Happy Birthday, Mom!! :) Hope it's a great one!
     Dad's doing great, by the way.
     Well, on this final day of 1997, I feel that annual need to review the year. I wrote a lot of words this
     year, but didn't sell hardly any of it. All in all, I finish the year with 2 novels (190K+) and 10 short
     stories completed (last year, I wrote 13 short stories and 0 novels). I received 53 rejections for the
     year (54 in '96) and 406 rejections lifetime. I sold 2 stories this year, 30 lifetime. This year was a bit
     disheartening because I failed to make a professional sale. I hope I can change that in 1998.
     Highlights of 1997:
         Completing Experiencing Deep Purple and Heart of the Labyrinth
         Upgrading/Installing 200+ NT machines
         WorldCon - where I got to meet so many wonderful e-friends, like Vera Nazarian and Ann-Marie
         Horcher, in person!!
         My short story, The Sound of Angels, receiving 8 Nebula Recommendations
         Having my entire family together at Christmas (something that hasn't happened in nearly 20
         Being able to eat lunch with my Dad tomorrow
     I look forward to 1998 with hopes of selling my novels and selling my short fiction again. My resolution is to work harder at the profession and write more salable fiction. And I hope to write two more novels in 1998.  They say that whatever you do on New Year's Day, you'll be doing all year. Tomorrow, you'll find me at the computer. See, I've got this really cool idea for a short story and . . . well, you know the rest.

     Happy New Year, everyone!


     There are phone calls we hope we never receive, but inevitably they arrive. Sometimes late at night or at work, the phone rings and my gut twists, knowing bad news hangs on the other side. Last night, the phone rang, telling me my father had been taken to emergency. Throwing on a coat, I rushed to the hospital, expecting the news that my father had had a heart attack. I'm led into the busy ER to find my father lying there shaking, his face bandaged. The scent of burnt hair filled the room, making me gag. It is a smell that I won't forget for a very long time. Shocked, I approached him, confused and horrified. His thin gray hair was burned and melted in clumps around the bandages. A furnace had blown up in his face.

     I waited beside him, holding my breath against the awful burnt scent, and listened to his story, of the explosion that threw him backward, of his clothes catching fire, his flinging off his burning coat and tie. As I winced at his swollen red face and burned away eyelashes and eyebrows, I became more and more amazed that he'd survived.

     After a sleepless night making sure he could breathe, I'm home and so is my dad. He's feeling better today, but he's darned lucky to be alive. I feel a hard-edged mixture of emotions tonight, still feeling more than shaken by the accident. The important thing is that he survived. I am very grateful for that.


     Happy Birthday Wishes to my sister-in-law, Dawn!!
     Work continues on the rewrite of Heart of the Labyrinth. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through it. I made the mistake of buying Wing Comander: Prophecy on Friday...BIG MISTAKE!!!! For two reasons: 1) The game is addictive 2) It puts me in a strong mood to write SF. Bad moves for someone rewriting a traditional fantasy. :)
     Sure puts me in the mood to write the sequel to EDP though! And that itch is beginning to creep back again.   Bad! Ruh roh....


     Merry Christmas, everyone! Have a wonderful holiday!


     Happy Winter Solstice! May our winter be mild.
     BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Christopher Rowe for making his first professional sale yesterday to Realms of Fantasy!!! That first one is a special moment, Christopher. Cherish it. : )
     I want to suggest a few CDs for the season, a bit late I realize: Winter Magic by Hilary Stagg (beautiful and magical), A Winter Garden by Loreena McKennitt, and Enchanted Christmas by Anna Maria Mendieta and the Harp & New Chamber Ensemble.
     Watched It's a Wonderful Life last night (for the bazillionth time). I never tire of this movie and it always leaves a little of its magic behind after it's over. And I am heartened by the fact that this movie was "deemed a box office failure," yet it is an enduring classic. If I could write something with the heart, soul, and magic of It's A Wonderful Life ...
     Spent the day painfully refining the politics and "nobility" involved in Heart of the Labyrinth. I'm about 1/3rd of the way through my rewrite and have found that I need to spend more time on the Houses of Corydon. I think I've gotten them hammered out. As I look over the chapters, I find that I'm still fairly pleased with how they turned out. I worry about the latter chapters though, because that's where I threw out my outline. We'll see.
     I was very bad yesterday and bought myself 5 or 6 reference books from Barnes & Noble. Three books on Feudal Society and a pocket dictionary of British History.


     It's been awhile since I contributed much of note to this page. Tonight, I sit in a comfortable place with my job and feel a bit reflective, so please indulge me a bit.
         With only a meager handful of machines left to convert to NT, I feel all the stress and anxiety          beginning that slow drain. They didn't believe we could do it by 12/15 and there were many times when          we didn't think so either. They thought it would be a fiasco, but from where I sit, things look pretty well           done. I feel a quirky sense of pride from the accomplishment. My team and I fought a lot of obstacles          to climb this particular mountain. There were so many times when I wanted to get in my car and drive         west and not come back. But we will have finished the job a whole day earlier than a schedule drawn up in the summer and with a lot more personnel. I feel a little bit of Henry the V at the moment the battle at Agincourt turns. To the persistent, the field is won. Two hundred machines upgraded and installed in two months.
         Tonight, I am also reminded of the ordinary, the every day, the things we grow accustomed to seeing, touching, to just being there. My mom's oversized coffee cup that sits by the coffeemaker. My cat's faded pink and blue blanket draped at the foot of my bed. The jagged red heart cut with child's scissors that my nephew gave me on Valentine's Day. The worn brass thimble my grandmother sewed with almost every day until she died. Each one a thread weaving through my life, carrying a history and a feeling I connect only with these everyday things. One of the few things I have of my grandmother's is her thimble. I asked to have it when she died. She loved to sew and made so many things for all the generations she touched. A stuffed animal, quilts, baby clothes, wedding veils. My brother wore baby clothes that she made and many years later, he wrapped his newborn son in a baby quilt she made.  Quiet miracles touched by her thimble. I miss the Christmas cards she used to send me. And I miss the small box of cherry chocolates she would wrap up and mail to me. Ah, the sacredness of ordinary things.


     Ron Collins' excellent story, True Power, is now appearing in Dragon Magazine, #240. Pick one up today!


     Look for Sword & Sorceress XV!! It's out!! And it has stories by Vera Nazarian and Carol Tompkins in this volume! Go out and get one today.
     Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee who made sales to Flesh and Blood and Altair last week. Way to go, Mary!! Also, Mary's story, Universal Grammar, has just about qualified for the Nebula Award. Fingers crossed, Mary!! Also, her story, Monstrosity, is close to qualifying as well.

     All's quiet on the mail front. I've got several stories that need to be sent out again. That tends to happen during a Novel Dare. :) I only have about 12 stories out now. Gotta see if I can push that back up to 20.


     Discouraging 44-day rejection from MZBFM. That's 54 for the year and 406 lifetime.


     Very Special Birthday Wishes to my nephew, Skyyler, who is 7 today!!
     A 41-day rejection from Millenium SF & F.


     Happy Thanksgiving!!!


     Happy Birthday Wishes to Patricia Duffy Novak!! Have a great day, Patricia!


     Got 3 more rejections this week from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Cemetery Dance, and Aboriginal Science Fiction.


