuscript . . .
I'm going to go lie down. See you later.

Lisa Nickles http/ Fri Dec 6 14:12:05 PST 1996

Hi all. Hope your holiday preparations/celebrations are going well.

I've been thinking about toys, it being so close to Christmas and all, and it made me curious about something:
As one of my writing aids I've for years I've maintained a small "toybox" with bright stones and dragons and toy soldiers etc.. Playing with these items sometimes helps when I'm having difficulty getting started on a project.

What kinds of techniques and "toys" do you guys use to prepare you for, or help you to write?

Jennifer Fri Dec 6 14:04:37 PST 1996

Good to hear from you Brit. glad you could sneak away. I always look forward to your news and perky chat. Congrads and hurry up so we can hear from you more often.

Britomart Fri Dec 6 13:41:06 PST 1996

I'm being terribly sneaky and naughty. It's Saturday morning, a lovely, rainy day - and I'm eating Coco Pops and listening to Led Zeppelin. I'm supposed to be typing in my changes to my first 25 chapters (which is everything except the 6 climax/conclusion chapters). But I had to drop by and say hi y'all!

I've worked terribly hard this week - up at the library every morning (because it's air conditioned and I can't work in the 36 degree sweltering heat wave we've had here) and I've been ruthless with my MS, cutting out stuff I loved because it made the story lag etc etc. I feel it's going to be a much tighter book because of it, and I'm very happy. I've also learned that I have to "let go" of it, and take a more professional approach. Sure, it was once an act of creation, but now it's a product and I have to see it that way now.

And you will all be happy to know that it now has a title: 'The Infernal' will be published by Random House Australia on July 4, 1997. I'll be in my final undergraduate year at uni, and boy is that going to get up the noses of the students in the Masters of Creative Writing course! Sorry for that brief lapse into pettiness. It's just that one of them came in to give a guest lecture in our popular fiction course last semester and pissed on us all from a great height, making it quite clear what a low opinion she had of popular fiction.

It looks like I've missed dozens of good conversations, but I'm sure there will be many more interesting ones over December and the New Year.

See you all again soon.

Jennifer Thu Dec 5 22:34:14 PST 1996

Thanks the way you are a big life of this party as well..Have a great time..!!
Thanks again Sherrie..!!
I'll drop in tommorrow, night night everyone and don't let the bed bugs bite unless of course you're into that sort of thing !!!!

Ben Woestenburg Thu Dec 5 22:14:47 PST 1996

SHERRIE: The nights are always,umm, kind to me. But I've learned how to do it finally. And yes, by the way, I'm rather happy to tell you, that I'm always the life of the party. In fact, that's why my wife and I always get invited to them. It seems that people think we're both a couple of cut-ups. And you know what? We are! And guess what! We have to go to one of those parties tomorrow night! God, it's terrible isn't it? All the food I can eat, and all the alcohol I can drink -- which is quite a bit actually -- and all for free! Thank God the cab's free too, 'cause boy, I feel like really having a good time!

JENNIFER: I know how you feel, because I think we all feel that way once in a while. One of the reasons I plan on having a good time tomorrow is because my wife and I just made up after having a bit of a misunderstanding that went on for far too long. (We hadn't talked to each other since last Saturday night.) It was all silly, and I have to take the blame for it, because I'm a guy, and you know how guys can be so stubborn and stupid, even though we never want to admit it. No matter how bad things get, I always manage to swim through it. (Hell, I made it through my twenties without getting myself killed!) But I have to go, because I've only got about two hours of good writing time left, and 5:00 a.m. comes really quick once you pass midnight.

Jennifer Thu Dec 5 20:52:13 PST 1996

You are so sweet Sherrie! I wish there was a way one could starch a heart. I suppose the dam thing would break even easier if it was stiff. HAh I've lost a friend or someone who promised to be a friend. I don't trust easily and every once in a while I have to have a painful reminder give me a whack so I can remember not to do that again..I'll probably write some sentimental dribble that no one will read and then I'll be done with it.
HAHA See Ya..

