BIG CONGRATULATIONS for Erin Cashier who just finished her novel, The Lopsided
         God!! Yay, Erin!


         I wrote a new story today. What an awesome feeling! I hadn't written a new short story
         since May. I just haven't felt compelled to write anything short. Probably what comes of
         writing longer works for a few months. It's a very short little thing, but the funnest part of
         this story is that I took a moment out of one of my novels and made it into a short story. I
         was bad, though....I wrote it at work. That's not something I usually do, but I couldn't help
         myself, the words were churning through my head. Had to grab hold of them. The story is
         tentatively called, Destiny, and it'll be bound for one of my favorite publications: Sword &
         Sorceress. Thanks to Patricia Duffy Novak for reminding me about writing a short story in
         the same world as my novel! I can't submit this story until April, but I've got a good
         feeling about it.
         My back is feeling much better. I've been on limited duty this week at work which has
         pretty much kept me seated at my desk. What a terrible shame I was plagued with a short
         story idea at the same time. ;> Heh, heh.


         Work continues on the revision of SDP. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book now.
         Writing efforts have been hampered a bit by a minor back injury, but I'm still sitting here
         at the keyboard working through the book. I finally got a handle on how I wanted to work
         through the rewrite, too, so I feel like I'm, at last, making progress.
         Got a cool new printer last weekend! An HP Deskjet 890C. It's a lot of fun to print things in
         color, but I still rely on my trusty HP Laserjet Series II for my manuscripts. :)


         Congratulations to Amy Sterling Casil for completing her first novel!! Yay, Amy!! Good
         luck with selling it! :)
         Well, my third novel manuscript goes out the door tomorrow morning. Never, ever in my
         entire life have I had three novel manuscripts in the mail at one time. And I have one
         query letter out now, hoping to submit a fourth novel. I don't have many short stories out
         at the moment, but I will probably work that side of the fence next month. I thought that
         having three manuscripts out would take the emotional charge off one of them, but so far
         it hasn't. I try not to think about it, try not to hope too much, but part of me can't put the
         darned thing completely out of mind.
         I don't know what's going on with me, but I feel that burn to write another novel. I have
         two manuscripts left to rewrite and I'd like to write some short stories (yes, the insanity
         continues), but right now, I guess my heart is still with the novels. There is something
         freeing about writing what moves me, without worrying about where to send the finished
         product. I worry about that later, now.
         Sometimes it's hard to be a writer in this world. We're all dreamers in our own way and so
         many times, our imaginations threaten to carry us far away from our responsibilities.
         Paying the bills, working the day job, etc. Sometimes, I wonder just how I get through my
         day with story ideas clouding my every thought. I like to believe that the restraints on my
         creativity will cause it to build into a firestorm when I finally reach my keyboard in the
         evenings. Or maybe just a little firespark that molds ideas into stories. Nevertheless,
         there's always this blank screen ready to be filled with journeys and wonders -- whatever I
         can imagine. But that's the easy part of being a writer in this world. :)


         Congratulations to Caroline Hazen for finishing her novel!!
         Congratulations to Patricia Duffy Novak for finishing her latest novel!


         I've been back from WorldCon for a few days, but frankly, I'm having trouble putting the
         whole thing into perspective. This was my second WorldCon. Met a lot of very nice
         I sit back tonight after eating out with my Mom and my Dad and think through the years,
         how many have passed and how my relationship with them has changed from child to
         friend. I can still feel Dad's restaurant around me, the clinking of silver against china, the
         gurgle of the fountain behind me, mumbled laughs coming from the bar. The smell of
         spices and warmth as servers carry sizzling steaks and salmon past me. Everything has its
         cycle and I remember growing up in this cozy restaurant. I remember a time when 10
         servers rushed past in blurs of black and white, trays piled high, the rumble of the packed
         entryway as people waited 30 and 40 minutes for a table. I remember carrying trays of
         silverware and glasses through these now half- empty rooms and feeling this ache deep in
         my chest. I had been standing in the highpoint and things would never again be this busy
         or this successful and part of me felt sad, thinking of the day when this place that my
         father built out of nothing would someday be gone. And so tonight, in these quieting
         rooms, I feel that slow wind down and that adolescent feeling of "things will never be this
         good again" haunts me with its truth. Everything has its cycle, low point - high point,
         beginning - end. Slowing, ever slowing. Tonight, the wine tasted richer, the salmon
         plumper -- the memories sharper. I will miss it greatly.