     Today's mail brought a royalty check for a story I had in the anthology, 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories.   Royalty checks are such lovely sights. The next best thing to a short story sale. ; )


     The Dare Effect strikes in abundance: Congratulations to Linda Dunn for her short story sale today! And Congratulations to Ron Collins for being a Finalist in the latest Writers of the Future quarterly contest. Ron's got one more chance to place in the contest, so fingers crossed for him.
     As for me, rejection #401 arrived today. A disappointing 111-day rejection from MZBFM. My chances of a sale this year are rapidly waning.


     Congratulations to Ron Collins for the stellar review of his webpage at Suite 101!! Couldn't have happened to a nicer, more hard-working guy.


     Yet another rejection, this one a 14-day rejection from Space & Time. This is a milestone rejection for me. My 400th. Guess it shows I've been trying if nothing else.


     Happy Birthday wishes to Lisa Collins!! Hope you have a great birthday, Lisa. :)


     Big Congratulations to Fishers 5'er Charles Eckert for his sale to Pulp Eternity!


     A 62-day rejection from WoFH
     Received a helpful, 17-day rejection from E-scape


     Happy Halloween to everyone!! And Birthday Wishes to Brigid Collins who is 9 today!
     10:30 pm: Well, here I sit with an hour and a half 'til the Dare starts. I feel nervous and unsure at this moment. I need to create that all- important outline. I have the two points that will make up my line (where protags begin and where they end up). Now, I just need to draw the line. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? I'm nursing a sore throat tonight, so I'm a little fuzzier than usual this Friday evening. BUT...I have lots o' diet coke and Sheryl Crow poised in the CD Player. A novel to write, no outline, and a deadline of 1 month. Now, *THAT'S* a scary story! Yep, it's gotta be Halloween. ; ) Wish me luck...


     A 13-day rejection from Pirate Writings


     A 10-day rejection from Talebones
     I did more setup on the new computer and I'm starting to feel more comfortable on it. Not sure about the writing side yet, but we'll see.


     I've put up a new index page to my site and cleaned up most of my other pages. Please let me know what you think. (the picture is of me on a boat in the San Juan Islands.)
     I learned something about myself as a writer this week...that I don't like my computer messed with. :) I've got this awesome new computer on my desk and I haven't been able to write a word on it. Now, if I go back to the old 486, I'm comfortable again. I'm doing all kinds of cool stuff on the Pentium: database stuff, web stuff, games!!! BUT...I can't write on it. *blush* I've put my old DOS-based word processing software on the machine and will see if that helps. Writers are weird creatures. :)
     I'm listening to Enya's The Memory of Trees through my surround sound, computer theatre speakers. aaaahhhhhh....It never sounded so good. She's got a new CD coming out on Nov. 11th, by the way! A "Best of" with 2 new songs. Yessss!! Can't wait! New Loreena McKennitt and Enya within the same month.  Definitely an otherworldly O.D. and loving it!


     The New Computer Is Here!!! Can't wait to set it up tonight. :)


     1 rejection to report: Absolute Magnitude, about 45 days (a guess)
     This weekend was postoffice marathon! I've let quite a few short stories return over the past few months and I haven't sent them out again. So, this weekend, I prepared and mailed 10 manuscripts. I currently have 21 manuscripts out and I hope to get a couple more out this week. Of course, now that I've hit the magic 20 that I was shooting for, that means there will be danger at the mailbox on Monday. Ruh roh.
     Played tag and play-doh with my niece and nephew last night. Learned that I'm really out of shape, too. ;)  Later, I had supper with my sister-in-law and her sister and husband last night. We had a great time!


     The Bad News: a 72-day rejection from Asimov's
     The Good News: I bought a new computer today! It won't arrive for about two weeks, but it's sweet! 64 megs of RAM, an 8.4 Gig hard drive, an 8MB video card, internal zip drive...woo-hoo! It's a 300 mHz Pentium II. I can't wait to get it. This PC has been a long time coming. I'm going to be a geek and keep my 486, though. :)


     The most beautiful sunset I've ever seen lit the evening sky on my way home. It was a Carribbean sunset.  The sky burned with dusky pinks, sunlit peaches, russet (like winter apples), and liquid gold. Like a bonfire on a beach at twilight. I could almost hear the mirimbas and taste the pineapple. And if that wasn't enough, a brilliant rainbow arched across the sky over my building. What began as a drizzly gray Monday ended in dramatic, fiery splendor and for once, I was very glad I was late getting off work. :)
     Did a little more work on The Spirit House and I hope to do more yet tonight. I am finding that it's growing increasingly more difficult to finish stories lately, but I know I must persevere regardless of the story's quality.


     Bought a new office chair and a new keyboard tray. This required me to rearrange my desk and computer a bit. I'm hoping these changes will lessen my hand/arm pain. The hand brace has helped quite a bit, too. Switched writing gears yet again and am back working on The Spirit House. This story has been a real bear to write. I restarted it yet again and I think I'm finally happy with the opening. I don't know if this works or not yet. I wrote about 1000 words on the new opening. This is the third time I've scrapped the opening and rewritten it. I'm going to finish this story, darn it! I bought the novel, _The English Patient_ yesterday, too. I was incredibly intrigued with the movie's non-linear structure, so I was hungry to study the book.


     I received a royalty check today for my Sword & Sorceress 12 story! At last, some good mail!
     Earlier this week, I got a *WONDERFUL* gift from Vera. A pigasus! He's sitting near my computer for encouragement, especially good timing since the Novel Dare is 3 weeks away....eep! Thanks again, Vera!!  You're a sweetheart.:)


     A 225-day rejection from Bending the Landscape: Horror
     Loreena McKennitt has a new CD out: The Book of Secrets. Check it out!


     A friendly, 6-day rejection from Talebones
     I wrote another 1500 words on the new, untitled story tonight.


     My mother and I attended a wonderful local festival in our area today. This festival has been around since my childhood, so I always enjoy going.
     I came away from the festival with a story idea, too. :) I put down about 1000 words on the story last night (no title yet) and hope to finish it in a couple of days.
     Haven't finished the previous story I started last week ago or so. My brain has been more interested in traditional fantasy lately than in science fiction. With my chosen project for the novel dare a traditional fantasy, I'm not surprised.


     An 18-day, helpful rejection from Dragon. This is my 390th rejection and it brings my total rejections for the year to 39.


     Did some work on the novel dare project today and will probably continue into the evening. I've decided to write a traditional fantasy using some characters from an aborted short story. The plot was extremely lame, but the stories the two characters had to tell still intrigued me. I'm gonna let them tell their stories and see what happens.
     Restarted the new short story with a better idea of inciting incident. I hope it doesn't fizzle this time. If it does, I'll take another look at where the story should begin. Update: I put down about 1000 words on a new opening today. So far, I'm not stalled, so I'll go with it.
     Lois McMaster Bujold's book, MEMORY, is now out in paperback!! I have it in my hot little hands and will begin reading it tonight. yay!!! I recommend: Lawrence Block's TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT. This is a great book for writers who need a bit of direction as well as some encouragement. Block has a chapter on many problems a writer might encounter while trying to write and sell fiction. His chapter on rejection is EXCELLENT!! I will look at rejection differently from now on. :) This book helped me relax a little bit. Reminded me of things I used to know. Made me realize that marketing was still second to writing something that I care about...so, I've fired my internal market critic.