Sherrie Thu Dec 5 20:26:04 PST 1996

P.S. -- TRUDY: I haven't forgotten you. I just got sidetracked. Son Erik (17, senior in high school, general cut-up) sprained his foot rather badly in wrestling practice, yesterday. Even if the schools hadn't been closed due to massive quantities of drifting snow, I would have stayed home to mommie him. I'll get to your story, tomorrow . . . or maybe tonight. Thanks for your patience.

Sherrie Thu Dec 5 20:22:39 PST 1996

I'm so grateful for this place.
I got an e-mail from Agent Kathy, saying the publisher who had my historical in "committee" phoned to turn it down. The editor picked at stuff we could have fixed in the editorial process--which means, basically, it's a buyer's market in Christian fiction, right now. Buuuuummmmmmmmmerrrrrr. Only one left of the nine publishers Kathy contacted, although those three chapters for the radio station story are still out there . . .
Anyway, I was feeling a little limp, so I stopped by my favorite writers' "coffeehouse" and got JENNIFER'S what-a-precious-legacy-we-writers-guard speech, BEN'S hearty and hale good mood (me thinks the . . . uh . . . night was kind to you, my friend), CHARLES' marvelous news about his agent quiries, and PHILIP'S kind but most startling compliment (perceptive, you say? Naw, just eyes in the back of my head and everywhere else I could stuff them; it's two BOYS I've had to raise, you see; characters, they are).
You guys are great. Thanks for stoking the fire before I got here.
JENNIFER: Why are you bummed? Talk to us. How can we help? (Cripes, I hate that dark little dog--depression--that finds me again and again. It's the trade for being "talented and creative"; sometimes I wonder, if I'd been ASKED, would I have still signed up?)
CHARLES: Historical????? Historical!!!!! Goody, goody, goody! And well said, Ben (you're so clever and full of worthless information, you have to be a hoot at Christmas parties).
All I can dare add is, get yourself "Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition." It will tell you WHAT YEAR a word came into usage. For example: zippers? Not until 1926. Somebody being "mesmerized?" Not, as an adjective, until after 1829 (a little after Dr. Mesmer "discovered" hypnosis).
I try to picture my historical time as it really would have been, aside from the movies' new clothes (costumes) and buildings. That is, I try to take the ordinary today--that's the important part--and send it back there . . . but still remember to pack the sand in my pockets, the warp in my shoe soles, and that rancid butter. Use ALL your senses, Charles, but pick the little details that tell a whole lot. And have fun! 1850s, that's where I like to live. Love to read it, too.
By the way, I guess the outlook isn't so bleak, yet. There is still one publisher yet to hear from--on the historical--and Agent Kathy did say this was only the first wave of possibles. My chin's up (but sorry I'm so windy). Thanks, everybody. See you later. ;-)

Jennifer Thu Dec 5 17:57:10 PST 1996

KITTY, wasn't sure if you got my remail..Hope so it was great hearing from you..
I'm as low as a snake's belly tonight..Don't really care for the holidays this year.

Ben Woestenburg Thu Dec 5 17:06:43 PST 1996

CHARLES: As if I wouldn't respond to that question! I love history and historical fiction. The thing I like about it, besides the fact that's it's so easy for me to write it, is the fact that everything's there for you. All you have to do is put it together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. I like to find a common thread and weave it through the facts. It doesn't matter if the thread is truth or fiction, it's always there. The more facts you have on hand, the easier it is to see it. Sometimes I look at something, and I ask myself, why didn't anyone else see this? Take the story of Elagabalus, an emperor in Rome in the years 218-222. During his brief career, there was a schism in the young Christian church, the first anti-pope was elected, the Emperor Caracall had just been killed, a civil war averted, three women related to him who thought that they could run the empire better than he could, another man who was in his Praetorian Guards and was a giant, literally the tallest man in the Empire, a virtual Goliath, and he served the Emperor Caracalla and then became the emperor himself in 232 A.D. There was a man named Comazon who lived through it all and witnessed the whole thing. There was Apollonius's author -- forget his name right this minute 'cause all of this is coming right off the top of my head -- there was Pipian, one of the greatest jurists in Roman see? It just goes on and on. All you have to do is piece it together. I'd bbbe glad to help you find a common thread if you want. E-mail me whatever era you're looking at, and I'll do the dirty work for you. I love that kind of stuff!
You write it just as easily as you would anything else, but you have to know about the other things as well. The architecture, the food, the clothing, the religion, the political factions, and a few names. If there was an earthquake that destryed an area, you should know that too. If there was an eclipse, hell, why not? Floods? Fires? It's a wonderful adventure, and you know what, you don't forget any of it either.
Call me if you want me to sniff around for you. I'd love to do it!