         Had a good time at RiverCon this weekend. Had fun hanging out with David Coe,
         Christopher Rowe, and Steve and Denise Leigh! And of course, Ron and Lisa Collins and
         Charles Eckert!
         Received two rejections from Adventures of Sword & Sorcery this weekend.
         Did some work last night on my novels and played around with synopsi and high
         concepts. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm not sure how much work will get done.
         My kitty is sick again, so I need to take care of her as well as run some errands before
         leaving for WorldCon on Wednesday. I find that I'm actually looking forward to the plane
         flight because it will give me time to plan my time at WorldCon and begin revisions on a


         A novel recommendation: Go out and get Stephen Leigh's Dark Water's Embrace. Skillfully
         told, introspective, and engrossing! I *really* enjoyed this book and I hope to someday
         possess such storytelling skill. Excellent read! Can't wait for the sequel either! It's been a
         long time since I've read a book this absorbing.
         I just picked up Robin Hobb's book, Assassin's Apprentice. Looking forward to reading it.
         I'm off to Louisville tomorrow for RiverCon. Just have to recharge the notebook batteries
         and reload all my writing files and I'll be ready. Thank God for Zip drives! If you're going
         to be at RiverCon, please stop me and say hello!
         Big Congratulations to Diana Rowland for her completion of Clarion West!! She did an
         awesome job!! Way to go, Di!
         Congratulations to Kurt Roth for his sale to Pulp Eternity!


         Happy Birthday to my dear friend Marybeth O'Halloran! Have a wonderful day,
         Marybeth! :)


         I've been a bit lax about updating lately. I've just been doing a lot of research and editing.
         The rewriting is going fine on the new novel, but I've halted that momentarily and moved
         my efforts to the first book now. I'm going through and fixing some things that I thought
         were problems. BIG, HUGE THANKS to Patricia Duffy Novak for taking time to offer
         comments on the first eight chapters of EDP! You were a huge help, Patricia!!
         Yesterday, I saw two movies. Two!! An unprecedented event for me. :) A colleague and I
         took a couple hours off from work to see X-Files, but a scheduling glitch forced us to see
         Lethal Weapon 4 instead. I confess, I was disappointed with LW4. But it was Mel Gibson,
         so it was still worth watching. :) Bummed about missing X-Files, I found out it was
         playing at 9:20, so I came back later for that showing. :) And it was well worth the return. It
         was great! I'd like to see it again. If just to see David Duchovny on the big screen. Yum!! :)
         I'm still dying to see Saving Private Ryan, though!...back to the rewriting. Have a great


         Yes, I'm back from my Novel Dare. Sort of. :) This story is just growing and growing in my
         head still. (you can tell where this is going, can't you?) I haven't been able to leave it alone
         since I finished it. Today finds me transcribing a ton of notes to myself about what needs
         to be added. The next draft is going to bring this story up to 90k fairly easily. Everything
         feels rather skeletal in the story, so I will fill out the muscle on it. I said in a couple of
         weeks, but...I can't wait that long. :) I plan to start reworking it tonight. And...what
         emerged from this novel ... yeah, that's right -- the idea/premise for book three. Oh,
         bummer. A third book. ;) Yes, I plan to write book three. Not sure when, but I will write it.
         Folks, this thing is officially a trilogy.
         I haven't updated a lot of things here, but I will soon. I still have those Washington State
         pictures to scan and put up. I'll probably put a post-Dare wrap-up note on the Dare page,
         probably next week.
         What's next, you ask? After writing so much in such a short period of time, the word
         vacation comes to mind. :) Of course, I'm having too much fun with this storyline and these
         characters to want a vacation. I'm not sure my hand/arm would hold out, but after
         rewriting SDP, I'd love to plunge ahead on a new novel. But I think I'm going to go back to
         my roots and start writing a lot more short fiction. Nevertheless, I plan to write another
         novel this year, somewhere in the last quarter.
         The one thing I learned at the July 4th convention I attended was where I got off track.
         Somewhere along the line, I lost track of why I write. I lost track of what was important to
         me. I forgot all those times in fifth and sixth grade when I'd sit behind the piano in home
         room and write my American Revolution novel, how I carried a notebook with me since I
         was six. How I wrote backstage during theatre practice. How I wrote stories on the back of
         my notes as an undergrad and grad student and during breaks at my jobs. How I still
         scribble odd bits of conversation and strange facts on the backs of envelopes and shove
         them into my backpack. The one thing I've always done in my life is write. No matter
         what. Somewhere along the line, I stopped trying to please myself and tried to please the
         market. I'm not going to do that anymore. In 1992, I started submitting fiction that
         challenged and excited me and it didn't matter one bit if it sold because I was new and I
         was learning -- and I was excited. I'm going back to that, hopefully with a lot more skills.
         I'm not going to look at how many rejections or sales I have because none of that matters.
         I'm just going to write.