     Not much to report here. My hand has been hurting too much to do much typing, so no writing over the past week. The new hand brace has helped, but I don't want to push my luck. Probably good to let my hand rest.  Having to rethink a few things. The latest short story idea has fizzled after one scene (about 1000 words). Bleh. Too slow a start. I can't seem to find my stride with the short fiction anymore. Maybe that's indicative of a transition (she ponders hopefully) So...I'm rethinking where this story actually begins. I think I know -- it's just getting there.
     I find that I'm thinking way too much about marketing the fiction and deciding after I've started something that "this won't fit the markets." It's not so much internal critic...it's--market critic? Not sure what to call it.
     Writers have such interesting reasons for not producing, don't they? :) I'm editing the editors' reactions before I even write anything.
     Still trying to come up with an idea for the upcoming Novel Dare. So far....nada.
     No mailbox news to report. I have 16 stories out and a query. I haven't finished a rewrite of my last story. I have another story that should probably go out, too. Gotta get back in gear, starting with this hand. The Novel Dare is looming.


     Happy Birthday to my brother, Johnny!
     A Barnes & Noble opened in my town today, so I left work a couple of hours early to check out the new store. Lots o' cool stuff!! I bought a book on punctuation, a US Army Survival Manual, and some relaxing piano music embodying the San Juan Islands. aahhhhh... Didn't get a chance to sit down at the computer until I made peach cobbler for a work carry-in lunch.
     I can't believe I'm about to report this, but I think I've got an idea for a new novel. It's not something I want to pursue for our novel dare, but I think I'll mess with it in the very near future. It's another SF story...ruh roh.


     Work continues on the novelette. I'm through most of the corrections. After I finish those, I'll have to go back through and add a piece to the story that will make it better.
     Have a new short story idea spinning through my brain. When I write a short story, I can't seem to write it unless I have 2 ideas to work with. Thought of the second idea a few days ago and I now have a title, The Spirit House. I hope it works out the way I see it in my head.
     The carpal tunnel has been a lot worse than normal this month. I'm back in a hand brace again. :( This is a new one, so I'm hoping it'll help. The best thing I've found for my hand pain has been massage therapy, so I suspect I'll need to go back to that. That and ice packs. It's been really difficult to type these past couple of weeks.


     Fishers 5 went well yesterday. I got a lot of constructive feedback on my novelette. It's going to take a lot of effort to make this story work. Last night, after I got home, I sat down and worked on the story for several hours until my eyes crossed. I cut about 1200 words out of the opening and plan to cut a lot more before it's all over. After I do that, then I can go back and work with my characters. The hardest part is cutting everything that needs to be cut. Still, in order to understand this story, I needed to write this first draft. I spent quite a long time on this story, much longer than most of my stories.


     A plane crash today at the university airport took the lives of two Aviation Tech students and one instructor.  And in an unrelated incident, a young man fell out a third-story window and plummeted to his death. My heart goes out to these families tonight. Despair cuts deepest at night. To lose four people with such bright futures is a terrible, terrible tragedy. I knew the pretty young woman with her whole life ahead of her and all I can think about is the senselessness, the randomness of it all. I try to understand it, but it never makes sense to me. Why today? Why on a sunny, green field, the sky calm, the air warm? Why at 21 years old? Julie, I wish      you could have lived your life. All of it, choosing your triumphs and regrets with great care or with abandon. I wish you could have looked back on this day as simply the day you witnessed a training flight. But not your last. Peace, Julie.
     One rejection to report: WOFH -- 61 days.
     I've read all the Fishers 5 stories and have written out the crit for one. Have two left to write up.


     I'm going back through EDP this week and reading for clarity.
     I'm really looking forward to attempting a sequel to EDP in November. I need to study some series books and see how authors presented information to readers who may be picking up a second book as their first read. That seems like a difficult thing to pull off. Much harder than it looks. I'll have to reintroduce characters and briefly cover past events. I plan to look at the works of Lois McMaster Bujold and David Feintuch to start. (two of my all-time favorite series)
     Read through a couple Fishers 5 subs last night and gearing up to critique them on Thursday and Friday.
     I finished reading Donald Maass's book _The Career Novelist_ last night. Very good book! I thoroughly enjoyed his down-to-earth style and straightforward approach to presenting the business to his readers. Very informative!


     Started a new story tonight. I'm about 1k into it. No title yet... just a working title (Cemetery Trees) that may not fit after the story is finished. This story is one of the darkest things I've written to date and I feel less than comfortable writing it. I'm exploring something that bothers me at a deep level about the world and I'm trying to understand this other POV (and where it comes from). This story is an exercise that I'm using to try and move past my level of writing knowledge (based on some advice Dean Wesley Smith gave me at WorldCon -- Thanks, Dean!). The story is difficult to work with and it may flop over dead any day now, but in order to grow as a writer, I feel that I have to try things beyond my skill level. This one is beyond me, but I'm writing it anyway.


     It's been a grueling couple of days. I've been working practically nonstop since 9 pm last night on revisions.  UGH!!! About 5pm today, I finished making all the changes that Lisa Collins so kindly marked for me in my novel. I feel so fortunate to have my book professionally copyedited before it goes out. Thanks again, Lisa!
     Your work and comments have been invaluable! One of the things I worry the most about in my work is logic errors. Lisa did an outstanding job of catching these for me.
     I've also learned a lot about what I don't know (does that make sense? :>). For instance, I learned that I have a horrible obsession to over- capitalize and to use hyphens when God-only-knows why I put them there. I also discovered that I learned punctuation on Pluto or some other neighboring world. :> Time to read Chicago Manual of Style -- real soon now -- or at least the chapter on commas. Lisa also found some glaring errors that have thankfully been fixed. Whew! Thank God for copyeditors! They make our manuscripts look like everything fit together so nicely the very first time.
     The rest of the weekend was spent on a final pass on a novelette for the next Fishers 5. This thing's pretty close to flopping over into the novella category. And you know what happens then? I hear Novel! groan.
     Another official note on the impending Novel Dare: Kurt "Shmoeboy" Roth will be joining us on this run (and probably kick both our butts too). Kurt is a very prolific writer.


     Princess Diana was laid to rest today. The world has lost a piece of its soul. And Mother Theresa died yesterday. Another piece of our soul lost. People who step out of their safe places and go into the world to help others are rare and we've lost two this week. There's a hollowness to the world today, especially with Autumn so close. That hollowness will fade, but the absences will be felt for a very long time. May the road rise . . .
     Well, it's official. Ron Collins and I are doing a reprise of our February Novel Dare, beginning November 1st. I'm excited and terrified at the same time. Last time was so manic and scary and incredible . . . I don't think I can match what I did last time. At any rate, I plan to find out. eeeppp!