Bob Thu Dec 5 16:27:46 PST 1996

Goodness! So great to see everyone back. You're all having such wonderful successes, I'm jealous. One of the problems with accepting commercial work is they come complete with deadlines. No excuses. I'm on sked and should be done by next Tuesday. They are quite handsome.
PHILIP: Not only too busy to write anything, too busy to even read your book. But it is waiting for me like a present under the tree.
KITTY: Nice to see you back. Sean's opening a fairly normal computer store. Will carry different lines, lots of software and rentals. His niche in the overcrowded market will be outstanding customer service. He is a charming, handsome dude and will do well. Even though the store is not open yet, he sold fifteen computers in the past week.
My delightful niece, Shanden, 10, visited me for an evening and wrote to Britomart, Lisa, Philip and Charles.
She doesn't have access to a computer and was just tickled to talk to people in Australia and Israel. I'll say again, EVERYONE RESPONDED to her in spite of the very busy lives they're living and that's another thing that makes this group so great. I had told her ahead of time that everyone would write back to her. That's how confident I was of the group. As I told someone, Shanden is going to be President of the Universe, a neurosurgeon on the side and have 700 children. She's a trip.
Disturbing how quickly I lose my identity as a writer when I have to play carpenter. I feel like an outsider in this group because I don't have time to write.
Anyway, congrats to everyone for your individual successes. I mean it.
TRUDY: Have not had time to decode your story. If you still want my feedback guess you'll have to stick it in e-mail. Up to you.

Charles Samuel Thu Dec 5 14:20:46 PST 1996

Hi everybody,

It's great to have you back Philip. It might be fun for those of us who have never been to a writer's festival to hear what they're like... especially since you're proposing one for Seattle. Somehow New Zealand seems a little more exotic. Then again, everyone could come to Jerusalem.

I sent a cold query to an agent at a MAJOR agency in Manhattan this week and he responded the same day! I messengered him a copy of my book. Since the letter worked so well, I faxed seven more top agents in the Big Apple tonight. I'll let you guys know what happens. In the meantime I'm having lots of fun playing with the business side of things.

Now an appeal for some advice. I'm beginning the flashback in my new novel. I have no experience writing HISTORICAL fiction. Does anyone have any tips? Do's and don'ts?

Happy Chanukah from Jerusalem.


Jennifer Thu Dec 5 11:19:49 PST 1996

PHIL I have my coffee and it feels strange HAHA You hit the nail on the head. I do have a problem slowing down. Good to hear from you again. I think selling ones writing has to be one of the hardest undertakings. If a person were to seek employment anywhere else there are factors which limit the competition, however, a writer is competing with the entire world. There are no limits and publishers have vast amount of material to select from. What a wonderful achievement when a writer is published.
I was thinking about how lucky families are who have writers in them. Published or not can you imagine the joy of reading something ffrom a parents heart or grandparents. I mean for generations one can get to really know someone they may never have meet. I would give anything to read something my grandmother wrote and to feel close to thosse who are a part of me. SO no matter if one is ever published someone is going to benefit from their work. Maybe someone far more important than the rest of the world.
Got to run now..

Ben Woestenburg Wed Dec 4 22:33:46 PST 1996

Hey there guys!

The first thing I do when I get home from work is check the computer for mail because I never know who's going to come over and then...phhfst, there goes my night! I also check out this page because I realize with so many people from so many different places around the globe, there's no set time for anybody to actually write. I was happy to see all the familiar faces.

Phillip: It's always a pleasure reading your pearls of wisdom, and I really miss them when you don't post. I understand, of course, that a guy has to make a living, but hey, it's great to have you back, even if it's just for a little while.

