Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From January 2, 1997 to January 20, 1997

Britomart Sun Jan 19 22:37:43 PST 1997

JACK/SOMEBODY CLEVER: How do I get some of my stuff into the workbook? I tried cutting and pasting, but when I came to paste there was nothing on the clipboard. Where do I need to "cut" it from? Hel-up!

STEVE: Yes, everybody is different. Being a completely anal control-freak, I plan everything in minute detail before I put a word on page. It makes editing a whole lot easier though. You really need to hone in on just one of your ideas to begin with. Try getting hold of one of those little tape recorders and talking your story into it. That could give you a basic outline that you can work from. Also, it's a good idea to have a folder for all your notes and pull it out at least once a day to work on - even if you only sit there looking at it dumbly. That way you'll create good writing habits, and feel more like a "writer".

CHARLES: Way to go. I'm just dying for the day I get picked up in the US - that's where the money is. I guess being with a big publisher like Random House is a start. And thanks also for the help with your home town - I'll be e-mailing you soon with a few questions.

BEN: I just finished a racy erotic short story today for an erotic-horror anthology. Would you like to see it? I can e-mail it over if you want, but be warned - it's pretty full-on.

Bye all!

Kitty Sun Jan 19 17:41:56 PST 1997

Hey y'all! Today, I put away the Christmas books and replaced them with Valentine books (collections of love letters, poetry, a study on Courtly Love, Eleanor of Aquataine and Langue D'Oc etc....) and it occured to me that, egads, I was decorating with books! Now I have read these books and they are not all over-sized glossy "coffee table tomes, but the fact remains as the seasons change so do I rotate books from the shelves in the study to the more "public" rooms in the house. Does anyone else do this or is it me? On another subject, did anyone read the article in The Wall Street Journal about the publishing business (title: Put Pen to Paper These Days, You'll Be a Published Author, date: Friday January 10, 1997)? One interesting fact from the article: there are currently 1.3 million book titles in print now, 140,000 of those first published in 1996. The article was front page center in section B "Marketplace." If anyone missed it and is interested, I'd be happy to send them a copy.
Charles, WOW! Chicago in springtime! Call Oprah Winfrey and see if you can be her book club selection of the month! At least let her know you are in town. Philip, Jack hope y'all will jump in and provide first hand insight to this side of the business--and of course, Charles you are now our designated delegate so hone YOUR reporting skills for May!
Trish, were your poetic musings literary, literal or both? Sherrie's posting leads me to think both and, if so, I congratulate you on such fine usage of the language and I wish you great felicity and good health in the upcoming months.
Deb, Year of the Horses was terrific. Am I correct in surmising you are planning a collection of stories with recurring characters, themes, etc...? What sparked the idea?
Steve, there is no single write way (couldn't resist the pun hahaha!). Whenever I think of a character, scene, plot line, etc... I jot it down in a notebook. Doesn't matter if it can be used in the current project, at least it has been committed to paper. These jottings are the springboards to larger projects. I think somewhere in the first couple of archives we had a discussion about this and there were a lot of great ideas tossed around.
Trudy, I don't think anyone would be offended if you sent a polite, brief e-mail inquiring about the status of the project.
Jack, what do you mean "stand in the way"?! You have a book to write! We would be a pretty sorry and selfish lot if we expected you to drop everything to "privitize" the Workbook. When you get around to it (no "ifs" here as we all know how generous and dedicated you are to the site), you are welcome to assign a password to me.
I too am wondering where Bob is. Miss him.
Catch y'all later.

trudy Sun Jan 19 15:13:23 PST 1997

Hello everyone. Have been busy reading and organizing sending out e-mails to magazines for writer's guidelines. Will let you all know how it goes when all replies are in.

Now I have another questions...I sent that team penning story to the magazine and it has been a little over three months and not a word from them. I included an SASE for a reply as well as another for the photos if they weren't going to use them. What should I do? I'm starting to worry they never even recieved the damn thing. How long should I wait for a reply (I thought it was three months) and if I don't get one is there anything special I can do? I have the magazine's e-mail address! Thanks for answers.

BEN, best of luck in your search for an agent and ultimately a publisher. Think positive...I'm a firm believer in positive thinking!

CHARLES, congrats and how exciting! I'm curious to see what everyone has to say about promoting a book and about what to expect from conventions.

JONNIE, I agree with what you say about the short story process. Do you find you're always that organized though? I usually find I start writing and it leads me somewhere totally different then where I thought it would so planning out a fictional story never seems to work well.

STEVE, you've come to the right place to ask continue my thought from above to Jonnie I often find a small writing exercise to get me started and have come up with stories that way. The best way for me to explain how I write is with an example I guess.Some of you have read my children's story Bossy...well the idea was to write a children's book about a boston fern which took over a household; plus I thought it would be a good way for kids to learn about houseplants. Now this book is in the rewriting stages after criticism from several people here and elsewhere but my advice is write, write, write and from that a story should develop...or if you're really lucky several. I've had that happen before too! As for having an idea where stories are I said to stories seldom go where I expect them to! Does anyone else have this problem?DEB, can't wait to read your horse story. I love horses and with the rave reviews am sure I will enjoy it.

LINDA, welcome from another Canadian. I'm living in Hampton, New Brunswick (Half an hour from Saint John an hour from Moncton) Gladd you've joined us and I'm sure you'll make wonderful contributions.

PHILIP I don't know if I missed someone being upset about congratulations being posted to those having big successes or not, but I must say I find it so exciting and encouraging when people post their successes, both big and small; I've never considered it at my expense and I know as soon as I have a success you'll all be here with congratulations and good cheer. I hope we all know this is part of what we're here for.

Anyway I have gone on long enough. Take care and happy writing to you all. Trudy.

Jonnie Sun Jan 19 14:20:58 PST 1997

CHARLES: WAY TO GO!!!!!!Just placed my order.

Ben Woestenburg Sun Jan 19 14:15:58 PST 1997

Hello from Me!
I haven't said anything for a while, so I thought it was about time I let you guys know what I've been doing. I printed up the first four chapters of my book, and ended up with one hundred pages. I was considering giving fifty, but it makes more sense to give the first four, because there's more of a stream to the story that way. I've been trying to decide if I should go the publisher route or the Agent, and I pretty well decided the agent would give me the better deal. I even wrote an email to one that had a website I couldn't get to, and asked her to open the page up for me. I simply explained that I was thinking of hiring an agent and wanted to determine who was best suited for the job, this woman or another I had been considering. When I told the little woman what I had done, she said 'Right On!' After all, I took into consideration the fact that I was basically looking for someone to help me, and not the other way around. It was brash, and cocky, I know, but then I told myself, 'hey, the answer's already no, so what harm is there in doing it like that?' But I didn't come right out and tell her anything. I told her I wanted to determine if she was the one I wanted to hire when I decided I wanted an agent. I told her the manuscript wouldn't be ready until the summer time. There are so many agents on-line now, that it doesn't matter if she says yes or no.
I checked out the website for Saffron that Phillip had recommended, only to find out that I had already had it bookmarked from before. Small world isn't it Phillip? I read my story to my father yesterday just because I wanted to, and he enjoyed it. I take what my family says with good natured aplomb however, because they don't look at stories the same way other writers do. But it was good to read it to him just because I had never read anything to him before. He always read it himself.
And now the strangest thing. I friend of ours came over yesterday after having seen a psychic and having her cards looked at. She said she only had two questions she wanted to ask, and one of them was about me. It was interesting, especially when the lady told our friend I should go the way of an agent -- considering I had written that letter the night before. I try not to put much stock in those things, but I don't ignore them either. I kind of grew up with that stuff all around me. My sister used to do it, my oldest brother, my ex-sister-in-law, the neighbour across the street. They've all told me, since I was a kid, that I would be a writer one day. It wasn't what made me want to be one, but it helped me to believe in myself, which is what I think it's supposed to do. You can change things they say to you by simply not doing it that way, so if anyone says they don't believe in that sort of thing, they don't have to. But like I said, it's nice to have an answer to some questions you've had, or worries as they like to call them. I don't think it's good for others to hear it though, because my wife heard, and she just doesn't understand that everything you hear doesn't make it so. If I was to take what this woman said at face value, it would be another year before I published my book. It might anyway, but in the meantime, I can try to publish my two stories. I think Safrron's the place for CINDERELLA AND HER SISTERS because they accept stories up to 15,000 words. I want to cut some more from it, but don't know where yet. I can take a few paragraphs here and there, but I like it the way it is.
But I have to leave right now, I have laundry to catch up on, and play time with the oldest -- he wants to see who can draw the best picture on his MarioPaint game (he doesn't stand a chance!), so I'll catch up on things tonight.
And I'll tell you how I write my stories Steve.

Charles Samuel Sun Jan 19 12:16:45 PST 1997

I just spoke with my publisher, and my non-fiction account of the Gulf War in Israel, MISSILES, MASKS & MIRACLES will be published May 31, 1997 and debut at the American Booksellers Association convention in Chicago. Amazingly, advance orders can already be placed for it at Amazon!

Philip (or anyone else) do you have suggestions on how to promote the book at the convention? My publisher is small and open to ideas. I am probably going to attend, as it will be an opportunity to meet with agents etc. face to face. Also, what should my goal be for the convention? Are deals made with agents at the convention itself? Philip and Jack, I think you have the most experience in this area, and I think we all would be interested in learning more about this side of the business.