     Wow......where to start, where to start. I had such a wonderful time at WorldCon! It was my first WorldCon. I met so many great people...there's just not enough room to fit them all in. I hung out quite a bit with the IMPs. Josh, BJ, Ann-Marie, Jeff, Jason, Wilma, Dri, James, Adrienne, Duke and his wife Susie, and certainly Ann Marston were so much fun to be with! So glad I got to meet them in person. :> Also, I got to talk to Kurt Roth again and new writer Diana Davenport. Got to hang out with my good buddies, Marybeth O'Halloran and Chris and Steve York. And I finally met Vera Nazarian face-to-face. She was great!! Funny as heck and a dynamo of energy! My good buddy Ron Collins and his wife Lisa were there too, which enhanced the con for me. We ate several meals together and, in fact, we had this incredible sychronicity going where we would both show up at the same restaurant or elevator at the same time. It was cool! And one of the best things about the con was rooming with my buddy Patricia Duffy Novak. We had a blast! Having the soundtrack to Rocky Horror Picture Show would have made it. :>
     I feel that I made some good contacts at this con and I worked hard to overcome my terror of making professional contacts. This was good for me. I also got to talk with some writers whose work and advice mean a great deal to me. I will carry this information with me for a long time.
     The Riverwalk was unlike anything I've ever seen. A cross between Venice and a carnival, the narrow walkways hum with people and burn with heat. At night, colored lights reflect off the water like fireworks, the sizzle of meat hissing above the buzz of hundreds of voices. Garlic and onion scent mix with an occasional, husky whiff of river water. In the distance, a bagpipe mourns above laughter and latin drums. The hum of life vibrates through the walkway and shimmers on top of the water. My feet bounce along the pavement, wanting to skip or dance to the rush of musics and the scent of August. San Antonio is fiery tonight like a well-built bon fire.


     I've spent most of the week critiquing stories for WorldCon. Almost done with the writeups.
     So much to do before I leave Thursday! I've been working on high concepts for EDP and HL. I think I've finally got those ready.
     This will be probably be my last entry until after WorldCon. If anyone who happens to read this page is attending WorldCon, stop me and say hi. This is my first WorldCon...I expect to be overwhelmed. :>


     I just finished my draft of EDP. I cut some stuff in the final 4 chapters and added a bit more to flesh out David. I fixed the bad guys' motivation too, making Peter the one who offers the deal instead of the aliens.  The story remained at 92k on final word count. Which is still fine. I'll need to make one more pass through it to correct the copyedit stuff and read the changes for clarity.
     I'm seriously entertaining the idea of another Novel Dare after I come back from my first WorldCon.
     Working through these changes has reignited my excitement with this manuscript . . . so now, I want to write the sequel again. I confess though, I'm not sure I can repeat what happened in February. 87k in 22 days is a little tough to match...yikes! I think I'd like to try though. Already have the tentative title of _A Paler Shade of Gray_ for the sequel......Ron?....Interested? I'll even throw out a tentative starting date...October 4th to November 2nd?


     I just finished rewriting Ch. 32 (of 36) of EDP. I think I've finally *got* the bad guys' motivation figured out now. I think. I've added about 5k now to the book, fleshing out background, bad guy's motivation, Diana's attraction to Peter, and bringing David out more (in Peter's POV.) I hope I've fixed the problems now. When I've finished this draft, I'll probably read through it again, see if I've truly fixed the problems. I'm pleased with the book's length now. It's at a solid 92k. I was shooting for 90k, so I was surprised when I saw the word count. I've still got 4 chapters left to rewrite, one of these requires some additional material (bad guys motivation problem again), so I imagine EDP will hit 95k before I'm finished.
     I've added my WorldCon schedule to my "Places I'll Be" section. If you're gonna be at WorldCon and want to say hi, please do!


     Spent the evening working on EDP. I've reached the chapter where I've still got some big problems. Gotta figure out how to fix them. At the moment, I don't have a fix...grumble, grumble...but I hope to soon. The story turns on the aliens and why they contact the protagonist...gotta come up with a plausible why on that.
     What I have still isn't enough and it's not quite working. This part of the book is what gave me the most trouble when I wrote the first draft. Hope I figure out this part soon.


     Have spent the day so far working on a minor rewrite of EDP. I have added more background info in the beginning and I hope to weave a bit more in throughout the book. I've also added a new scene that sets up Diana's feelings for Peter.
     One thing I'd miss about Indiana is its drama. People call Indiana flat and boring, but I think of it as a stage where things spark and carry people/ events off to other places and circumstances. Even thunderstorms. The calm is always dramatic -- the trees stop swaying, bird calls fade, and wind chimes whisper. It's an ominous silence that's riveting and startling. Dark clouds loom on the horizon. They remind me of when the theatre darkens and the curtain rustles as it slowly rises. If I listen, I can almost hear whispers on the wind as it rises with the clatter of leaves and the frantic pealing of wind chimes. Lightning flashes indigo afterimages in the darkness followed by the slow, feral rumble of thunder. Moments between flash and rumble grow shorter.
     Charged air pumps with adrenaline as the first warning drops patter against the pavement. There's another moment of calm and then the rush of rain. Last night, I stood on the steps and let the rain rush over me. As if I could absorb some of that wildness and determination. The storm moved quickly over my town, slipping into the night. Just one more stop for the traveling show.


     A 52-day rejection from Odyssey.
     Spent time working on high concepts for my two SF manuscripts. I think I've got Hard Limit's high concept down (4 lines), but I can't seem to compress Experiencing Deep Purple beyond a page. There are 4 major characters in the story which makes it difficult to condense into 3 or 4 lines. It's hard to boil a novel down to 4 lines.


     Did some cleanup on the novelette which has officially hit the 12k mark. I find that I'm still pleased with the story after reading through it last night.
     Worked through a few more new ideas on a rewrite of one of my novel manuscripts. I think this will fix quite a few problems and am quite anxious to get started on it. Gotta hit EDP first though. I want to incorporate Lisa Collins' suggestions into the draft (as well as her copyediting).


     Congratulations to Pat York for her sale to Realms of Fantasy!
     I'm happy to report that "Meteorites Like Conch Shells" is *finally* finished! Weighing in at 11,750 words. This puppy took a while, let me tell you. It's the 10th story I've written this year. whew! Part of what took so long was some of the research I needed to do. Research on Antarctica, on the ozone, on conch shells...quite a bit to look at.
     Thought of a bizarre idea for a short story today. It's just sitting there chugging away.


     The novelette is up to 9k now. I'm hoping it won't go much longer than 10k, but have a bad feeling it will.


     Happy Anniversary, Seville! I brought Seville home 7 years ago today.


     Received a 10-day rejection from F&SF today.


     Got some excellent feedback/suggestions for improving my latest novel manuscript from Lisa Collins! She brought up some things that I hadn't realized or things that I had a gut feeling about, but couldn't put into words. It should be fun brainstorming fixes for them too. :> Thanks again, Lisa!
     Did more work on this sprawling SF story I'm working on. This one is moving very slowly.
     Today was an ocean blue day. The sky reminded me of a Greek blue, the soul-deep color of the sea against white-washed cities. I closed my eyes and imagined that the rush of cars was the crash of waves. If only I could do that with the telephone. :>


     Spent the evening working on a short story. This SF story is now up to 7800 words. I fear it will top 10k now, but I can't seem to tell this story any shorter. Most of my stories are fairly short, so this one is quite the anomaly.


     Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Marybeth!! Have a wonderful day and treat yourself!
     I polished the new short story and it's going out tomorrow. That will make a whopping 17 stories out for me.  Haven't had that many out in a while.
     Did quite a bit of work on an unfinished story. It's, alas, at about 7k words with about a 1/3 left to write. This one is going to easily hit the 9k mark. Too bad, too. Novelettes can be tough to sell. I should be done with it in a couple of days.
     Bought a small bookshelf today to hold more of my paperbacks and a new CD holder (holds 200 CDs) to replace my smaller one. Now, I have lots of room to house my CDs.