         Happy Birthday, Dad! So glad to celebrate another one.


         A brief state of the union: I've been pretty sick. Been in bed since Wednesday. Had to
         return to urgent care today, but I'm hoping this more potent medication will turn me
         around and take the swelling down in my throat. I do plan to return to my novel dare as
         soon as I feel up to it. I'll have to change my ending date a bit, but as Arnold sez, I'll be
         back. I know this writing stuff is hard work and all, but it's still a whole lot of fun...and I
         miss it. So, I should return here in a few more days. Back to my couch and my popsicles.


         Congratulations to my friend, Vera Nazarian who sold a story to Pulp Eternity today! Yay,


         In a fit of insanity, I have embarked on a novel writing dare. If you're interested in
         checking out my progress, please take a look at my index page for the link. I will check in
         here from time to time, of course, but the bulk of my posts will occur on the Novel Dare:
         June 1998 page. Wish me luck!


         Well....here I find myself about to do something pretty crazy. (Lisa whispers the horrible curse
         into the ether: "Novel Dare.") Yep, I'm gonna give it a shot. This is all very last minute. I
         wasn't sure I was going to make the attempt until about 30 minutes ago. But, here I am.
         Starting at 12 am tonight, I'm going to start writing, Sacrificing Deep Purple. Matchbox 20 is
         poised in the CDROM drive and ready to rock. Wish me luck! If you want to take a peek,
         now and then, on my progress, click my Novel Dare: June '98 link on my home page. I
         don't think I'll finish this one in 30 days, but I'm going to try. Gotta finish that outline now.


         A disappointing rejection from Weird Tales today.
         I've been working on a chapter-by-chapter outline for the sequel to EDP, but things are
         progressing a little slower than I'd hoped. I may not get this one off the ground tomorrow
         as I'd planned, but we'll see. There's still time though. :)
         We had the most incredible thunderstorms today. Just beautiful. I love the drama of a
         thunderstorm, the tension, the anticipation. When I left my building, there was a torrent of
         rain pounding the sidewalks. I wanted to run outside without my umbrella, but I put it up
         as a pretense. By the time I got to my car (a 5-minute walk from my building to my car), I
         was soaked. It was great! People were wondering why I was grinning, but I couldn't help
         myself. I wanted to kick off my shoes and run through the puddles. There's nothing better
         than an Indiana thunderstorm.
         June marks that familiar, quirky anniversary I mark every year. Six years ago this month, I
         started sending out my short fiction on a friend's dare. Below is my writer's state of the
         union summary: :)
               To date, I've sold 32 (36 if you count 4 markets that folded) stories.
               I've also amassed 437 rejections.
               I've written 124 short stories over these past six years.
               A big milestone for me this year was making the 1997 Preliminary Nebula ballot
               (one of the best and worst moments in my life).
               A dream I am still pursuing remains selling a novel. I've wanted to sell a novel since
               I was six. I keep writing manuscripts and hoping one will sell.
               Another dream I have is of selling a short story to a major magazine market. I have a
               lot to learn before this will happen, but I keep trying.
               I have four novel manuscripts ready to send out (one is actually out).
               I only have 12 short stories out at the moment, down quite a bit from the 20 I like to
               have out at once. Gotta work on that too.