Kitty: I'm really glad to see you're back. I've missed your carefree banter and your inciteful wit. I'm almost finished my story and I can't wait 'til you see this one. It seems that for as many words as I cut, I just add them again the next night. I was down to about 8300, but by tomorrow, it should be right back up again, but it's all right. I've got another idea for a story.
You'll love this one: My daughter's trying to learn all the Christams carols she can, just because it's that time of the year (again), and was singing: Hark! The herald angels sing...when I asked her, with tongue in cheek because she takes everything so literally, who the heck this Harold guy was? And that's when it hit me...obviously an angel, but what kind of story to put around it? I mean there's so many movies coming out right now with angels in them, how could I possibly write one without being influenced by others I'd seen. The obvious answer is not to go out and see the movies until I write the story. Thank God it's a slow day at work for me tomorrow and I can write a quick couple of lines for a plot string and play with that in my head all day. And what a title too, "Hark! The Harold Angel sings". Boy, right out of the mouths of babes, eh?

Oh yes, and Phillip, before I forget. My brother-in-law is a hairdresser and has his own shop. He always says that the difference between a good haircut and a bad one is only two weeks. So save your money for a while and then get it done properly.

Sherrie: I took Monday off just for the Hell of it, and it was great. I woke up and looked out the window. It had snowed and it was dark and I knew damn well it was going to be cold, so I just said to myself: I don't need this shit. I haven't had a day off in so long, I've forgotten how long it's been. There's a difference between being asked if you want to go home because something breaks down and actually waking up and deciding right then and there that you don't want to go in.

Lisa: Glad to see you're feeling better. I've heard this flu's a whopper, but for some reason it hasn't been hitting out here as much, or maybe it hasn't been hitting the circle of friends I'm familiar with out here. I just hope it doesn't. There's nothing worse than when an illness hits this house. Seems I'm the only one who doesn't get sick, and I have to play doctor, (although I don't mind playing doctor with the wife, he-he), nurse, chief cook and bottle washer. Oh well, that's the way it goes sometimes.

ANd speaking of going...I've got to sign off because I want to put in another two or three pages of my story and catch the hockey hi-lights on the toob!
See ya guys,
take it easy, and let's do lunch sometime.

Philip Wed Dec 4 21:00:13 PST 1996

Just a thought - is it possible we are heading toward having our own annual Webwitch Writers' Festival in Seattle?

Back soon - Philip.

Philip Wed Dec 4 15:26:48 PST 1996

BEN: sorry not to be able to get to 'The Stuff' but I will shortly, I promise. God... can't imagine you PC-less in Lotusland... we will really miss you. You are a prolific wordsmith and, from what I glean here, we all kind of sense it in our water that you're on the path that leads up.
BRITOMART: sorry for not getting to you sooner, I do have some methods I've developed on dealing with editors and the editing of our own precious manuscripts, I'll post some thoughts soon.
CHARLES: sorry not to be able to get to your treatment but I will do shortly, I promise. Your US publication news is terrific, you will only need moderate sales across the country to become well established - this is exciting stuff.... up you go mate!
KITTY: welcome back!
JARBAS: welcome! There are indigenous Canadian writers groups, some of which are well funded. I know of two prominent female writers in Vancouver who I'll put in contact with you, they'll help. Come back and join our pages here, if the strain of writing English is not too great for you.
SHERRIE: it is good to read your contributions. You sound like someone who has that certain quality - perceptiveness - able to detect what is not arranged neatly on the surface.
LISA: Yes ... I agree with your haircut editing allegory for making things look better. But I had a bad haircut yesterday, I'm going somewhere else for damage control today, (radical surgery). Luckily my hair is long enough to take a second cut and I didn't need to add anything to it. My point - if in doubt overwrite and trim later until you are confident with it. When I read what is obviously padding in a work, it makes me squirm.
TRUDY: your suggestion of us all going back to writing letters has crossed my mind so often lately. Maybe that is what we are doing here. I envy your experience writing for newspapers, it is invaluable. But for us all, surely crafting words every day is the answer to a better art form.
BOB: I hope among the wood joining and shaving, and short stories there is time for the Siege of Leningrad. I want that one.
JENNIFER: you sound like you rush around too much, like the rabbit... I'm late, I'm late for a very important date - slow down you're making me dizzy. Sit with a coffee and post one your old thoughtful style notes here, please.
DEB: beaut!... human endeavour wins out over technology once more. It is good to see you on board with such gusto. Whewww!
JULES: welcome to the group.... as a writer I believe the main rules to remember are that, to begin with, there are no rules. Let everyone else try to persuade you that you do need rules and what they think they are, and make them give reasons. Then you way it all up and decide if you want to play that game or move on to another. Often unconventional approaches to literature are championed by intelligence-lazy individuals. In language if you want people to understand what it is you are trying to express, you have to follow certain minimal conventions or else you won't be able communicate.
JACK: so the MS is back for a rewrite, all is not lost. Rejig and/or embellish it and get it back to those guys, pronto (as if you aren't doing that already).
EVERYONE: sorry not to be able to post much lately but I do visit occasionally to see what it is that finds it's way into discussion here. Some good news: yesterday I was invited to fly to New Zealand for five days and speak at a writers' festival in February - of course I accepted. Charles thought it a good idea we share a letter I sent to him about the business of publishing, so here it is.