     CONGRATULATIONS to Fishers 5 pal, Kevin Shadle who just sold a short story to Shiver!!!


     New quote by fellow IMP, Sue Burke: "Reject all you want -- I'll write more." Is that a great quote or what?  Should be every writer's mantra. I'm going to try and make it mine.
     Did some polishing on the new short story tonight and fleshed out the ending and a scene or two in the middle. The story is now 3000 words. It still feels weird to be saying that I have a new short story completed.  This is my 9th of the year. When I finish the other half-completed one (an SF story), I'll hit double digits for the year. The story is called Meteorites Like Conch Shells. I even know where it's all going, but there's one sticky part in the middle that I've been avoiding.
     Still hoping to outline a new novel, but work has been exhausting this week. Probably will this weekend. I've got some crits to do too. eep!
     I'm currently reading James Alan Gardner's book, Expendable. I'm only about 30 pages into the book, so it's too early for an opinion. The story is still unfolding.


     I'm happy to report that I just completed a new short story, "When Sparrows Fall." It's very rough and the ending will need a lot more work, but the important thing is that I finished it. About 2600 worrds.


     Had a great time at RiverCon this year. It was an excellent con! Ron Collins and I conducted our first workshop together. I had a great time and I think the workshop went well.
     I met authors: Kurt Roth, Christopher Rowe, and Michael Williams. Kurt and Christopher kept us in stitches all weekend. I bought Michael Williams' new book, Arcady. This book sounds like an excellent read. I'm looking forward to cracking the cover tonight.
     Greatly enjoyed the critique session with Cathy Edwards too. We brain- stormed, talked structure and I learned some things too. I'm hoping Cathy felt the same way.
     I learned quite a lot this weekend, especially about myself as a writer. In talking with the aspiring writers and the established writers, I was reminded of what started me on this writing quest and what kept me going. I remembered how I felt when I discovered Dandelion Wine and Andre Norton's Operation Time Search. I remembered all through my life I was writing while pursuing other goals because it was just something I did.
     It was just something I did. It was a part of who I was--who I am. I also remembered the credo I once had and the commitment to persistence I made at the beginning. I swore by it . . . but let it slip into discouragement.
     Tonight, I re-dedicate myself to that creed and re-christen myself a writer. And on that note, today, I finished a story I started several months ago. It's out the door. I've started a new one too. It's called, "When Sparrows Fall." I've got another story half-completed from a few months back. I will finish it after this new one.
     Oh, yeah -- the creed. Here it is:
     Write through it.
     The potholes never end, so just do it.
     Whatever happens, write through it all.
     Or you won't make the long haul.
     (Okay, so I'm no poet ;>, but you see what I saying here.)


     Big Congrats to Ron Collins for selling Ties That Bind to Adventures of Sword & Sorcery!!!
     More Congrats for IMP Dave Bollinger for selling a story to Adventures of Sword & Sorcery!
     Even more Congrats to Jason Tanner for selling a story to Odyssey!


     Pathfinder lands on Mars!!!

     Certainly one of the most historic events in my lifetime! What a moment. Tonight, we sat
     around the television sets with heady excitement at InConJunction and waited for the first
     pictures of Mars to be shown. They were the most amazing things I've ever seen. The
     mountains in the background, the flood plane, the assortment of rocks (like Barnacle Bill).
     What a rush! And when the first color shots arrived -- we were awed into silent amazement at
     the beauty and grandeur of the rocky terrain and its twin peaks dusted red. Even now, I carry
     that image in my head. And I hope to for a long time to come. What an awesome Fourth of

     And to increase the magic of the event, I got to witness Hugo-winning artist, Bob Eggleton, paint a scene of Martian landscape. What a boon that he left his slides behind and decided to do a live painting demonstration!
     Had a great time, as usual, hanging out with Ron and Lisa Collins, Charles Eckert, James Dorr, and new friend, Ann-Marie Horcher! We even had the unexpected pleasure of seeing John Bodin and Tammy Castleman. I also met new writer, Leigh Kimmel. Good luck with that novel, Leigh. Sounds like a good one.  As usual, I bought too many paperbacks and stayed up too late. All in all, it was a good con.
     PS -- Ann-Marie Horcher won 3rd Prize in InConJunction's Arlan Andrews Science Fiction Short Story
     Contest. Congratulations, Ann-Marie!


     It's been about six weeks since I've stopped writing short fiction (any fiction for that matter). At this point, I am wondering how to stop "painting pictures" with words and learn to write well-crafted, well-rounded fiction.
     This is something I still don't know how to do. I loathe my writing style and want to learn a new one.
     I want to write another novel. Not sure what I'd write one on at the moment though. I have a thought or two, but nothing concrete. One of these thoughts was a sequel to Experiencing Deep Purple, but now, I'm leaning toward writing a contemporary fantasy novel set in the San Juan Islands. Fishers 5 is considering a novel dare this month. Not sure if I'll be ready to go when they begin though.


     Sorry I've been away for a while, but I had to have some emergency dental surgery. What began as the final step in a root canal, ended in 3 days of agonizing pain, a trip to the ER and heavy doses of demerol until an oral surgeon could extract the tooth. I'm starting to feel a little better, but it was one icky weekend, let me tell you. A word of warning: the very first time you experience pain in a tooth, GO SEE YOUR DENTIST!!!
     Don't put it off. Don't cover it with Advil. Don't ignore it. Call your dentist right away. I didn't and let it go until I was in agony. My putting off that first visit ended up with a 6-month long, costly root canal that concluded with losing the tooth anyway.
     One rejection to report (not sure when it came, yesterday maybe?): F&SF, about a week, maybe?
     I've been reading Susan R. Matthews' _An Exchange of Hostages_. The book is intense, but a bit tedious for me. IMHO, it is a character-study of many characters. I'd have preferred a bit faster pacing, but am enjoying the book. I don't think this is a book for everyone, but I do think it's worth reading. This is Ms. Matthews' first book and she is definitely a skilled writer. I am already wondering what her next book will be.


     I just got back from 8 days of Windows NT training. I learned a lot, but it was quite intense (my brain is full). June marks my five-year writing anniversary. Five years ago, I began writing with publication in mind. I've been writing since I was six, but it wasn't until 1992 that I began sending out my work on a regular basis. I look back with a mixture of wonder and weariness. I miss that blind hope against hope that an editor would read my story and like it. I miss the unbridled optimism that I attached to every submission. I wonder how everything came together to make that first sale and the next. I smile at those times when there was a contract in that envelope instead of a rejection. And how all the air would rush out of my lungs and my hands would shake -- and the smile that lingered for days no matter what kind of day I had. And holding the publication in my hands. The overwhelming sense of awe that filled me when I opened a Sword and Sorceress volume and saw my name there for the very first time. What a rush that was.
     I look forward to new moments: the raw excitement of an idea careening into a story and having it work right down to the very last word; those ideas that snap you wide awake out of bed at three in the morning . . . and are still nagging at you at 10 pm the next evening; breaking into a market I've only dreamed of; selling my first novel; discovering that I have an audience of readers. These are moments that I hope to experience in the next five years.
     Highlights: writing Experiencing Deep Purple, selling The Sound of Angels and seeing it in print in Bending the Landscape: Fantasy, seeing my second story appear in a Sword & Sorceress volume, finishing Hard Limit and On Shattered Ground.
     Stats: Total Rejections since 1992 -- 379; Total Acceptances since 1992 -- 34; Total Stories Finished since 1992 -- 112; Total Novels Finished since 1992 -- 5.