Has anyone heard from Bob?

Speak to you soon,

Jonnie Sun Jan 19 10:27:08 PST 1997

Steve: There are probably as many techniques to writing as there are personalities. I usually get a plot in my head first. A general idea not totally worked out. Characters come a little harder for me. Others I know always work from the Character end and then develop what they want their people to do because of their characters personalilties. I like surprises, so if I have an idea-plot or character-I dig right in and let my fingers take me to where the character and the plot want to go. Halfway through a novel I once wrote, one of my characters went dashing off into the desert of Mexico. I had no idea whatsoever where I was going, I just let the scene, the character, and the plot take me with them. Probably one of the best scenes I've ever written. Don't wait until you've gotten everything worked out before you start writing. If you do, you'll never get anything on paper. Believe in yourself.Of course with stories, you have to write much tigher, but set a limit, say with 1000 words, I will have to have established my character and the main thrust of the story. With 2000 words the 'black night' and the conflict. With 3000 words I've got to be drawing to a close, etc. Where is the story going to end? 4000 words bring it all together.
What does everyone else have to say?

Steve Moody Sat Jan 18 23:26:36 PST 1997

Hello again :-)
Well we are well into the new year, and I am
full of questions as usual, so I will post my first one for
1997 ;-)

This is on the matter of writing short stories. I have been
doing a lot of reading of late both of "how to" books
as well as short story examples.

I have lots of ideas circling around in my head, but I
am having a difficult time pinning them down to complete
stories. I have been reading that I should sit down and
have an idea of where the story is going before I even
start to write it. Some of the authors are advocating
defining the story seed, into a premise, or theme, which
the story will then seek to prove out. I posted a
similar question to a usenet news group, and received
much the same advice.

So the question boils down to this: how do I turn these
flighty gremlins fliting about in my head, into full
fledge stories that maybe..just maybe others
would like to read? ;-)

How do you all do it?
Secrets...secrets...secrets, Please tell me :-)

What process do you go through to give birth to your
stories... for me its all labor pains, and no birth.

Is there a doctor in the house? :-D

Thanks in advance for all the help :-)
I am going to go read some more of the workbook
now... seaching for that pot of gold :-)

Deb Borys Sat Jan 18 16:58:56 PST 1997

I seem to have a problem remembering to tell you who I am. That's me below--again.

Sat Jan 18 16:56:57 PST 1997

Sat Jan 18 16:56:50 PST 1997

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I am inspired to go on with "Thunder", the second story in the series.

CHARLES: Buy anything for me? I like daffodils and peach wine.

Linda F. Sat Jan 18 15:32:18 PST 1997

I joined the Notebook last week and have enjoyed reading through the archives as well as current postings. Thanks already to Sherrie for replying to my private e mail. Her comments helped me decide to write my novel for the Christian market. I am currently working on a non fiction book titled Building the Father's House as well as a novel that deals with the story of a young woman , recently widowed who is struggling to regain the courage to love again.
By profession, I am a pharmacist in community practice and also have a private psychotherapy practice. ( I completed an MA in Counselling 18 months ago). I have grown children the youngest being 19 and live in Calgary, Alberta , Canada.
As far as my novel is concerned, I am well into the planiing stages although my major character underwent a name change last week and with it there is a chage in focus for her. She has how ever stopped being "plastic" for me and is living and real. I had hoped to be well into my first draft by this time but now anticipate it will be the end of February before it gets underway. I do have the prologue written and am ready to do some scene building.
It's good to be a part of you and I hope I'll make useful contributions from time to time.
Linda .

Philip Sat Jan 18 02:44:38 PST 1997

Personally, I have expressed to Deb by email what my thoughts are about her Workshop posting and always look to see if others have put anything up for us.

I think the Workshop is a very useful site for budding writers and published writers alike. It's a place akin to market testing for the more confident writers and a great place for others to see their work up there on public display and open to comment and criticism. But I don't think anyone here takes good fortune or congatulations for granted and for us to acknowledge the good happenings among us is not at the expense of the others in the group. Back soon - Philip.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Jan 18 00:16:53 PST 1997

I have to concur with Charles. Deb's Year of The Horse is great. All of this makes me feel really remiss that I have not created a password protected area.

I have all the documentation, just need to bite the bullet and get the courage to get into my shell account and muck around with UNIX. I'll try doing that sometime in a couple of weeks. Other responsibilities really are standing in the way. I really want us to be able to deposit things to share with each other without serialization right, copyright or plagiarisim concerns. Even though Workbook is getting rather large, I'll leave it until I put the new and improved version behind a password protected area. One question? When I do it, do you want me to assign passwords or do you want to come up with them on your own. Your choice. Email me with your decision and I'll let people know what the concensus is.

Charles Samuel Thu Jan 16 22:40:22 PST 1997

With all the congratulations going on, I think everybody missed Deb's posting in the workbook... The Year of the Horses. It is wonderful! Some very beautiful images. I was yanked right into it... and I don't particularly like horse stories. When's the novel coming out?

Also there are a few other postings. One of them anonymous it appears.

Gotta go shopping. Take care.


Sherrie Thu Jan 16 17:46:35 PST 1997

TRISH: YOU'RE who's next!!! (Except your selection was supposed to be a contract for labors of the literary sort--not those of lineage.) No wonder I haven't heard from you in a while. Guess you been kinda busy, huh? Congrats. And EVERYONE, you should see Chrissy, the daughter Trish already has under foot. What a doll (I've seen photos). Anyway, you're forgiven, but we'll expect you to put all that down-on-the-couch time to good use; take a notebook with you.

Deb Borys Thu Jan 16 15:48:51 PST 1997

TRISH: Not only will we forgive you--we thank you.


Trish Thu Jan 16 09:17:09 PST 1997

Time continues around me, but I have fallen behind. Within myself, the passage of time has become hazy, the mists swirling in lazy patterns in my mind.

I visit a day almost 3 years in the past. From a distance, I see myself staring wide-eyed at a small plastic stick. As the two blue line register, I can see my hands begin to shake uncontrollably as tears spill from my eyes.

Looking upon myself, I remember the doubts and fears I felt at the looming prospect of becoming a parent, and the trials I would face in the future. Funny how something I wanted so badly could evoke such fear...

The vision fades as the veil of time is lifted. Back in the present, I find myself staring at two pink lines on a plastic stick. My hands begin to shake uncontrollably. As I lick my lips, I am surprised that they taste salty. Lifting one hand, I slowly wipe my cheeks, amazed that the doubts and fears of the past have followed me to this day.
Sorry guys, I guess the proper place for this would have been the Workbook. Hope you'll forgive me for wanting to put it here instead.


Sherrie Wed Jan 15 18:52:41 PST 1997

BRITOMART: Thanks for the details on your editing process. So glad to have you back. Keep us posted on release date, input on cover, etc.
PHILLIP: Gees, we may be in the presence of royalty. I AM impressed.
CHARLES: Somehow, we who have recently stirred excitement dim the memory (regretably) that you, too, came to us with a book already published. Please accept our applause, a little late.
Did I neglect anyone else?
I say again, who's next?
What do you hear from Colordo? Are we still thinking about it?
BEN: Are you a pyro? Does the union know (you DO work in a sawmill)?
Agented or unagented? Regarding Kathy--and all she's accomplished for me--as I do, I think you know my answer.
EVERYONE: Though Kathy is still waiting for the contract negotiations to begin, we do know AIRWAVES must be 90,000 words and is due Sept. 1. I'm ahead of schedule, now. NOBLE'S HEALING is due Jan. 30, 1998, and must be cut from 108,000 words. I could use scissors, but my mother-in-law may have the right idea. She says cut every tenth word.

Britomart Wed Jan 15 01:54:42 PST 1997

God, this place is getting very lucky.

JACK: Allow me to add my congratulations to the list. Whew!

BEN: I read "Cinderella et al" this morning and I loved it. I can e-mail you over the next week or so with some more specific comments if you want them - just ask.

PHIL: Guess what, you big star. I just opened up my English Department handbook for this year to choose my first semester subjects, and "Sweet Water, Stolen Land" is a set text for EN249:"Post Colonial Lit B" So if anybody out there ever doubted Philip, you can now rest assured that he is a bona fide, recognised author of quality Australian literature. Unfortunately, I'm not a post-colonial lit person - I've spent far too much time studying 16th century drama to make the switch now, I'm afraid.

Re my editing process for those who wanted to know. It was stinking hot when I was editing, so I'd just get myself out of bed in time to get to the university library (air-con) by opening time. Then (with practically the whole fourth floor of undergrad library to myself) I'd sit there with a couple of coloured pens and a notebook and make notes and draw diagrams and staple things together and rewrite whole sections and generally make a huge mess. Then in the cool of the evening I'd type in the changes. It was very daunting, and there were times when I really felt that I was banging my head against a wall - I'd pull out a sub-plot and find its roots still weaving through the text 15 chapters later, ruining motivation for something else. God! And I didn't come through it unscathed either, as anybody who remembers what I posted shortly before Christmas may remember. I was a wreck. Still, I have learned something, and that is I can do it which is always a nice thing to know about yourself.

Farewell all, and congratulations all around.