Dear Charles,

Thanks for the note. Good on you for being forthright in your efforts in the US. Yes, I believe good reviews (coming from celebrities or otherwise) do give you an edge, especially when the prospective publisher/ agent/ reader is not familiar with your work. We have to sell our books or MS as one might do soap, cars or any other product. Much to the annoyance of the literati, book publishing is a business. It relies on profits from book sales to continue. This is unlike fine art where works are produced for art's sake.

Poetry is as close as the literati comes to fine art: short runs of books are produced and distributed with not much riding on the success of sales, and certainly not the livelihood of the writer. The reputable old publishing companies still maintain a poetry list even though it may lose them money every year. I hear that a balance of works across a range of genre lists, diversification, is the modern key to publishing; and a short shelf life (one month usually) is given to new books by book sellers. I won't mention the media here, that is another story.

It's into this morass we head when we become writers.

Concerning agents, I am reluctant to recommend any. Personally, I'll continue to try to secure a New York agent; as you imply, that is where the body is buried (for some reason lost to antiquity). Geography or territory should have nothing to do with this process any longer, communication and transportations being as they are. But still I believe it does. Maybe it's the personal touch: being close to the brekkies, lunches and drinky poos. I remember from demographics used in my advertising days that one third of all Americans (almost a hundred million people these days) live in just those few extremely affluent states that make up the Atlantic north east - throw in California and you've reached half. So yes... it's a New York agent for me too.

I am really sorry for not being able to create time lately for my friends and fellow writers here. I am busy, as are we all, so I will not offer nor accept that as an excuse for myself or from any of you.

Back soon - Philip.

Kitty Dwyer Wed Dec 4 14:40:45 PST 1996

Hey, yall! I've been a travelling gal these past few weeks while everyone else was writing up a storm. Of course, since I never go anywhere whithout my notebook and my Mont Blanc--my lucky, sentimental pen, I'm always ready to jot down the odd thought. I've certainly met some characters, heard some true confessions and had a few adventures on my travels, but the subjet de la semaine is cutting the superfluous from a story. My perspective is that of a collaborator and former newspaper reporter, of course. In newspaper feature writing, I had to learn to keep the prose lean, to the point and still a compelling read. My first interview (which was also my first published piece) was an unweildy eight pages of single spaced, deathless, witty prose. The editor sent me back to cut and tighten mercilessly. It was painful--all that verbiage lost to posterity! I probably spent more time on that one interview than any other story I did while at the paper. As a collaborator, part of my job is the second draft which entails cutting and polishing. I think it may be easier to look at a rough draft written by someone else and see where the editing is needed, than doing it on your own. When it is something I am working on alone, I tend to put the piece away for a few days and then come back to it, red pen poised. I agree with Sherrie, and try hard to be as forethoughtful as Charles, but has anyone noticed that however lean and essential and perfect the prose is when we pop it in the mail, there's always an editor or an agent with a "suggestion or two?!"
Greetings to everyone new here since I last posted.
Bob--Congratulations to Sean and his new venture. Exactly what type of computer store is he opening? And skimming through the archives did I read about a niece recently on line--what did I miss?
Ben and Bob--Bob's offer is just one more example of how supportive this group is. Don't forget, however, that the US $ is stronger than the Canadian $ and, despite NAFTA, there might be prohibitive import duties on technology. In addition to Charles' suggestion, have you investigated whether there are any Cyber Cafe's in Vancouver--just in case there is a lag time and you want to keep in touch?
Trudy-- I'm sorry I missed your request for readers. At the library where I do volunteer work, they recently had a writer/illustrator of a series of children's books come to speak--during my shift! Very interesting.
Lisa--glad you are feeling better.
I missed wishing y'all a Happy Thanksgiving (US), but let me be the first to wish all those who will be celebrating the Festival of Lights starting this Friday, a Happy Hanukkah.