     The amazing Mary Soon Lee does it again! She sold a story to Transversions today! Congratulations, Mary!! :)


     Wanted to share a quote with you: Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne I'm thinkin' this applies to writing. :)
     Coffee Break has accepted my story Music To Her Ears for publication in its September issue. :) This isn't 100% go yet, but I could really use the sale, so I'm being optimistic. They want the story, but there are some other factors involved. Time will tell. Guess I'll saddle up and see what happens.


     Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee for her short fiction sale to Mind's Eye.
     Look for Jonathan Fesmire's latest short story in the current issue of Cosmic Visions.


     Congratulations to Carol Tompkins on her first professional sale! She sold a story to SWORD &
     SORCERESS 15. The first is always the best.


     B-I-G Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee!! Her story will be the cover story of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction's August issue.


     Congratulations to Linda Dunn and Mike Resnick! Their story, "Merdinus," received an Honorable


     Stayed home from work today. Slept much of the day. Didn't start feeling better until evening.
     Wrote a synopsis for Experiencing Deep Purple tonight.
     Made the 2nd pass on all the Fishers 5 submissions and critted them.
     Grudgingly wrote down an idea for a short story, but refused to write it. Creativity, IMHO, is cyclical, and mine has entered the death stage. It needs to lie fallow for a while. Hopefully it will bloom again. If not...My printer is ailing. It's an old printer, but I'm quite fond of my HP Laserjet II. I will fix her until she can't be fixed anymore. She needs a new fuser assembly I think. That's gonna cost some bucks, but I'll shell them out. Guess I'm a sentimental schmuck. Everything I've ever written was printed on this printer. :)


     Vera Nazarian sold her short story, "The Shimmering Scythe" to SWORD & SORCERESS 15 today!
     Congratulations, Vera!!


     Fiona Avery finished her novel! Congratulations, Fiona!


     Experiencing Deep Purple is now complete and will be off to Lisa Collins, professional copyeditor and friend, shortly. Thanks for taking the time to copyedit this manuscript, Lisa! I really appreciate your time and effort!


     Happy Birthday, Vera Nazarian!
     I finished my first of two passes on my rewrite of Experiencing Deep Purple. I'm a little bummed that it turned out to be only 87k. The book needs to be 90k. On my second pass, I will see if I can add more      information. I have an idea or two. We'll see what happens on the next pass. I plan to start Pass #2 this evening.
     Yesterday, I planted a peach tree. It required digging quite a large hole in the yard which was quite a challenge for my weak right wrist (carpal and arthritis). And the fact that someone failed to return our shovel.
     Using a pitchfork and a garden spade, I dug a huge hole and planted my peach tree. Of course, I can't hardly move today, but I planted my first tree. ;>


     36 and 15 day rejections from S&S.
     I have decided not to write any more short fiction. Not sure when or if I'll return to it. I am going on a short fiction writing hiatus. Hopefully during that time I will try to figure out what I'm doing wrong.


     A 2-day rejection from Talebones. It's been a rough week.


     A 66-day rejection from Interzone


     A 92-day rejection from Century


     A 67-day rejection from Aboriginal


     Had dinner with my father tonight and made it through my birthday.
     Bought two books today: Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight and Worldbuilding by Stephen    
     I've been reading Lois McMaster Bujold books lately and I'm *really* enjoying her Miles Vorkosigan
     character. I'd never read her books because I wanted to start with Warrior's Apprentice (it was out
     of print).  Finally found it and the other books I needed to complete the set. These books are very
     good. Didn't do any writing today. I hope to work on the rewrite of EDP tomorrow night.
     Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee on her short story sale to Odyssey!


     As of this morning, Hard Limit is on its way to my agent. whew.


     I received a royalty check today for my sale to S&S 12.


     Well....I officially finished my rewrite of Hard Limit about 1 am or so this morning. Final word count is 86,000 words. I am strangely pleased with the manuscript. Just hope my agent agrees. At any rate, I'm going to go through the entire manuscript with one last pass today, spell check it and print it. If all goes well, it'll be on its way out Monday morning....then the rewrite of EDP begins.
     I may try to write a short-short today too (for S&S 15).
     Spent the morning with my mom planting flowers. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


     Happy Birthday, Seville!


     Happy Birthday to Ron Collins!


     Fellow IMP, Jason A. Tanner's story Deep in the Mojo is being reprinted in the first issue of Odyssey,
     a British publication to appear sometime this year. Congratulations to Jason!
     Sent the revision of ON SHATTERED GROUND to my agent today. Yay! Now, if I could just get HARD
     LIMIT finished. I'm just a few days away on HL though, so I hope to announce that HL is going out
     at the end of next week.
     Sent out High Tea today to S&S 15.
     It's official. My mailbox is a black hole. With the exception of a rejection from S&S 15, I haven't had a short story response in almost 3 weeks. I've got some stories out that are overdue for responses.


     Received a 14-day rejection from S&S 15.
     Finished a new S&S story last night called High Tea. It's 3150 words long.
     I have about 6 chapters to proof and then OSG gets spell-checked, printed, and sent off to my agent.


     Had a good time at Magic Carpet Con V this weekend -- even though I'm exhausted.
     Had a wonderful time talking with talented new writer David Coe! He's a really nice and friendly person.
     Check out David's new book, CHILDREN OF AMARID, available in hardcover from Tor.
     I also had the privilege to meet Laura J. Underwood, veteran writer of the SWORD & SORCERESS
     anthologies as well as MZB's FANTASY Magazine.
     And had a great time talking with Cynthia McQuillan! She's a lot of fun and she's just finished her first novel.
     AND................I got to meet Andre Norton!!!!!! Talk about a major thrill!!!!! The first SF/F books I ever read were Daybreak 2250 AD and Knave of Dreams. Her books inspired me to write and they helped me get through the perils of adolescence. :)
     Last, but certainly not least, I got to chat with my good friend, Patricia Duffy Novak face-to-face for a change. Definitely a highlight of the weekend!


     Not much happened this weekend. I prepared handouts for an upcoming convention. If anyone will be attending Magic Carpet Con in Chattanooga, please stop by and say hello. I'll be the writer with the too- tight perm. [grimace]
     Hope to finish S&S story #3 tonight.
     I found Return of the Dinosaurs this weekend. Did I mention that Ron Collins has a story in this anthology? *grin*


     Ron Collins' story The Test of Time is now out in Return of the Dinosaurs, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg. Go out and buy a copy today! Congratulations, Ron!!
     Fellow IMP, John Urbancik finished his novel dare today with a word total of approximately 70,000 words. Way to go, John!!


     Congratulations to Patricia Duffy Novak for her short story, Sofia's Well, winning Adventures in Sword & Sorcery's Reader's Choice Award!! It's an excellent story!
     I just heard that the magazine Keen SF is ceasing publication.
     In the last remnants of the evening, I went over my draft of A Universal Spectrum. I think I'm pleased with it. It was an emotionally painful story to write, but cathartic at the same time. I look forward to the next Fishers 5, so I can hear what they have to say about it.
     Two stories left to finish this next week, especially the third S&S story I'm writing. And I need to finish my SF novel and my Fantasy novel. So much to do...