Philip Wed Jan 15 01:52:57 PST 1997

Saffron Editions - Short Story Publisher
Tue, 07 Jan 1997 13:01:00 GMT
From: (Saffron Editions)
Saffron Editions

Saffron Editions - Info Sheet 1/1/97
Saffron Editions has just published its first volume of short stories
of varied genre. A further eight volumes are planned for 1997 and
contributions in any genre are invited from authors. All material will
be read and classified by genre and also rated by our reading team,
this information will then be recorded on our database. There is no
maximum length although we feel that stories of up to 6,000 words are
most suitable.

Whilst we are keen to read as much of your material as possible, we
would urge you to submit to us only those pieces which you feel best
reflect your work. If you have bought a copy of our first edition, or
subscribed to our on-line version, you will see the type of material
we feel is most suitable. You will be interested to know that the
thirty stories in our first collection were chosen from almost 500
submissions from about 140 different authors.

I thought this might be of interest to some - Back soon - Philip.

Ben Woestenburg Tue Jan 14 21:17:11 PST 1997

How did I do that? Well, for one thing, I didn't. I was at work at 2:30 this afternoon, having a coffe break as a matter of fact. I had a friend come over this afternoon, and my boy showed her how to log on to the Net, but that wasn't until after three'ish. I have a hard enough time doing upper and lower case letters let alone something as neat as that. I'd love to take the credit for it, but I can't. It's a glitch, but hey, it looks great in my spot, and if no one wants to own up for it, I'll take it. I do that with lighters too. I was siiting at Renu's cousin's birthday/New Year's party, and they lighted the candles on the cake with a lighter. The person using it held the lighter up and said to a group of about seven of us: Who's lighter is this? I looked one way, didn't see anyone own up to itm looked the other way, same thing, and then sheepishly put up my hand as everyone around me started to laugh. I guess it's because I have a reputation for always ending up with more lkighters than I start off with in the beginning of the night. The funny thing about this one though, was the fact that this was the first time I had consciously taken it. I think I had lost mine earlier that week. So as for the flag, that's me over there in the corner sheepishly raising his hand and accepting all the praise. Ha-ha!

Anyway, I took a disc to work with five chapters, asked them to print it up for me, and plan on going through it tonight and getting it all in order. I want to send it away by the end of this week or the beginning of next week. So who should I send it to? Publisher or agent? I'm open, and easy as far as either one is concerned. I was leaning to looking at an agent first, but being a first novel, I know it doesn't matter. Feedback, please.


Jonnie Tue Jan 14 17:40:37 PST 1997

Looks like I get the second autographed copy of Jack's book right after his family. "Cause Ben sure doesn't need it! How'd you do that anyway? :-)

trudy Tue Jan 14 16:39:13 PST 1997

Just want to take a moment to say congratulations if there were any doubt; good things come to those who work hard!

Hello to everyone else!


Deb Borys Tue Jan 14 15:54:51 PST 1997

JACK: Here's my two cents worth of congratulations: YEAH, JACK!!!!! (Kind of anticlimatic thanks to Ben and Phillip, ain't it?) Anyway, I sure hope this marks the beginning of a roll for those of us on this list. I predict (eenie, meenie, chili, beenie) that before 1997 ends each of us will have posted news that will provoke large-lettered congratulations. What say you all, and. . . who's next?

SHERRIE: Yes, I saw Somersby when it was in the theatres. It was a mistake to do so, however. Not that the movie was bad, but the friend I went to had just had a number of bad things happen in her life, including the recent death of her mother, terminal cancer diagnosed in a close relative, etc. She was really depressed, and the whole idea of an evening out was to get away from sorrow and enjoy ourselves. If only we'd known the ending!

Lisa Nickles Tue Jan 14 15:04:04 PST 1997

Hi all.

JACK: Congratulations!!! I know you must be dancing around your living room!!

LINDA: You are more than welcome. I'm glad I was able to help you find this page. We've got a great bunch here.

I'm sorry I haven't stopped by in a while. My husband spoke with an editor who liked his book idea and wants to see chapters and outlines. I've had to buckle down and help with his project, continue editing my book (which is going fairly well), work and still find time to be a Mom on occasion. I realized why I was having so many problems before... I can't do only one thing at a time! Hey, at least I'm treating myself to more exotic coffee.

I can't write too much today; too much to do, and all. Later guys. ;-)

ben woestenburg Tue Jan 14 14:36:51 PST 1997

Jack! You are a real
American Hero!

I can't wait to read your new book and really learn how to use a computer!

Kitty edwyer@ Tue Jan 14 13:47:30 PST 1997

Yeehaw, Jack! Congratulations on the the good news. I'm very, very happy for you.

Jonnie Tue Jan 14 08:06:46 PST 1997

Britomart: Give those of us who know little or nothing a few glimpses into your editing process. Also I'm interested in those of you who can give me info on book covers. Did you have a big say in what they looked like? Etc.

Ben: You are definitely a hoot! You might consider sending in some short writings to your local newspaper. It might surprise you what would come of it. I'd like to take a look at your story if you'll email me.
I was raised on the coast of Va. and love seafood. would appreciate your wife's recipe also.
I'm off to cpt. 14. Cheers to all and keep those fingers moving.

Ben Woestenburg Mon Jan 13 20:08:25 PST 1997

Wow! Jack! I wish I knew how to do those big letters, but you'll just have to do with this. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Boy, this has been a great week. First Sherrie, and now you.

KITTY and SHERRIE: Thanks for the compliment. I wish I had a job like that. As you know the guys I work with a quite a group, but hey, I don't mind waiting my turn. It's only a matter of time, though.

I just wanted to drop a line to you guys. I want to print up some pages now, and work on a synopsis. I'm gonna take my future into my hands.

By the way, did anyone get my story?


Sherrie Mon Jan 13 19:26:26 PST 1997

Well, I'm coming in for a landing. What a high this has been, and no less so for all the congrats and encouragement from you--my favorite writing friends. You're absolutely super. THANX!
Now, who's next?????
Looks like JACK! Congratulations! I'm thrilled for you (and understand perfectly, that "looking over the shoulder" feeling). You've worked very hard to earn this. Enjoy your moment. But try to stop by; you may discover the book will write easier than you think. Right now, it looks very big. It will shrink as you bite it off.
BRITOMART: Please, girl, share some of what you no doubt learned these past weeks. How did you manage your time? How did you approach the project, so large? What did you learn that you can apply to this synopsis?
PHILIP: Good to hear from you again. It's so fun to read your messages; you even TYPE your accent, mate. Love it. And another Mac user. I'll keep that in mind.
TWO-SIDED PRINTING: I know about the "print the odd pages and turn it over" thing. ClarisWorks won't do it. Really frustrates me, sometimes, being the conservationist that I am.
DANIELLE: Welcome, and truly sorry to hear about your electronic losses. Jonnie and I have a friend who panicked the entire critique group one evening (years ago) when she announced her hard drive had died; she lost about half of the novel, and all that she'd written. Had to start over. Makes me ill, just to remember. Since then, I have everything I've written in THREE places--hard drive of the desktop, hard drive of the laptop, and on disks I carry everywhere I go in a purse sized makeup bag. It only took one of those horror stories to convince me; I ain't losin' it.
BEN: EVERYTHING reminds you of ancient Rome. You're a stitch, buddy. If there were a time machine, we'd all chip in, buy you a toga, and send you back there. That was humor; now, don't think I discount your wife's grief, or your helplessness in having to watch it. I'm truly sorry. The holidays aren't joyous for everyone. And Kitty's right. You should be writing a column. Kind of a blue collar Dave Barry (belch). I'd subscribe.
As for the question regarding lost literary treasures; I know not one. Must have looked in every corner, though, as it took me long enough to answer. But on an unrelated note, has anyone (besides me and Jonnie) seen the movie, "Somersby?" (One "m" or two? Can't remember.) Rent it. But fetch the Kleenex before you start the VCR.

Philip Mon Jan 13 19:01:41 PST 1997


Jack Beslanwitch Mon Jan 13 16:49:25 PST 1997

Hello everyone. I'm a bit breathless at reading through the activity here. Welcome to new people and I have to say that my appearances here may be a bit sparse over the next five and a half to six months.
   My editor is sending me a contract!!! I'll tell more when I've perused it and signed, including proposed title and publisher and all those details. Just being a little superstitious I guess. Pinching myself and looking over my shoulder expecting some kid to point and say "The Emperor has no clothes". Final draft should work out to 780 pages or more including screen captures and illustrations. It's been a long haul since I was first contacted back in October, now the even scarier part begins, I get to write the book.

Kitty Mon Jan 13 14:49:01 PST 1997

Ben, have you ever considered writing a "slice-of-life" column for a newspaper or magazine? You have a very vivid way of describing the events in your life--very captivating reading too. Every time you post one of these vignettes I am reminded of James Thurber and My Life and Welcome To It. Do you keep a journal of your observations?
Philip, when you decide to catch up, you do a mighty fine job of it. The book Giant is better than the film. I don't think people read Ferber any more, unless they come upon her books by accident. More likely they will see a film adaptation (a number of her novels were turned to films). I guess that is why I mentioned her. She was an excellent writer and storyteller, but if no one reads her books will those novels be slowly weeded out of libraries until they are all gone? In a hundred years when some bright and brilliant grad student is doing a thesis on 20th century literature, will she be included? Anyway, a full bodied red is good for your health (in moderation) and as to the cheese, well what's life for if not living?!