Sherrie Wed Dec 4 11:38:11 PST 1996

Aaahhhh. I took the afternoon off, and it feels pretty good.
As for the cutting and editing, just another suggestion--Gary Provost's book "Mayke Your Words Work" taught me a great deal about editing and writing with the eventual edit, in mind. I highly recommend it.
Thanks for the Cyberspace copyright info, JACK. But you know what? How is anyone going to enforce this, if they DO manage to catch a thief? I think breaking copyright law is second only to surpassing the speed limit.
LISA: Glad you're feeling better. I've heard this year's version of the flu is vicious.
TRISH: Where are you? I know you read this. Speak up, once in a while.
See you all later. I'm actually supposed to be writing the script for a progressive mystery dinner for our church youth group (a change is as good as a rest). I've figured out who the guilty party is; now I gotta write in some subtle but very exacting clues so everyone else can figure it out.

Lisa Nickles Wed Dec 4 09:49:20 PST 1996

Hi creative people!

Sorry I've been off line for a while. Between thanksgiving and the flu I haven't been able to see, much less type.

I'm with Jennifer on the cutting and rewriting bit. I tend to be long winded, so I have to do some massive cutting when I start editing. I think that a lot of people are afraid to cut, partially because they've worked hard on every word; like being reluctant to get a haircut after growing it down the length of your back. Sometimes a haircut- or story cut- is just necessary to make it better.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Dec 4 02:34:27 PST 1996

Just picked up the following off of Educom. It might have some clarification on posting things on the web or it may note. Then again, I just realized that by posting this would I be contravening Educom's copyright?:

A three-week-long meeting in Geneva of the World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations agency, is considering international rules extending copyright law to cyberspace. The draft treaties would ensure that
electronic transmission of any copyrighted work is subject to the same rules on authorization and royalty payments that apply to "hard copies" and would protect databases, even where copyrighted material is not involved, that represent a substantial investment of resources. (Financial Times 2 Dec 96)

Ben Woestenburg Tue Dec 3 21:36:25 PST 1996

BOB: I agree with you both -- and don't worry, I wasn't really going to ask him to deliver it for me -- but it will still have to be put on hold. As much as I might want one, and as much as my wife might agree, the bank accouint doesn't always balance (especially at this time of the year.) But that's okay by me. I can still sneak in on you guys, and I'll still be writing everyday. I've slept in the last two mornings, and felt pretty bad about it. I guess that's just Nature's way of taking care of me, since I don't do very well myself.

I'm still trying to cut my story up, and I've got it down to 9300 words, which isn't bad I guess. I think I'll just finish it as is, and see what I end up with. If I can't cut it anymore than I have all ready, I'll put it aside and try and send it somewhere later. I like it too much to want to change it completely and start over again.Then again, maybe one of you guys can come up with some ideas of where I can cut it.

Anyway, I gotta go, because I want to get back at it. I was just dropping by to check the mail. I have to start thinking about another story, limiting myself to 5000 words, and perhaps thinking about a contest or something. And speaking of contests, has anyone heard of the THREE DAY NOVEL CONTEST we have up here in Van every Labour Day? I'm thinking I might enter it if I can come up with something. I thought I might try my luck at writing THE VIENNA WOODS thing in one go, just for the Hell of it. You can enter it by mail too I understand, I'll try and find some info for you guys if anyone's interested.
Catch y'all later!