         The rejections continue to trickle in this month. Received a 76-day rejection from E-scape
         and a 60-day rejection from MZBFM.
         Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee for making the Theodore Sturgeon Award's short list!
         BIG Congratulations to Jenn Coleman-Reese for her first sale to the anthology, Prom
         Night!! Looking forward to reading your story, Jenn!
         As you might have noticed, I haven't scanned my pictures yet. Time is a rare commodity
         for me lately. I'm drowning in work at my job and the need to write a novel is gnawing at
         me, but I will scan them very soon.
         I just finished an outline for a new novel, tentatively titled The Spirit Box...but...I still have
         this desire to write the sequel to Experiencing Deep Purple. So you know what? To heck with
         what's selling and what's not! I'm going to outline this sequel and see how I feel afterward.
         While in Seattle, I outlined the sequel to Heart of the Labyrinth, so I'd have three outlines to
         consider with EDP's sequel.
         UPDATE: I just finished an outline for the sequel to EDP...no contest. The details just
         started spewing out with every question I asked then answered. Yep...I'm goin' in... I'm
         going to mull over the outline in the next few days and then Friday night, I may just set
         this puppy in motion! Tentative title is still: Paler Shade of Gray. That may change a bit as
         I get into this one. Yeah!! I'm pretty stoked now!


         I'm back from Seattle and find myself missing the ocean and the ferries. And the orcas.
         *wistful sigh* J-Pod was home again at the San Juan Islands and despite the chilly winds,
         we stood on the rocks and watched four members of J-Pod play in the cool, teal waters. It's
         been a while since I'd seen them and seeing them surface in a mist of ocean -- I was
         transfixed. There is such an overwhelming feeling of joy when I see those onyx dorsals
         slice through the water. My photos were abysmal, but it's never really a visual record I
         seek. It's more of an emotional one, one that I feel whenever I see those gray photos with
         their microscopic black triangles. It was good to see the orcas again. I even saw orca-like
         Dalls porpoises from the Bainbridge Island ferry! It is this place that I most want to write
         about. Some of my photos turned out, so I will try and post some this weekend.
         We searched the beaches for sea glass and I came home with some wonderful frosty pieces
         of amber, white, and green. I put them in a little glass container and every time I see them,
         I think of the Puget Sound. :)
         Came home to only 2 rejections, to my amazement. And to two checks. A nice royalty
         check from Sword & Sorceress XII and payment for The Wishing Stones. Yay! I'm always
         amazed by the checks. I hope I never get over that. :)
         I am nervous to report that I'm dying to write a new novel. I can't squeeze in a novel dare,
         but darn it, I can sure start working on a project. One is working its way through my brain
         as we speak and I may start working on it very soon. This month will be a killer for me at
         work, so writing a novel may preserve my sanity. :)
         An odd thing happened while I was gone. I developed this passion for drawing while in
         the Pacific Northwest. I am working on a couple of pencil drawings of orcas and otters
         right now. It's funny what things leak out of the pen when we're not paying attention. I
         want very much to take a drawing class.


         Well, tomorrow's the big day! At 5 pm today, my vacation began!!! I will be away from
         here for at least 10 days, but check back in a couple of weeks, if you're interested, because
         I plan to post any nice shots I get of the orcas (and the Pacific Northwest).


         HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Louise Rowder who won the Homer Award for her short
         story that appeared in Alternate Tyrants!!! Yay, Louise!!!!!
         Another round of fast, friendly rejections from Pulp Eternity and Odyssey.


         Big Congratulations, to good friend, Vera Nazarian for her sale to Sword & Sorceress 16!
         Woo-hoo, Vera!!
         Congratulations to Linda Dunn for her sale to Sword & Sorceress 16! Good work, Linda!
         Congratulations to James Hartley for his sale to Altair! James is having a hot year! Keep it
         This morning, I had another inspirational Saturday. I wrote a new story today, a science
         fiction story called The Sacredness of Ordinary Things. Twice before, I have tried to write this
         story and thrown it away. This time, I knew what I wanted to say. I'm surprised by the
         timing. I usually don't write well in the mornings, but for some reason, Saturday mid-
         mornings have been very productive for me. Could it be that I'm becoming *gasp!* a
         Morning Person(tm). Naaahhh! :>
         One rejection to report: a friendly email rejection from Pulp Eternity.