Jonnie Mon Jan 13 08:54:47 PST 1997

Good morning one and all,
PHILIP: Thanks for your email. found your book at Amazon, placed an order. 4-6 wks. del. :-(
I've been so interestd in reading everyones bio, forgot to post my own, not very impressive but I'm working on it. (the pages stated in my last posting should have read twenty-two.)
NAME: Jonnie Landis
DAY JOB: Anesthetist
FAMILY: Husband, Joe, two sons, one married with a son, one large golden ret., and three horses.
PUBLISHED: In my dreams-but I have finished two full length novels and a smattering of poetry (Though I know nothing about it, only what my heart says)
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: Novel 3/4 finished. A mystery with a little romance.

BEN: Gonna miss you. I've got a situation where I need my powerbook til the middle of Feb. But would be glad to loan it to you after that if you'd like. All I'd have to do is clean it up. It has write now 4 on it. Nothing fancy but I've enough room on it to store all my back work. (DANIELLE: Preserved on floppy also)

Ben Woestenburg Sun Jan 12 21:53:07 PST 1997

Hey there, it's me. Had a busy weekend and no time to write. My wife, being Fijian, and her father having died last January, we had to spend the weekend attending prayer services in the house. She had to spend the night with her family last night -- it's hard to sleep in an empty bed and serves as a reminder to me as to why I won't go on the graveyard shift at the mill. I didn't understand anything that was being said of course, but consoled myself with the fact that my wife didn't either, because she speaks Fijian, and not the Hindi language the prayers are said in. My brother-in-law and I were left out of the events because we were not 'brought into the family', but rather, 'took our wives out of the family'. We laughingly call ourselves the outlaws. The reason why I'm even bothering to tell you this little tale is that as I sat there watching the rituals being perfomed, it made me think of ancient Rome and the rituals there. I thought to myself, 'I don't have to understand what's being said, simply watching what's going on is enough for me.' CHARLES will understand when I say that watching it put me in mind of my story and what I could do with it. An interesting anecdote when you consider the things you see in your life and don't really pay attention to. I'd been to a dozen of these prayer meetings over the years -- they're called poojahs -- but never seemed to bother understanding them because my wife could never explain them to me. Her brothers aren't much help as far as that goes, and now that her Dad's gone, there isn't really anyone I can turn to. I'm sort of on the outside looking in, and they don't want to open the door for me (not the family, but everyone else). I'm the gorah -- the white guy -- and though there's no prejudice as far as that goes, they just don't think that I'm really all that interested. I was for a while, but then I lost interest, and now it's too late. An interesting day all the same. At least the kids were well behaved and showed the proper respect without even knowing what the hell was going on. The biggest concern for my son was that his mother was crying. I didn't want him to tell me that, because I was sitting so I wouldn't be able to watch her. Funerals are bad enough without having to watch family members break down; that's when I start to break down. I told him to comfort her as best he could because I wasn't supposed to be with her at the time. I'm not cold hearted, and I knew she was just grieving because it was the final goodbye, but how do you explain that to an eleven year old? She was bound to be depressed. There's nothing like ritualistic funerary rites. The worst part is that her father was the first one. We still have to go through it three more times. It's inevitable, and I hate that more than anything, but hey, that's life.

Now before I depress everybody with talk of death and dying, let me get on with the rest of this. I'm not depressed, and I don't want you to feel sad about anything I said, because it's not as bad as all that. It was just an interesting thing I thought I'd share with you guys because you missed everything last year -- and be glad you did!

But I want to say hello to everyone. It's just that I don't make notes like I know Phillip has to because there's so many names and things to remember now. My God but it's getting hard to get it all straight in my head. The names that stick out are the ones that stick around. I learned that with my wife's family. There are so many, that the more you see them (or read them), the more likely you are to remember them. I was happy to see that Charles came back, and Phillip, and Deb's back to. A big hello to Jonnie, but I'm missing Bob, and wondering how he's doing on his project. And Kitty, I'm going to catch my wife and tie her down beside me to get that recipe out of her head. She's one of those cooks that has recipes in her head. She's the kind of girl that makes perfect rice just by putting her hand in the pot to measure it, or telling me that a palmful of salt is exactly one teaspoon. If I wasn't always so pissed when we made the lobster every New Year's eve, I'd give it to you myself. Trudy a big hello to you ( I keep thinking of my sister whenever I write your name down.) Brit, thanks for the email, and I'm going to polish up the first part of my novel and send it away as soon as I can get it printed up. Seeing Sherrie get her hand on the brass ring makes me think it might not be as far out of reach as I thought it was. We're all so proud of her, aren't we? It looks like it's you and me Lisa. There's a new years resolution for you.
And with that, I'm going to go and write (well, not really write because I haven't looked at my book for some months I'm finding I have to reread it, and re-edit it). I'm taking things out and cutting it back a word here and there so that it reads easier. But I'm also enjoying it. I think it's actually a good story.

I'll catch you all later. I want to bring my disk to work and ask them if they can print it up for me so that I don't have to slog through it an hour at a time here and there. That way, I'll be able to do it at work and home. Nothing like sitting in the comfort of a big machine with tunes playing, a heater to keep me warm and my feet up as I read my pages and cross things out. Got to love them union jobs!
Oh yes, and Harrison, I know you still pop in here to take a look every once in a while, so when are you going to come back? I never even got a chance to check out your page. Your email doesn't seem to work either. You'd better come back and straighten things out. We miss you, don't we Phillip?

Danielle Sun Jan 12 20:59:07 PST 1997

Aaahhhh. I'm brain mush before even getting here. No one told me I had to bring my brain in here. My keyboard/hand is slanted. My nose is killing me from the seasonal cold. It's too late for me to be up, much less writing. Haven't written in months. I mean real writing. Plus I just lost one my projects on disk today. Everyone, please for the sake of your sanity, please do back-ups. My computer analyst dad says 'the only people who need back-ups are the ones who didn't do it'. Guess who didn't back-up this one. Well tomorrow is back-up day.

Philip Sun Jan 12 17:18:15 PST 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: it has taken me an hour to read the back log of postings so I could catch up - PHEW! There is so much that jumped out at me, it would fill a book. I am sure the essence of a book lies in the postings of a group such as our own - the stories of the contributors and how they are bound by the NOTEBOOK. 'How to make an American Quilt' by Whitney Otto comes to mind.
I would like to add my welcome to the new writers to the group: LINDA, CARLA, KEN, KASIN and STEVE. You will already know that JACK's NOTEBOOK, WORKBOOK and WRITERS' RESOURCES are unique places on the Net. Please help... pitch in and make this an even better site for writers in '97.
KEN: we really needed another poet here, to balance off the novelists. I see that you also write sci-fi love-story-murder-mysteries, can I add my request to an earlier one for a short sample/posting in the WORKBOOK.
CHARLES - re: ghost writing - it is still crafting words and if the payment is well negotiated, why not take it on. I know it will detract from your own personal work and it could take ages to complete but the process could prove useful and lucrative. Israeli subject matter is fascinating to us all and proven numerous times in the USA market place. Don't be discouraged by recent setbacks, we all know you have something unique going for you mate, hang in there.
LISA and CHARLES: the American Society of Journalists and Authors have an annual conference in New York. This particular conference is non-fiction based and is scheduled for May 10, 1997. For more information contact Alexandra Cantor by email, fax 212-768-7414, or phone 212-997-0947.
LISA: I use depression as a writer's tool, it puts your head in a rare space, in that deep reservoir that is only accessible when we are at our lowest. I am sure others will know and recognise that territory too.
DEB: the mystique of the equine? - you will no doubt have read the Horse Whisperer. And talking of settings in the south (Atlanta, Memphis etc), John Grisham uses them almost exclusively - it didn't do his bank account any harm. I can print the odd pages on my printer then reload the paper and print the even pages on the backs of the sheets, seems easy with what I've got - MAC LC 575 and HEWLETT PACKARD DESKWRITER 540.
BOB: focus and Ritalin? - good luck in the bigger challenge. Come-what-may, please keep writing.
KITTY: my son's annual school concert is not necessarily Christ based. The little ones do the occasional religious item but the big kids this year did pieces from musicals. Newport school has developed quite a tradition in the performing arts. I loved the movie 'Giant' but never read the book, the film reeked of atmosphere. I echo your New Year resolutions except for the chocolates - I lost my sweet tooth long ago. Now I prefer the cheese platter with a full bodied red. It seems calories abound in the most pleasurable of things.
JONNIE: thank you for the welcome home. My books: I know for certain you can order one of them at Amazon Books on the Net: - SWEET WATER - STOLEN LAND is the one they have listed. As for Aaron and Lee in THE LIGHTNING MINE I don't feel comfortable posting any more in the NOTEBOOK so you'll have to wait for its publication, I'm sorry. I recall your interest in the Flying Doctor and things Australian, are you planning to visit us Downunder by chance?
BRITOMART: I'm glad you made it through your editing unscathed - or are you scathed? Please send me the synopsis of your next book?
CARLA: so you're a Daphne Du Maurier reader eh? And what do you write? Could you post a little to tease us in the NOTEBOOK please? Contests: yes I agree with others here, go ahead and enter them. I would not pay to submit but the amount is so small, what the heck.
STEVE: I reckon a story tells the writer when its enough. A lot of writers will never let their manuscripts go. Morris West told me recently that his next book is being printed without his final words and changes.
SHERRIE: I am so happy for you. What Thrill! A joyous occasion, I wish I was there to share it with you. Just bloody great! The elation, the triumph, the reward or validation of your work and talent. Now, there are new exciting roads to ramble.
TRUDY: the fellow Maritime writer/poet, Nancy Minard was introduced to me by my friends she'd met on Saltspring Island, an artists' and writers' colony near Vancouver. Nancy was raised on P.E.I and went to Halifax to attend University and became culture shocked, dropped out and worked in a library while she carved out a niche for herself as an up-and-coming Canadian poet of some note. After going to the outback and experiencing amazing adventures with a traditional Aboriginal community in the desert, she spent Christmas with us and is still in Sydney. She is staying for our Sydney International Writers' Festival (which begins 22 Jan) then she is going home.
JACK: you sure do work hard at this site. Your suggestions and advice are very welcomed mate.
BEN: I am sending my snail mail and you must send yours. We will miss you here, but I am sure you won't be gone from us for long. I am serious that I expect you to be published soon - three chapters and a synopsis is all it takes. At the rate you write that's a trifle, a mere few nights work.