     Had a good evening at the keyboard tonight! I just finished my 111th short story. I've been concurrently working on two short stories and both have been horrifically painful to write. I finished the earlier of the two.
     It's retitled as A Universal Spectrum. It's a long way from being ready to submit (will require the expert slashing of Fishers 5 first), but to put the ending down on paper was a relief. The story is 3000 words.
     I find that my carpal tunnel/arthritis pain is flaring up again. It's making it a little tough at the keyboard.
     My mailbox is still very quiet. I only have 16 stories out. I have 3 that need work before they can go out. And 2 more that should go out. Soon, I hope.


     Esther Friesner's short story A Birthday and Nicola Griffith's novel Slow River won Nebulas this
     weekend!!!! Big congratulations to them as well as Bruce Holland Rogers for his novelette, Lifeboat on a Burning Sea and Jack Dann for his novella Da Vinci Rising.
     I spent the whole day rewriting my Fishers 5 story. Basically threw it out and started from scratch. Story works a lot better now, a lot tighter. Too bad I've got to find a new title though. ick. Sometimes, I hate coming up with titles.
     I did a little work on a short story I've been trying to finish. Didn't get very far. Time is in short supply this week. I've got two stories that must be finished by Thursday.


     Had a great time with Fishers 5 this weekend! My submission was pretty lame this time, but better be told that before I submit it than by an editor. Got Ron's comments back on my novel dare manuscript. I was quite pleasantly surprised by his reaction to the book. He offered some excellent advise/comments on "big picture" issues that I need to work out. And he liked it. [sighing in relief]
     No mailbox news over the weekend.


     A 122-day rejection from Bones
     Finished polishing The Memory of Fire and For a Song. Both stories are bound for S&S 15
     I made a lot of progress on polishing OSG last night. Just a few more chapters left to clean up.


     A rather discouraging 4-day rejection from Infinite Edge.


     I started a new short story tonight (as if I hadn't started enough of these lately.) It's called High Tea and it's my third submission for S&S 15. The story is set in the same village as Dragonskin Boots (S&S 12). I've written about 1000 words on it tonight.
     I'm nearly 4000 words into my IMPEx story, newly titled Meteorites Like Cowrie Shells. I posted the first 2k tonight. I hope to get the whole story done by the weekend (fingers crossed). It's slow going because I feel the need to get the novels finished. (and I'm dying to get back to a rewrite of my novel dare manuscript)
     I'm halfway through a final pass through my fantasy novel, On Shattered Ground. I hope to send it off next week or the week after.
     I'm 5 chapters from the end of the latest rewrite on Hard Limit. I hope to get this one sent off by the first week of May (if not sooner).
     Still no short story mail. I only have about 16 stories out at the moment.


     My pal, Vera Nazarian has this great motto that I'd like to share with everyone (with her permission of course!): a writer is a wave endlessly beating against a cliff shore (editor). In the end, the cliff will have given way, eroded, but the wave will still be there, eternal.
     Jonathan Fesmire finished his fantasy novel today. Way to go, Jonathan!
     John Urbancik, fellow IMP writer, is on Day 3 of his novel dare. He's doing great. Keep up the good work, John!
     No short story mail for about 2 weeks now.
     I got surprised on Monday with a writing exercise for the IMP writing group on Compuserve, so I'm working on that story at the moment. The story is due on 4/7. I don't think I'll be able to keep the story to the required 10k file length though. Guess I'll have to put "continued" as my ending. The story is already 1300 words long and I'm only a third of the way into the story. Eep!
     Still working on S&S story ideas.
     Two CD Recommendations: Shawn Colvin's "A Few Small Repairs" (pop/rock) and 2002's "Chrysalis" (new age). AFSR will pep you up and Chrysalis will really relax you.


     I finished a new story last night for the S&S anthology entitled For A Song. It's 3750 words, but I need to shorten the intro a bit and lengthen my denouement.
     Went back to work on a story I started last week or so ago. I had some ideas on how to reframe the story, so I'm hoping to finish this one in time for the next Fishers 5.


     I read Ron Collin's novel dare manuscript this week. wow. I was so impressed! Ron's book is so good! I just ripped through it. Not a slow spot in the entire book. Gave me an instant case of the "my novel is stupid" blues.
     Vera, thanks for the kind words. I appreciated them very much. :)
     I started a new short story last night and wrote the opening scene tonight. It's got the working title of For A Song. I anticipate that the story will be about 3000 words. It's bound for S&S 15. I have an idea for a 3rd story and then I hope to write a short-short.
     I decided to scrap my latest short story, Reunion. I'm sure I can use pieces of it in future works, but the story isn't very useful in its current form (nor would a rewrite save it). I could turn it into a novelette, but they are too difficult to sell for an unknown writer. No problem though. At least I wrote something. :)


     A 35-day rejection from F&SF.
     I am feeling really discouraged today. In June, it will be 5 years since I began submitting my work. I was hoping to be a much better writer than I am. After 5 years, my work remains mediocre and unaffecting. I hope I feel better about it tomorrow. Sorry if this is a downer, but I'm feeling very uninspiring.


     A 12-day rejection from Realms of Fantasy


     Okay...I just finished a new short story. An SF called Reunion. The first draft is 5600 words. I need to give it a quick once over and send it to the Fishers 5 crew for workshop next weekend. I always hate giving them first drafts, but it can't be helped.


     The short story has stalled, alas. As a backup, I turned to a story I started before the novel dare. I'm hoping to write this one to its conclusion regardless of how bad it is. Gotta turn something in to Fishers 5 and I don't want to turn in an old story.
     Silence at the mailbox today. I was shocked. Saturdays are notorious days for rejections (at my house).
     Plotted out S&S submission #2 last night. I hope to work on that one as soon as I finish "Reunion" for Fishers 5. Now, I just need to plot out 2 short-shorts. Oh, yeah -- and write them. :>
     My nephew, Skyyler learned to read books this week! Congratulations, Skyyler! He's really enjoying books now and I'm thrilled. : ) : )


     I started a new short story last night, tentatively titled "Becoming Human." It feels really shaky at the moment, but I'm going to press onward.
     I am still working hard to finish my rewrite on Hard Limit. From there, I move to OSG and then return to the new novel.
     I'm still working on Sword & Sorceress ideas. Ideas #2 and #3 are currently percolating.


     I've been away from here for a little bit. The Novel Dare has taken up much of my time.
     My mailbox has been very quiet, but I suspect that something will arrive on Monday. :)
     Last night, I joined the Compuserve IMPs group! It was something I've wanted to do for some time, but never had the guts to do. The IMPs are a group of writers on Compuserve who critique and support each other on the lonely road to publication. They're a great bunch of people and I'm glad to finally be associated with them.
     Work is progressing on the new novel, _Experiencing Deep Purple_. I've added about 2k to it, but I have a major logic problem to solve at the book's end and I'm not quite sure how to resolve that yet.
     I'm working on stories for the upcoming S&S anthology. I love this series and I spend a lot of time each year trying to come up with workable ideas. I've completed 1 story so far and need to finish at least 3 more.
     I need to go back to OSG and HL and get them sent off to my agent. HL is about 6 chapters from completion and I just need to make another pass at OSG. I hope to do that this month.
     I currently have 17 short stories out.