         I just got word that my short story, The Wishing Stones, sold to S&S16!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *bounce*
         *bounce* I'm just so thrilled I can hardly stand it!!!! I wanted this sale so much!! Wow...this
         makes my third appearance in the S&S anthologies -- what a thrill that is for me!


         Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Thanks for being there and just being you.
         Super, Mega-Congratulations to my brother, Jeff who is graduating as an M.D. today.
         We're all really proud of you, Jeff! It was a long road and you showed them what you
         were made of.
         And Happy Birthday to my baby, Seville, who is 8 today. :)


         Happy Birthday to my good friend, Ron Collins!! Have a great day, Ron, and I hope you
         have another great year as a writer and as a father/husband! :)

         I waited for the mail this morning, fearful, dreading what lay inside that mysterious black
         box standing vigil at the end of my driveway. At last, the mail carrier swept by and my
         heart throbbed in my throat as I started that long trek down the driveway to the mailbox.
         Opening it gingerly, I peered inside, fearing the sight of several tan #10 envelopes with
         "S&S 16" scrawled on the return labels. A joyous "Yess!" echoed into the box when I saw
         only white envelopes (and a pink one for color). None of my three S&S stories returned
         home today. Granted, Monday may bring them all home, but for today, there is still that
         little sliver of hope. And I'm holding onto it for all it's worth. :)


         Received a 12-day rejection from S&S 16. This leaves two stories surviving and one story
         that won't arrive until Monday. I can't believe how quickly this submission window has
         swept past. Hard to believe that Friday is the last day. The story that came back today was
         mailed a day later than another of my stories, leaving me with the precarious thought that
         maybe that story is in the hold pile. Only my mail carrier knows for sure. Sea Glass and
         Potluck are still hanging on and I'm very pleased by that. :)
         I just heard that Troll Magazine has folded. For more info, check out sff.publishing.news.


         Congratulations to Josh Langston who made his first professional sale to the SFF
         Anthology! BIG CONGRATULATIONS, JOSH!!! : )
         Congratulations to Kurt Roth, Mary Soon Lee, Dona Vaughn, Tippi Blevins, Deborah
         Coates, Chuck Rothman, and Sherwood Smith who also sold stories to the anthology! Way
         to go, folks!!
         My other three stories survived yet another day in the S&S 16 submission window. Most
         of the time, my S&S rejections come on a Saturday, so the week is still young. :)
         I sent out my fifth S&S 16 story today. Still have one more to finish. This year's S&S
         window is going fast.


         The mail brought an 8-day rejection from S&S 16.
         I spent the afternoon writing a new S&S story. This is a different story from the one that's
         still in progress. This makes story number six for the anthology. I plan to clean it up
         tomorrow and have it ready to go by Monday or Tuesday. I still hope to write my last
         story idea tonight or tomorrow. That will give me six submissions. And then ... well, see
         I've got this idea for a science fiction story... I really want to write it, but have to finish the
         stories I've already started. I have a title and everything. :)
         Many times, the first thing I do when playing around with a story is to write a sort of letter
         to myself. Basically, I tell myself the story in basic form. I write stories this way when they
         come to me as concepts or ideas (w/plot twists). When I have a story idea based on an
         image or emotion, I write the opening scene or a scene that sets the tone of what I'm trying
         to tell.


         Congratulations to Ron Collins for his new column at SF Central! The column debuts on
         May 1st.
         Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee for a sale to CONDuit8's program book and a paper
         (have there been a lot of congratulations this week or what?)
         I have been loafing this week. No writing has been completed. I've been engrossed in
         tracing my family tree and have found some fascinating leads! Located ancestors in
         Ireland, too, which was extremely exciting for me! I am hoping to complete a story I
         started last week for S&S. I've decided that one of the stories I wrote for S&S should be
         pitched, so I won't be sending that one out after all. This last story idea is a pretty good
         one though, so I want to pursue it. And I have an inkling of a new story idea. Nothing
         concrete yet. I hope it will grow into something I can work with.
         Picked up the new Solar Queen novel, Derelect for Trade by Andre Norton and Sherwood
         Smith! The Solar Queen novels were one of my absolute favorites as a kid. Can't wait to
         read it! I also picked up Stephen Leigh's new book, Dark Water's Embrace. Looks like a
         really good read. :)


         Congratulations to James Hartley for selling to Pulp Eternity!