I use an APPLE MAC LC 575 upgraded to 20Meg of RAM - I write in MICROSOFT WORD 5.1 as well I mainly run QUARKXPRESS for graphics and CLARISWORKS for artworks and spreadsheets. I use NAVIGATOR GOLD 3.0 to access the Net.

A SAFE AND HEALTHY 1997 TO EVERYONE. Back soon - Philip.

Jonnie tville@ Sun Jan 12 17:16:13 PST 1997

Well, this week-end has gone by in a blur. Wow, was I surprised when I tabulated my page count. I've written twe more pages. Found myself sweating and getting paranoid that someone was watching me behind every door.Was my phone tapped? I must be taking on the personalities of my characters.
Britomart, I'd love to read your synopsis. I need to start one pretty soon. Got any pointers?
Linda, Welcome. Hope you enjoy this as much as the rest of us seem to.

trudy Sun Jan 12 16:13:56 PST 1997

Figures I can't visit for a few days and look at all the activity I miss.

Congratulations Sherrie!!! It's nice to see hard work pay off! And I have to agree with Britomart that we are likely meeting many of tomorrow's great authors...isn't it exciting?

Welcome back Philip!

Deb, I'm glad to hear you've actually heard good things about writers/agents/edits/publishers corresponding through electronic media; and I did figure most would prefer queries and actual work via snailmail or they'd state otherwise in the guidelines.
As for reading sample copies I sometimes find a visit to the library for an afternoon of magazine reading helpful and our local co-op has gotten pretty good about me studying the magazines they have on display as long as I buy at least one, which usually happens evertime. I agree it can get expensive trying to get enough copies to see what a magazine is like and that's one reason I was so excited to find more and more creating home pages. And regarding your canoe trip in Canada story, I think it would be wonderful and I owuld love to read it when it's done.

Hey Kitty was wondering what was up with you! Glad you've heard positive things wbout e-mailing with publishers etc. I'm very optimistic about the process now!

Linda welcome!

Britomart, would love to see your synopsis if you'd like to e-mail it to the above address.

Everyone, see ya later! Trudy

Linda Sun Jan 12 13:05:46 PST 1997

Just found your site as I was on Lisa Nickles homepage. I'm
working on an novel and am in the planning stages. I want to begin my discovery draft by Feb1 and have it completed
by Apr30/97. I hope I'll be an asset to the list and already have enjoyed the few entries I've read today.
Thank , Lisa for opening this door to me.

Charles Samuel Sun Jan 12 07:41:19 PST 1997

I'm really thrilled for you Sherrie!

Deb Borys Sun Jan 12 05:50:52 PST 1997

SHERRIE: I think printing on both sides of the paper is a printer thing, not a word processor thing. At least I know word perfect has an option to print both sides, but my printer (an HP Deskjet) isn't smart enough to turn the paper over so WP can do it's thing. I do, however, use both sides of the paper. All one sided pages get put in a special pile, and when I'm just doing draft stuff, I use it. With our Okidata Laser printer at work, sometimes paper gets stuck and I have to open the machine, take it out and start again, but then that happens often with brand new paper in that printer, so I don't think it's the paper. With my Deskjet, I seldom have any problem at all. If more than one sheet happens to get pulled through, it still keeps printing away.

EVERYONE: Please take note of my new e-mail address. Now that Juno no longer offers a toll free number, I'm not using it for e-mail. I only gave it out in the first place so that I could have a private mail bos--this one is my work. Not that anyone else at work ever checks the mail, but still. . . Eventually I will get my own web account, with my own address, but right now I have better uses for my money, especially since I have access through my work's server anytime I want to.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Jan 11 19:09:17 PST 1997

Congratulations Sherrie!!!!

Britomart Sat Jan 11 14:55:03 PST 1997


I'm so very excited for you. Just think, one day this writers' forum might be the stuff of legends - like the Algonquin Round Table or the Bloomsbury Group.

And don't worry, you'll meet your deadline easily - all that extra energy to boost you along.

I've been working on the synopsis for my next book and I'm really excited about it - any regulars want to have a look at it?

Gotta go. Once more, congrats to Sherrie. We're all terribly, terribly proud.

Kitty Sat Jan 11 14:32:11 PST 1997

Hooray for Sherrie! Hooray for Sherrie! What a thrill! I'm very happy to hear your excellent news. Your cyber cheerleaders at the Notebook will be here for you at every turn and bump in the road, and when September rolls around we'll be the ones typing in caps GO GIRL, GO! (By the way, I was unable to open the file you sent me).
Trudy, I'm glad to hear you're contacting the publishers via e-mail. I have a friend who is an editor and she prefers doing everything on the computer. Another writer friend of mine has received only positive responses from those publishing houses she has contacted for guidlines via e-mail (from her point of view it is easier to establish a correspondance with a real live editor via e-mail than conventional mail, go figure). Have you heard from Tobin recently?
Jack, I found your Kitchen Sink Rice Pilaff recipe while browsing around. I have come to think of you as Jack "the Renaissance Man" Beslanwitch. Is there anything you don't do or include in this site?! You are a source of surprise and delight.
Charles, I haven't been away, but I have been in a "mood." A sort of vague restlessness has descended and I haven't quite figured out what my subconcious is trying to tell me.
I am glad to read that you chose to work on your own projects and as to your current book not having "American" content, I wouldn't sweat it--a riveting story is just that riveting.
Ben, I hope your "friend" coughed up the cost of the keyboard. We spent New Year's Eve at home. We dined on blinis with caviar followed by pasta with seafood followed by Godiva truffles, and all accompanied by a very nice dry German sparkling wine. Cosy, perfect, and a great start to the New Year. How is Renu and did you ever hear back about The Stuff that Dreams or Made Of? Looking forward to the lobster recipe.
Welcome Carla and Kasin and tout les nouveaux.
Last night I was up to the wee hours watching Giant for the umpteenth time. Not only is it great acting (Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean), but it is quite an epic tale. The movie is based on a novel written by Edna Ferber who did most of her writing in the first half of the century. The musical Show Boat is based on the novel she wrote. Her books are very readable--the dialogue is realistic, characters well rounded, plots absorbing and not made conventional by time. Here's my question--actually two... 1. Has anyone else read Edna Ferber and what did you think? 2. I think of E.F. as a forgotten literary treasure. What other authors, in your opinion, would you describe as a forgotten literary treasure and worth a look-see?
Greetings to everyone! Catch y'all later.

Sherrie Sat Jan 11 13:55:26 PST 1997

Thank you, all, for your excitement for me--and isn't it great how my news motivated some of you!!! Gee, if I'd known, I would have fabricated something, long ago. (Well, probably not--honesty gets in the way––but it's a fun thought.) So, get to work Ben and Deby. Jonnie's excused; I know she's already been burning the keyboard.
JONNIE: Thanx. Very kindly, thanx. You're a dear friend; you give far more than you take.
I'm taking a break, and it's great to have such a place to come. Thanks again to Jack for providing us a Cyber-patio in which to sip our Cyber-coffee and watch the stars--to chart our next course, of course. (Did I spell that right?) Thanks to everyone else for their expertise, skill, encouragement, empathy, wisdom, generosity, and just plain smarts.
DEBY: I'm afraid our secretary said I looked as though Harry had just died when I stepped out of my office with the news. I know, when I talked to Kathy, I was very calm and so very tidy in just taking care of business--you know, gathering details and such so I could make an intelligent decision about accepting or rejecting the offer. Here's why: I'd already been through an emotional hell that morning. I'd just finished reading two books from a "line" a second, larger publishing house wanted me to write for. We were certain to get an offer from that editor, as well, but for only one book, and I felt almost sick about how much I'd have to change my stories to fit that line's guidelines. It felt like the larger house would be marrying me to change me, whereas Victor would be taking me as I am. But could I get so close to something even bigger and turn it down? What price, my "voice?" After I took the morning off to pray and cry and think and talk to Harry, we decided, "No compromise." I write what God told me to write, including all the "gritty realism." By the time Kathy called, I was drained. And boy was she surprised when I told her to not even pursue the other publisher, but she agreed.
At some point, though, I know I did weep (with gratitude and joy) in Kathy's ear. She just let me. Said it was understandable. She's great. Then I had to take the rest of the afternoon off because I couldn't thnk straight. I was almost a danger to mayself.
Truthfully, this getting published stuff is such a long and arduous process, full of little baby steps, it's almost anticlimatic when the "arriving" finally comes. It's weird. Not what you think it will be.
But, NOW that Kathy has assured me the deal won't fall through, I'm letting myself be excited. It's all I can think or talk about. Forgive me, okay?
By the way, to answer the question, I have a Mac, so my word processor is ClarisWorks 4.0. It's WYSIWYG (whizzie-wig); What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get, so it's really easy to manage. At work, I use WordPerfect 6.1, and it's okay, too. But does anyone really make a word processor perfect for WRITERS? Specifically, I wish mine would print BOTH SIDES of the paper. You know how we go through paper. I'd buy new software if I knew it was going to be worth it. Anyone have any ideas? I'd like to hear more feedback on this.
Hey, and where IS everybody?