     UPDATE: As of 11:59 pm tonight, I completed my novel for the Novel Dare. Final Word Count = 85,375 words.
     2 rejections today: a 153-day response from Fantastic Worlds. They say they are overstocked and now closed to submissions. And a very nice rejection from Worlds of Fantasy & Horror. This brings my rejection total to 15 for the year and 367 since I began submitting.
     Ron Collins and I are in the final week of our Novel Dare! I'm currently at 75,575 words with 4 chapters to go. I think that I will wrap this novel up by Monday night. I don't know why, but I'm at peace with my writing today. I know that I'm doing the best that I can and if it isn't good enough, then I'll learn more and write more. I'm still doing what I love and I'm paying my bills with my day job. I will sell a novel someday. I won't quit until I do. So it goes on this sunny, cool February afternoon. Lots of writing ahead this weekend . . . *grin* and I'm loving every minute of it.
     Fellow Fishers 5'er Charles Eckert sold a story to Tomorrow! His story, Madmen Love in Lochs of Time is a wonderful story! Congratulations on a great sale, Charles!!


     The Dare is in its 17th day! I'm at 60,000 words and climbing. :>
     A wonderful find at Little Professor Book Center this weekend: Sword & Sorceress XIV is in the stores! And the cover is beautiful! I'm so proud to be in this volume. :> And it's even more fun to know that I'm sharing space with friends: Patricia Duffy Novak, Mary Soon Lee and Syne Mitchell.


     A discouraging day at the mailbox: A 36-day rejection from Asimov's and 15-day rejection from Year 2000.


     A lightning fast 18-day response from Realms of Fantasy. But greatly overshadowing this rejection is finding Sword & Sorceress XIV in the store yesterday!!! The cover is just beautiful! It's now my favorite S&S cover.
     This will also inspire me to work harder on my S&S 15 submissions.


     A very disappointing rejection from F&SF. After 45 submissions, I still can't sell this magazine a story.


     A 15-day rejection from Crank!


     Met with Fishers 5 today and had a good time. Got lots of helpful comments on my submission. Everybody handed in strong work this time, especially Ron with Shattering Silence. Very well written story.


     My contributor's copies for Bending the Landscape arrived today! The anthology is Beautiful! I'm so
     pleased. My short story, The Sound of Angels appears in this volume. Terribly exciting. My first experience of writing about a gay character and an opportunity to work with my whale watching experiences. Anyway, it's out! *grin*


     Good news at last in the mailbox! Millenium SF & F purchased my story Snow Angels today! I sure needed a sale. :>


     A 95-day rejection from tomorrow Magazine.


     A 130-day rejection from Thirteenth Moon


     A 55-day rejection from Omni.
     Last night, I wrote about 1000 words on a new chapter for the SF novel.


     A 56-day rejection from Realms of Fantasy.


     Spent the entire day working on my SF novel. I'm halfway through the rewrite now.
     The novel dare starts Saturday


     2 rejections from F&SF today. Spent the day sulking and nursing an infected tooth. I'm convinced that a root canal is a form of torture.


     An 86-day form from Dragon.
     I rewrote The Memory of Fire last night and unfortunately, the story has grown to 5800 words. I will have to see what I can cut to get the story closer to 5000 words.
     I cleaned up chapter 10 and rearranged chapter numbers to make room for three additional chapters or so.
     The novel will be 30 chapters and is over 80,000 words now. It will probably be 90,000 words when it's finished.
     The new SciAm is here! And the new Locus!


     I now have 20 short stories out making the rounds! I hope to hit 30 this year, but that means I have to write A LOT more stories. I intend to make 1997 a productive year for my writing.


     It's official! Ron Collins and I are starting a Novel Dare on Feb. 1st. I will have a Dare Page in February that will detail my progress on the new novel. I'm already excited. :)


     I have 19 stories out making the rounds. I tried to get a 20th out the door, but I just didn't have one ready.  Guess I'll have to wait until I get my latest Fishers 5 sub rewritten. Rats!!
     Did some work on Ch. 9 of my SF novel. It's hard to get into this new character's head. I think I'll have to write several drafts of Ch. 9 before I nail down this guy's personality.
     Did some plotting on a rewrite of Memory of Fire. Changed the title on my newest story (now titled Whispers) and an old story.


     Had a great time with Fishers 5 today! Missed John and Charles though. I got a lot of excellent suggestions on my story and laughed a lot at my silly mistakes on this one. We got the chance to talk about writing, why we wanted to write, and why we could never stop. I felt pretty fired up when I came home.|
     And there's a Dare in the works...*cue scary music* I challenged Ron to a Novel Writing Dare (or did he challenge me?) And what is that, you ask? Plot and write a novel (that means 60,000+ words) in 1 month. *cue screaming throngs of people* We'll see what happens. eeeppp!


     Finished critiquing all of the Fishers 5 material today. Read some wonderful things, especially Charles Eckert's Unalienable Rites. My piece was one of the weakest this go around. I'm hoping the gang will offer some direction on this story. I'm already preparing for the eviscerating comments on it. *grin* Still, I am glad that I started and finished the story.
     The novel is still going very well. I've gotten so much work done on it in the last couple of weeks! Figured out the answers to some problems that had nearly made me scrap the whole thing. Sometimes it's good to just put something away and work on other stories.
     It's 30 below zero here (wind chill)...bbrrrrrr...


     Received a nice, helpful rejection from F&SF. My first dealings with Gordon Van Gelder. RT of 11 days.  And my first rejection of the year.
     The SF novel is progressing well. I have decided that I'll need to add 3 or 4 chapters to the book. This should bring the book up to about 85,000 words or so.
     We received about 8 inches of snow today!


     Did a complete rewrite of Chapter 4 today. It will need a lot of revising since I threw out the previous chapter and started from scratch. Right now, it needs to cool down. Adding a new character is tough! There are 26 chapters in all, so I've got a long way to go. But I'm having a lot of fun with it.


     Finished the new chapter last night and did some revising tonight. I am generally pleased with the result. The new character is providing my protagonist with a lot of problems, a lot more than Sayre bargained for. :)
     Read a fun story in Asimov's by Uncle River called "Passing the Torch." A very enjoyable read. I felt
     envious of this writer's character development skill.
     Famous last words: my mailbox has been empty of writing news since Christmas.


     Started working on a new chapter for my SF novel. I wrote about 1000 words or so last night and I did some background work. Solved a logistical problem that had been plaguing me for weeks. yay!
     Did some work on 2 stories-in-progress too.
     Picked up a Discover Magazine at lunch. Looks like there are some really good articles inside! Scientific American and Discover are two of my favorite magazines to read and to study for fiction ideas. I have links to both magazines' Web Sites under my Subject Matter Research Section. Check them out!


     Happy New Year and Welcome 1997!! I wasn't sorry to see 1996 end and I have high hopes for 1997. I hope to sell my first novel and more short fiction than last year. We'll see what the new year brings, but I feel a lot more enthusiasm for my work and want to produce more than I did last year. Meanwhile, I've got a novel to finish, a novel to start, 2 half-finished short stories to complete, and 2 others to revise/submit. For the first time in many months, I am excited about writing new things! It is a good feeling. I plan to keep 20 stories in circulation again, something I couldn't maintain last year.