Bob Tue Dec 3 15:51:26 PST 1996

BEN: I completely agree with Charles. Sean has a lot of customers who want to trade in their old computers. He calls a recycler here and asks what they'd give. Typical for a 486 is one hundred dollars. A customer would have paid three grand for that in 92. The computer I'm typing on has been sold and I'll be buying another one in a couple of weeks. I expect to get away with about 300 (even though Sean has a store.)
To answer your question, Sean's store is in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, not far from Gettysburg. And though, about now, he'd love an excuse to run away to Canada, he doesn't deliver. I could find out the freight cost for you and Sean could make you a good deal. But....Charles has the right idea.

Jennifer Mon Dec 2 19:45:47 PST 1996

I've got to tell you my biggest problem is cutting words. I like things to the point that is if I'm rewriting. I read a story over and decide this doesn't fit and I've cut a story down in no time. I really have to be careful about that.
We have the greatest concern for each other. It is really wonderful!!! I just wanted to mention that.!
One night I was surfing the net and ran accross a group and all they did was repeat " Looking to talk to someone interested in BAh Bah Bah !! That is the jest of every note no one talked about anything but wanting to talk..

Deb Borys Mon Dec 2 18:21:48 PST 1996

OOPS! Forgot to put my name in--the message below is from me. (Maybe my intial problem wasn't all Netscape related--duh!)

Mon Dec 2 18:20:23 PST 1996

CHARLES: I agree that "The easiest way to chop is not to have written it in the first place." But it took a few exercises in chopping before I fine-tuned my radar enough to filter things BEFORE they got on the page. And even then I don't always catch the superfluous. I do find that worrying about length while writing can choke the life out of your story. I concentrate on *this* line, *this* paragraph, *this* idea so that it is clear in my mind which words are needed.

NEW SUBJECT: (But I hope everyone continues with the other also) Has anyone tried the new 1997 Writer's Market on CD yet? I just got it the other day and popped it in for a quick look see. WD might not know it, but this Markets on CD thing is MY idea--thought of it years ago (many, many years ago when I had a PC jr and thought they could put the program on floppies). I never did write to them and suggest it--think I'd be getting royalties now if I had?

Anyway--they're on the right track, but there's room for improvement. You can search for specific markets by certain criteria: i.e. mystery commercial magazines in the U.S. that pay an intermediate level or above, etc. There's also a submission tracker which I didn't spend a lot of time playing with, but it seems like the two are not connected. My wish list would be that as you scroll through the markets you've screened out, you can mark which ones you want to submit to and they would be recorded in the submission tracker. It looks now like you have to write down the info you want to input into the submission tracker and then key it all in.

I would be interested in any "systems" anyone has developed for ways to sort through markets and keep track of rejections, acceptances, etc. Now that I'm dealing with short pieces, I find there's a lot more paperwork and record keeping than when I was just sending out a novel.

Jules Estevez Mon Dec 2 14:27:15 PST 1996

Why do so many stories seem to mimic the past and follow such strcit rules and why do some many critiszms try their hardets to make new people's stories feel like old ones?
It pisses me offf.

What happned to spotnanteity, creativity and a typo every now and then?

Charles Samuel Mon Dec 2 10:47:21 PST 1996

RE: Cutting. I agree with Sherrie 100% only I take it a step further. I ask myself the question, "how does this scene advance the plot or tell me something NECESSARY about the character to advance the story," BEFORE I WRITE THE SCENE.
The easiest way to chop is not to have written it in the first place. Some people say, "I'll just everything because I can always go back and edit it out." I personally find it harder to cut than to add a paragraph here or there, or even a chapter. My first novel was 90,000 words. I had a professional editor go over it and I ended up cutting almost nothing but I had to add two short chapters. The story ended too quickly and one character hadn't been fully resolved.