Deb Borys Sat Jan 11 08:31:51 PST 1997

SHERRIE: Your good news was enough to launch me out of lurking mode. I've been back for about a week from Atlanta, but have been trying to catch up with my life ever since, so didn't take the time to say hello, even though I've been checking in periodically to read the chit chat. Fantastic news! Tell us, how did you react when the call came in? Did you faint, scream, dance naked around the room, spend half the advance by calling all your friends and family long distance? Details, girl, details!

TRUDY: I agree with Ben. More and more I hear of writers/agents/edits/publishers corresponding through electronic media, although I think most I've heard of perfer actualy queries and/or sample material sent snail mail. I think the WEB is one of the greatest marketing resources a writer can have. I especially appreciate sites where writer's guidelines are posted for download or printing, and also those where they print sample excerpts and/or catalogs so you can get a feel for their needs.

I know it's suggested you always read sample copies of magazines you want to submit too, in fact, that's what I did when I decided to focus on mystery short stories for a while to establish a bit of a bio. But do you realize how much it costs when you start spending $3-5 per magazine, let alone buying a year's subscription, which would be even more help since one issue won't give a full picture of their voice. The other thing that I found is that some of the samples I received were magazines I decided were not for me--usually because the quality of printing/work/etc. was substandard. I desk top publish pieces that look better than some of the things asking for submissions--and, of course, these are the mags that pay only in contributors copies. Not that I'm saying getting copies is a bad way to get started. Hell, I only received $10 for my first published short-short--and they forgot to send me my contributor's copy--but if it feels like there is no cash AND the publication is rather shoddy, you're not doing yourself much good promotion-wise. I know, I know, I sound like a money-hungry mercenary, a hack, who is only interested in writing as a get rich scheme. I should be happy to get the recognition and affirmation; I should write because I want to share what I have to say with others. Well, I do. And in the beginning, that was enough. But as I improve--well, damnit, I'm good, and feel recognition by established, decent-paying markets should be my goal now. Otherwise, I'd be happy sending printouts of my stories to friends and relatives.

(Sorry, I seem to have gotten on a journalistic-style free-writing hobby horse here. I'll stop for now.)

TRUDY AGAIN: I should write a short story about the first canoe trip I took in Canada--perfect weather, changed my life, real epiphany-style stuff. I've been on five canoe trips into wilderness areas and loved the experiences all equally. I think everyone should periodically trash their work- a-day lives and "commune" with nature. Being in a position where you need to rely only on yourself, your God, and your companions has a way of simplifying your vision so that you can see what is really important.

JACK: The lower picture has inspired me to return to the short story series on my alternative world. It kind of looks like the way I pictured it--stark, lifeless, eerie. I posted the first story in the Writer's Workbook if anyone is interested. It's time to send that one out again, I think all the rejection slips have come in on that one so far. Anyway, I'm going to see if I can finish story two today. (I'm snowed in, sort of, and it's Saturday, and it's been a long time since I "created" anything.)

With regard to your archived comment about software, I use Wordperfect 6.1(by Novell) for Windows at work and Wordperfect 7 (by Corel) here at home. Wordperfect 7 has been a disappointment to me--bugs and changes to graphics-related activities that don't make sense. I hear there's a version 8 due out soon, but I will wait to hear what people on my Word Perfect discussion list have to say about it before upgrading. 6.1 works well--I've been with WP since the old DOS 5.0 version and now know it well enough to make it do ANYTHING I want it to (well, almost).

I also have the Writer's Market CD, but only looked at it briefly so far and wasn't really impressed. But since you're raving, maybe I should study it with a less critical eye. Tell me, does it have a means of copying info from the markets listings to the submission tracking module? I know it's great to sort by money, etc., but it seemed like it didn't find much when I searched, for instance, by mystery stories. Maybe the problem is I really prefer WD's Novel and Short Story Writer's Market--it seems to have many more publications, small press, etc, some of which pay pretty OK considering. I'd appreciate knowing more about how you use the new CD; e-mail me privately if you think it's too boring a subject for the list.

JONNIE and BEN: My time in Atlanta was productive. I came up with two short story ideas and a whole slew of character sketches, I learned that community living is not something I'd like to go into long-term, and now feel more comfortable around the seedier side of "big cities."

Jonnie Sat Jan 11 07:43:56 PST 1997

Welcome home, Philip. Did you have a wonderful vacation?
For my dear friend, Sherrie. It couldn't have happened to a more worthy person. Not only is she a great writer, she is a great teacher and a fantastic encourager. She puts me on course many times and is more than willing to share her expertise. I've known a few other writers, or aspiring ones and . . .well, I won't speak against them, but I can certainly say they don't compare to Sherrie. It would be like her to find this page where people give of themselves and announce that there is room for one more published writer.
What an exceptional group of warm personalities. Bless you all. J

Ben Woestenburg Fri Jan 10 19:56:21 PST 1997

Wow!!! Sherrie I'm so happy for you. Unbelievable! This has got to be one of the greatest pages on the net Jack, and you should be more than proud to have started it -- and I know you are. It seems everyone here is getting published (I know it's just a matter of time for myself -- and thanks Phillip for pushing me back into my book).
Once again Sherrie, I'm really happy for you. It'll be hard going for the next little while, but you'll pull through just fine. You're an inspiration to me to get off my butt and get back to work. And on that note, I gotta go back to my computer and start working.

Philip Fri Jan 10 19:37:10 PST 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: just back from a driving holiday up into the deep north of Australia - Britomart country. Will post soon when I build up to home speed. - Philip.

Sherrie Fri Jan 10 18:03:02 PST 1997

Ohmygosh! They sold. Not one, but both books!
Kathy received an offer, yesterday, for AIRWAVES (the Missoula, Montana, radio station story) and NOBLE'S HEALING (about a physician in Santa Fe, circa 1855); I accepted, although Kathy and the editor are still negotiating the advance and royalties. AIR will be one of the introductory books when Victor Books (the publishing arm of David C. Cook Ministries) launches its new romance line in June 1998. NH will be released in the fall of 1998 or spring of 1999.
I'm electric with joy--but doused with the reality that I have a deadline in August/September. I need to average about 1.5 chapters/week to meet it. It should help, though, that in the next two months, I'll be flying to Colorado Springs to meet the publishing folks and get a clearer idea of where they want AIR to go.
I have a great God and a great agent and a great publisher behind me. Kathy tells me my new editor was attracted by my "gritty realism" and "treatment of deeper issues." She says they're very excited that I accepted and "enthusiastic" about my writing, because I'm "such a good writer." Garsh--and forgive me. I've been singing in an empty room so long, this feels really terrific. In fact, I'm very close to writing down the compliments and carrying them with me, for the low times.
Anyway, miss you all, but gotta go. Be back later this weekend.

trudy Thu Jan 9 18:14:45 PST 1997

BRITOMART, Hello. Glad to hear you survived editing and are onto the next project. And what's this moderation stuff you mention? I find I'm either here all the time or not at all.

JACK and BEN, Thanks for your advice; it seems to be the common concensus. I asked some other writer friends and they agreed. Guess I'll start e-mailing this weekend.

Everyone else, hello and see you all again on the weekend.


Britomart http:/ Wed Jan 8 00:57:38 PST 1997

Dear Everyone

Hello all! I hope I didn't miss too much. Just a quick message to say hi and to tell you that I managed to come through the editing process relatively unscathed, and have started researching and writing some scenes for my new novel. Most gratifying.

Charles, I may have to pick your brain (metaphorically of course - one has to qualify statements like that when one is a horror writer) regarding some details about Israel that only a writer can pass on (smells, sounds, feelings). A very small section of my new story will be set in Israel, and I have a Lonely Planet guide etc, but I'd like a first hand account. Don't worry about it now - I'll e-mail you when I need you.

Ben, I hope that you can get back on line soonish, but I will e-mail you my snail mail address, and please e-mail me yours.

Only six months to go before the book launch - and counting down. Lovely to be back (but back in moderation).

Yours ever

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Jan 8 00:54:01 PST 1997

I you have a place for your artwork on your own server and would like to link to the workbook or here that would be cool. I would request that you just provide a link rather than do an automatic download for large graphic files, however. If you have questions about this, email me and I can give some help.

Trudy: I agree with Ben, if a magazine has a website generally part of what they're after is to save the time of disemminating things like writer guidelines via a free medium like email. Good luck.

And Ben, I'll email my snail mail as soon as I finish this.

ben Woestenburg Tue Jan 7 23:46:41 PST 1997

Wow! I've just spent three days watching Joseph Conrad's NOSTROMO on P.B.S, and I have to say it's one of the best T.V. productions I've ever seen. I sat rivetted in front of the 'toob', and considering I hardly watch T.V. at all anymore -- I've given everything else up except my hockey -- I have to admit, I was impressed. I tried to get Renu to watch it, but she couldn't give up Melrose Place and N.Y.P.D Blues (or whatever it's called). Anyway, I have to read that book. I read LORD JIM when I was young, but I don't think I was old enough to appreciate it. Conrad fascinates me because he was Polish, and yet, wrote in English. It's like one of us writng Chinese, and becoming proficient enough to be known world wide.

Anyway:TRUDY, if a magazine has a website and you can get hold of its guidelines, there's no reason to not ask for them. I've gotten hold of a few mags that way, and they've been more than willing to oblige. If they don't, they simply write back to you and tell you that they don't send guidelines by e-mail and that you can only get them through snailmail. No big deal. They won't hold it against you. Oh, by the way, I'm not as colourful as my wife. She's a handful and then some. I'm a blue-collar guy who's trying to control his natural tendency to curse and swear and pass himself off as a polite kind of guy. (Which I am of course.)

CHARLES: I'd be more than happy to read your cahpter for you. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that I'm not familiar with the book you referred to, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to look it up. Then against, I might have already come across it and put it aside because of the vast amount of books I've looked at in researching ancient Rome. I love that time period, and everything about it. By all means, send the chapter. (Oh, I'm sorry, I thought that was BEG me, not BUG me.)

KITTY: Thanks for the recipe, and I'll get you the creamed lobster dinner as soon as I can get my poor, busy wife to sit down here with me and recite it to me. I'd give it to you myself, but I'm always half-cut when we cook it that I'm certain I'd forget something. I hope you and Ted had as great a time as Renu and I did. (Except for the keyboard incident, of course.) Funny thing about that fiasco, the guy responsible is saying it was my fault for not letting it dry out and let him clean it before trying it out first -- second funny thing about that is that his girlfriend hasn't seen him for the last five days. Did he really think I was going to wait that long for him?

KASIN: I'd love to see a sample of your artwork. Remember, I'm looking for an illustrator for ROBIN HOOD. E-mail me about style and ideas and maybe we can talk. I'm pretty picky about artistry, and even thinking about taking up the pen and ink and practicing myself. I like realism: Tenniel and Dore, that sort of thing, but I can be flexible.

PHILLIP: Come back and talk to us because I don't have much time left. I think I'm down to my last month. I WANT EVERYBODY TO E-MAIL ME THERE SNAIL MAIL ADDRESSES. I don't know how long I'll be off-line, but don't worry about e-mailing to this address, because Manni WILL pass the message on to me.

JONNIE: I hear there's flooding all over the place, but not where I am. I'm grateful for that. We used to live in a basement suite, and had at least three floods. We're pretty good at containment and cleaning up water. But luckily we're on higher ground, the driveway slopes OUT to the road, and it's our place. At leats we didn't have to contend with mud and shit coming in through the walls. All the snow's gone -- except for those stubborn little patches -- and with any luck we won't have anymore until next month. It's balmy out here now, and I swear, you'd never know we had sub-zero temperatures just a week ago.

Oh yes, Renu got hit today by some kid in a school zone and he sort of wiped the car out. It was just a beater so it doesn't really matter, and she's all right, even though she says she broke a nail, (and was quick to tell him as well). It looks like a can opener sliced the side of the car open -- sort of like the iceberg and the Titanic -- but it's still drivable. She says that thing that pissed her off the most was that she was in a school zone and there were high school kids walking around so that she couldn't swear at the guy like she wanted to. She said she did lean forward and tell him he was a F****en idiot anyway, but he was so apologetic that she felt sorry for him. I told her not to worry about it. The car was free; she's okay; and her nail will grow back.

My brother phoned me yesterday to tell me that they found his Jeep, with minimal damage.

Anyways, it's getting late, and 5:00 a.m. is closing in on me fast. Slept in 'til 6:00 a.m. this morning, but that might have something to do with last night's late night. Don't they all though?


trudy Tue Jan 7 16:09:49 PST 1997

Hey everybody. Looking for a little advice. I found a page that links to several Canadian magazines and was wondering if it would be appropriate to e-mail them for writer's guidelines? Or should I stick with snail mail for this type of info? I just keep thinking of the time and money that could be saved and it sems like a good idea, but not at the expense of ticking off a potential buyer of articles. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Charles wish I could agree I found this time of year enjoyable in Saint John, New Brunswick, but I'm not a winter person so snow covered everything with minus degree temperatures is not my idea of pretty. I'm sure I'd miss it if I didn't have it but I am a sun worshipper, especially when it's hot! Glad you liked our area; you're right the Maritimes are beautiful!

Later all! Trudy

Charles Samuel Tue Jan 7 13:23:49 PST 1997

Hi Everybody.

Thanks for all the input and advice recently from all of you. I've decided not to do the ghost writing project. It will take up too much time from my other projects that I'm more passionate about. So much to do and so little time to do it. Also, thanks to everyone who sent me their two cents about the parochialism of the American reader. We've decided that to be successful, we'll just have to make up for the lack of an American theme with extra marketing and promotion.

BOB: How are you and Sean doing? Did the book arrive? Did the cabinets get done?

KASIN: Perhaps you can figure out how you can post some of your artwork in the workbook. After all, Jack seems to have broken the ice by adding another medium to our groups activities. I'm sure everyone would like to see some of your work. Hey, maybe we can also post some .wav files with ourselves reading some of our work. That would really be fun. What do you say JACK?

TRUDY: I spent quite a bit of time in the mid-seventies working on a major project at the Worker's Compensation Board in St. John New Brunswick. We flew in from Toronto every other week and we lived in an apartment at the junction of the St. John and Kennebekasis Rivers. It was a very special time in my life and the Maritimes were beautiful... especially at this time of year.

BEN: Please bug me and I'll send you a chapter with some Roman soldiers in it. By the way, someone shared with me a series of illustrated books of the ancient world by Peter Connolly which I'm sure you must be familiar with. They are published in the U.S.A. by Silver Burdett and have amazing pictures of every kind of armour, helmets etc that you would want.

SHERRIE: Have you heard anything from Kathy? I can't imagine how anxious you must be waiting for that last signature. Keep us posted.

PHILIP: What adventures are you up to? We miss you. Do you have a home page? How helpful do you think home pages are in promoting ourselves and our work. Is it something worth investing in? What does everyone else say?

A warm hello to everyone else. LISA, CARLA, JONNIE, TRISH, HARRISON(come back, KITTY, DEB, STEVE and anyone else I missed.

Kasin Hunter Mon Jan 6 05:24:24 PST 1997

Carla, you asked how many storied should you have before you approach a publisher. One. But it has to be the one that he'll buy! You'll find over time that you've collected several stories, poems, etc. whatever you write and will have some to choose from. If it's magazines, I buy the mag. and look through it, getting a flavor for what it's about; then I follow the publisher/editor's suggestions to the letter. They want a query? I send it. They want the whole thing. I send it. Good luck. Kasin.

Trudy Sun Jan 5 16:04:35 PST 1997

Ben, you are so colourful in your descriptions, especially when you get excited. Hope you get the new 'puter.

Jonnie, don't necessarily blame yourself with computer woes. I personally think these damn (sorry my darling computer) computers have minds of their owns and do weird things just to see how we respond. May be a story here...

Steve, I've been searching my writing books a bit and you're right there doesn't seem to be anything on closure. If I stumble on anything which may help I will share it though.

Anyway, another reason I popped in was because I read Mary Higgins Clark's novel Silent Night today and at the end is an interview with the author. I thought the following tidbit was interesting...

"For me, writing is a need. It's the degree of yearning that separates the real writer from the "would-be's." Those who say "I'll do it when I have the time, when the kids are grown up or when I have a quiet place to work" will probably never do it."

She says that right after saying she used to get up at 5 am and write until 7 when the kids were young. UGH!

Anyways, thought I'd share.