BEN: You can hook up to the group with Windows 3.1 and
Netscape even on a 386 with 8 megs of memory. I'm sure there must be a local computer store around where people are upgrading their 386's and 486's. Usually the stores don't take the trade ins cause there's nothing they can do with them. I suggest you alert the local computer store that you're in the market for one of these trade ins and he'll buy it for you from a customer and take a small mark up.
A couple of hundred dollars should do the trick.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Dec 1 21:59:15 PST 1996

One comment about cutting I forgot to mention. Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land originally came in at, and I can't remember the exact number, but I believe something like 50,000 words over what his publisher wanted. He managed to cut whatever the exact number was, but it was a lot. Recently, his wife released the uncut version. Know what? It made the novel seem dated and all things considered a much worse product. The stuff he cut out actually made the novel more timeless and able to sustain through to the present day. Most of it was witty details that related obliquely to late 50's assumptions. Humor or wit or details that stops the reader rather than carries him along in the story with a sense of wonder. So, if he could cut that many words out of a novel, I don't feel so bad when I try cutting.

Ben Woestenburg Sun Dec 1 21:24:57 PST 1996

Hey guys, thanks for the offer, but come on...

It won't be as bad as all that. Manni's just rebuilding his house,that's why I have his computer, but he says I can come over and use it anytime I want. He says I'll be going through withdrawl, sort of like a junkie trying to ditch the stuff, and he doesn't want me to go cold turkey. My wife says maybe we can trade my old one in and upgrade to a newer one, but that might take a while. So Bob, just where exactly is your son's store, and does he deliver? I've sort of gotten used to this Word 7 program and now I see what everyone means when they say my old 2 is a dinosaur. Vancouver's not that far, if you live there that is. But hey, I'll manage, and it's not like I'll be leaving at the end of this posting. I think I'll have 'til February or sometime. By that time, I hope I'll have published something.

Which takes me to the question Jack posted up, about what to cut, and where. God, that's hard. I started off with 11,000 words, and spent last night going through it with a pen, today on the computer, and still only managed to dump five or six hundred words. Looks like I have to go through it again, and I still haven't finished the story. I just didn't want it to get too out of hand. So I have to find a place that will publish 15,000 words, and that way I know I'll be okay.It's still good though, and that's what makes me keep going on.

Bob Hanford Sun Dec 1 19:41:27 PST 1996

SHERRIE: 2nd the idea of taking up a collection (or something similiar) to keep BEN on board. Sean's just getting ready to open his own computer store. Maybe we can work something out. (It is his store that's keeping me so busy building cabinets.)

Sherrie Sun Dec 1 17:49:39 PST 1996

Hhhmmmmm. What to cut, and what to keep--this is Jack's question. Looking back at my first book--the 160,000 word novel I rewrote 5 times (great apprenticeship)--I see now how many scenes filled no purpose, except they were fun to write . . . or read, but I say that with reservation. Actually, they got boring because they didn't have punch, didn't advance the story. And that's the criteria I use now: does the scene advance the plot or characterization? Does it move the story to the next crisis or show me something I didn't previously know about one/several of the characters?
I used to be in a critique group where everyone laughed when I asked the question, "What is the purpose behind this scene; what's it for?" After the first few times, they didn't laugh anymore. If you, as the writer, can't come up with a good answer, toss it, baby. You're wasting your time and mine.
TRUDY: Send away. Yes, I have time, and would feel privilaged to read your story.
BEN: When are you leaving? Don't we need to have a going away party, or something? Can we take up a collection for your OWN computer? Aaaaarrrrggghhhh. We can't let this happen.
JACK: Thanks for your work on this page. You take such good care of us. And sorry to hear about the back-to-the-drawing-board routine. I suppose that's better news than "What!!!??? Are you kiddin?" Keep at it. I'll be praying a little tweak here and there will do it.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Dec 1 15:43:24 PST 1996

Jennifer, Trudy and Sherrie: Apologies that I did not get to archiving things before you left your messages. I probably should have just carried your messages over, but I wanted to get this up. For those who have not looked at the archives, please check out the last installment and read the last three messages.

   To comment on my own encounter with an publisher editorial board, the results were basically back to the drawing board. The project is not killed, but we have to refocus who our audience is. We'll see how this works out and I'll explain a little more completely as soon as I know a little more myself.

   Well, a whole new blank sheet for everyone to scribble on. The last file had reached 127k, so it was time. So, if anyone has any thoughts for a subject thread, please jump in. As I said earlier, I think good sex scenes has been done. Just a thought, how about the elements of cutting and downsizing a story. What is essential and what can be left out.

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