Later, Trudy

Jonnie Sat Jan 4 17:23:35 PST 1997

Well, Gang, I wrote this all last night. It's now 6p.m. M.T. and it's not on the screen. Just when I think I'm getting this computer down, something else happens that I can't explain. I'm not complaining. It just sounds that way. :-)
I'll try again, but not as long tonight because I'm on a roll (as Sherrie would say) with my writing.
EVERYONE: Thanks for your imput on entering contests.
BEN: I enjoyed Mind's Eye. When I get this project finished, I may spend some time with it.
KASIN: Welcome and any other's I've forgotten.
CHARLES: I'd like to comment on the American reader. Many Americans don't know how they feel; they've insulated themselves behind their own little world. However, I know many people who would love to read your book on Israel. After all the world is holding its breath over the tiny country of Israel and if they're not, they know nothing about history, not to mention prophesy. Don't be discouraged. Keep plugging that book.
JACK: The pictures are great. Gives me alot to think about.
PHILIP: Can I buy any of your books in the states? When you have time, I'd love another morsel of Aaron & Lee. Great writing.
BEN: Are you and all others in the western states flooded, still standing, without food and water, need a care package? Western part of Id. is having a great deal of trouble with roads being washed out. Travelers stranded, etc. Our dam is very full, and I heard the surrounding mts. have 200% snow fall.
I'm sure I've forgotten something else I wanted to say but enough for tonight. Sleep tight. J

ben woestenburg Fri Jan 3 19:16:00 PST 1997

I'm baaack!
I got home from work and found that the computer had been turned off. I couldn't figure out what had happened, but asked my son what he had done because it took me two hours of dicking around last night just to write that little bit I wrote. I wasn't mad, but definitely a little frustrated because I knew I wouldn't be able to get back into the computer. So, when everything was said and done and we finally got around to it, we phoned some places and asked how much they charged for cleaning. I couldn't believe it when the shop around the corner said they charged 80 bucks and hour! We phoned another place and they said they'd sell us a new one for thirty. A world of difference. I just about creamed my jeans when I saw the new model computer they had. No more mouse, just run your finger on the pad and the pointer goes wherever you want. Unbelievable. I asked them about upgrading, and they said for 500 I could be up and running. I thought: not bad. But then I saw the new model. They lease to own, so I asked how much, and she said that one was 120/month. But she could go as low as 40/month, and with a Pentium inside as well. I think it won't take much to talk the wife into actually getting something like that instead of upgrading -- just because I'm that kind of a guy I guess. I might not be able to get it for my birthday, which is in March by the way, but I might be able to get it by june or july. So there you have it. I'm in love with the new technology. I purposely avoid going to computer stores because they're usually so depressing (knowing you can't have one for yourself), but now, knowing that I will eventually, I want something that I can grow into and still be on top of things with. Pentium seems to be the new thing, abd I like fast processing. I hate waiting for the computer to go through things like a slug.

Now, I'd like to officially say howdy to everyone new on the page, and welcome back from the depths of the holiday drinks to everyone else. I had a great time and drank a lot (because I had to if you know what I mean), but took a cab anytime we went out, (because I've finally grown up to). I wrote to an agent just for the heck of it because I just stumbled across something -- I think it was through a link on your page Lisa -- and told her my ideas for the VIENNA WOODS stories, and she said she would be interested in seeing three chapters and a synopsis. Nothing to get myself excited over because they're not written and I just wanted to know if she'd be interested. Funny thing is, I've been thinking about this name for the last week: MILAN --(mee lahn), as sort of a second story to follow CINDERELLA's story. Just because I like the name. I've been coming up with all sorts of last names: NOVAK, that sort of thing, but no substantial plot lines yet. But that's okay. I still have my book to work on, and reading through it as I have over the holidays has made me feel pretty good about it. I know this one will sell when I get it ready. It's just a matter of finishing it and sending it off. I've got thirty-odd chapters already, so it won't take much more to complete it. I figure by the summer time if I apply myself. And going to work everyday in that hellhole I call a job is good enough incentive for me to get my butt in gear.

But, I've got to go now because I got a lot of things to do. I haven't even had dinner yet. I just had to try out the new keyboard to see how it would work. It works like a charm. So I'll be back around Sunday or monday because I have to help someone move tomorrow nad then go to Renu's cousin's New Year's party(because he wanted all of his cousins there he postponed it, so we sort of feel obligated to go.)I'll check in when ever I can, and until then, have a great weekend.

Oh yeah Jack. Loved the pictures for the artwork. Couldn't think of anything as deep as Lisa, but that's because I'm basically a shallow guy. (That's a joke girls, because what guy isn't shallow, right?)


Lisa Nickles Fri Jan 3 17:16:43 PST 1997

JACK: I was looking at your pictures and I couldn't help seeing them as alternates of the same fate. What could or would so utterly destroy a world by fire (left) or by water (right) and yet leave a single seed of life with no true hope of starting over? And how are these seemingly two mirror images linked?

For those of you who haven't seen these pictures yet, Jack has the link near the bottom of this page.

Kasin: Welcome! Pull up a chair and have a cup of cyber-coffee with the crew.

BEN: Hang in there dude. Try not to strangle this guy too hard. At least you'll know to cover your keyboard with plastic the next time you let this guy in the house.

trudy Fri Jan 3 14:56:27 PST 1997

PHILIP, just had to say wow to your most recent workbook submission. I want more!

DEB, as a Canadian I have to say our summers aren't always that bad! Loved your bit in the workbook too.

Now everyone tell me why writers have this terrible tendency to apologize for their works before others read it?

CARLA, your welcome! And keep writing!

Later all, Trudy

trudy Fri Jan 3 06:35:31 PST 1997

JACK, you did it again...I'm going to go count how many times you archive right after my post!
By the way love the graphics; can't wait to see what comes out of them with this creative group.

KASIN, let me be the first to welcome you. Glad you found us, and you didn't have to beg that much for the location!!!

CHARLES, welcome back. Keep the optimism up about your book. It will succeed if you believe!

BEN, get the keyboard cleaned professionally...what a pain. Hope you're back keyboarding like mad soon!

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm going to try to catch up in the notebook...sounds like some good stuff has been added. Take care, Trudy

Carla Fri Jan 3 06:20:02 PST 1997

SHERIE & TRUDY: Thanks for the response and your support. I have started a new story that I am very excited about. You have inspired me. So, now I have three stories that I have started. I think this latest will be the one.

Question: How many stories should one have before presenting them to a prospective publisher?

I am still reading through all of the archived messages and getting to know all of you. I hope everyone will have a safe and happy 1997.

My goal is to simplify my life as much as possible and not to sweat the small stuff. and of course write, write, write.

Kasin Hunter Fri Jan 3 05:10:21 PST 1997

Hello. I am new to this page. Trudy gave me the location after I *begged*. I had been looking for a good place to exchange thoughts/writing challenges, and now I've found this page. Great!

I freelance in art and writing out of my home in my off hours aside from being a retail artist. I've been published in a couple magazines and anthologies for both my illustrations and my writing. I write mostly short stories and poetry, but am also dabbling in nonfiction (Trudy's expertise.) I have completed a fictional adventure book, and am editing (still--whew!) It's extremely long and is followed by another volume plus a glossary of names, places, tools and more.

For now, I try to keep my writing and my artwork in even keel, but the artwork pays more than the writing at this point.

I love both, can sit down and enjoy a well-written *anything* longer than a piece of artwork. I love a good story.

Can't wait to hear from all of you.

I will take some time tomorrow and read through the entries to get a feel for your work.

Health and humor, Kasin Hunter (Tucson, Az.)

Charles Samuel Fri Jan 3 04:41:57 PST 1997

Hello Everybody and welcome to all the new members.

Sorry I've been out of commission. But when everyone is on winter break, that's when it gets the busiest around here in Jerusalem. We've had lots of visitors and in the middle of it all we held an International Conference for the educational organization I work with when I'm not writing.

Glad to see everyone is starting to sober up.

On the writing front... I received three "No's" so far from the agents I contacted. Yeah! I only have about six or seven more to go through. They all liked the book but they felt, as one said,

"It just didn't seem to have the qualities the US market is asking for...and didn't have an American feel."

Are American readers really that insular and parochial? It's funny. When individuals read the book (even the agents), they love it. But many think nobody else will be interested in an Israel-based theme. If that's so, why are the Hebron negotiations constantly front page news? If no one was interested, the stories would be buried.. wouldn't they?

Anyway not to worry... by the way, Sherrie, I'm still awaiting a response from Colorodo. Perhaps today or early next week.

We've been having a warm, balmy and sunny winter so far. That's great for the tourists but bad for the locals. We depend upon the winter rains for our drinking water for the rest of the year. It's starting to get serious as the Kinnert (Sea of Galillee) is getting dangerously low.

I hope to get back to writing soon but with my in-laws and brother-in-law arriving next week for a visit the evenings look like they will be filled up with socializing.

Have a great weekend everybody.


P.S. Great pics Jack. How did you generate them?

ben woestenburg Thu Jan 2 22:33:59 PST 1997

Oh boy, am I having problems now, or what? I just don't believe what's going on. It seems we got a little carried away with one of or guests during the big Lobster Cook out, and he spilled wine all over the keyboard. Of course I had to unplug it and dry it out, but I think I should take it in for cleaning. All because we were arguing about Portugal. Well, he was arguing about it, we were simply trying to tell him that he was wrong. Now, I write something out and I'm getting all sorts of things happening to me. I haven't told Manni what's happened yet, because I haven't had the chance to see him, and I have to tell this idiot guy who spilled the wine that the keyboard has to be cleaned. He says he wants to do it himself. I don't want him anywhare near the damn thing. In just writing this little bit, I've gone to the server's homepage three times, book marks at least as many, the history of what I've looked at four times, and exited the net twice. It's driving me crazy.

Everything is screwing up on me

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Jan 2 19:57:11 PST 1997

As I suggested, I've archived the last Notebook from 1996 and started this fresh one for 1997. Welcome and jump in. I would like to invite people to visit the Writers Workbook and check out the latest installment from Philip's novel. Also, if you would like to explore the writing project that I suggested in the last message, please take a look at the graphics I created using Bryce2 and see if they suggest any ideas for a group story that we can do something with on the Workbook. Take care.

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