         Two rejections this week. One from Amazing Stories and the other from Altair.
         I've mailed a lot of manuscripts out this week. In fact, I'm parceling up two as I type this.
         Inspiration hit me this morning just after the cat woke me up (one of the few times I
         haven't minded). I plopped down in front of the computer and churned out a new story,
         titled Potluck. It's a short one, about 1375 words, but I'm pretty pleased with it. It's not
         great literature or anything, but it was a lot of fun to write. I've got one more story for S&S
         that needs to be tweaked a bit and then another I started last week, but stopped because
         the characters aren't right for the story (if that makes any sense). I hope to finish this sixth
         story before the deadline. Story number five, although completed, still needs a bit of
         reworking. I hope that one of these final two stories will come together. We'll see. I've
         already mailed two stories to S&S 16 and two more will go out early next week. I'm going
         to push to complete these last two stories. I think my submissions are much better than the
         ones I sent last year, more on target with the anthology. Guess I'll find out pretty quickly.


         Congratulations to Kurt Roth for his sale to Pulp Eternity!


         Congratulations to Louise Rowder for making the Final HOMer Ballot on Compuserve!!
         Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee for making the 1998 Preliminary Nebula Ballot!
         Congratulations to Ruth Kostic for being a finalist in the Fabulous Five Romance Fiction


         Happy Birthday to Johannah O'Halloran who is 6 today!! Have a wonderful birthday,
         Johannah! :)


         Another new story completed -- rough draft, of course. I have also outlined another story
         and hope to complete a rough draft of this story before this day is over. This will be my
         fifth S&S story and should be a fun one to write. It will be a humorous story ... or rather, I
         will attempt to make it a humorous story. I think this idea has a lot of promise. No title
         yet, but that shouldn't be a problem.


         A 9-day rejection from F&SF. This officially makes my 50th rejection from this magazine.
         Rather an unsettling milestone -- but one I can now stop dreading and put behind me. It's
         over and I survived it. Moving on.
         I'm struggling through the completion of my fourth S&S story, due mainly to real life and
         other responsibilities getting in the way. And my job has really been getting in the way of
         my writing. Lately, I have had so many things requiring my attention that I can't possibly
         take care of everything. I had wanted to do a novel dare this month, but my life and my
         job made that impossible. After I manage to leave work by 6 or 7, there are bills to pay,
         family "crises" to solve, errands to run, and writerly obligations to perform. There just isn't
         much room in there to write and when there is, there's that exhaustion factor (mentally and
         physically) that virtually annihilates any sliver of creativity I might have retained. So what
         am I going to do about it? REBEL! That's right. I'm going to ignore everything this
         weekend and write (except for the beautiful weather, that is). I'm going to finish my two
         S&S stories and maybe, just maybe, start a new story, something that I haven't even
         thought about yet.
         Wow, using my imagination...that's something I don't get to use often enough as an adult.
         So imagine something magical, something beyond your wildest dreams . . . garden in
         moonlight. Plant stars, plant licorice, plant dreams. And remember. Remember running
         after fireflies in the summers. Remember how the grass felt to your bare feet. Remember
         how at 8, life was mostly what happened in your backyard. Remember how the simplest
         things became the coolest toys: a refrigerator box, a bag of rhinestones, the radio parts that
         became a one-way transmitter to the moon. Back then, anything was possible. And sense
         of wonder was the norm not the exception. Happy Easter, everyone. :)


         Happy Birthday to Mick O'Halloran!


         Got my rejected stories back in the mail. S&S 16 opens in 16 days. And I've got story #4 to
         finish. Eeep!
         Congratulations to Martin Crumpton for his sale to Altair!
         HUGE, MAMMOTH CONGRATULATIONS to Ann Marston for selling her fourth novel!!
         Look for the fourth book in her rune blade series, The Questing Blade, from HarperPrism
         in the near future!


         Very nice rejection from Epitaph today. Wow, I've had a lot of rejections this week.


         Received two rejections today: 1 from SF Age and 1 from Urbanite. Therefore, I'm spending
         the evening reprinting stories. :)
         Congratulations to the amazing Mary Soon Lee for yet another sale this year! Mary's latest
         sale is to Talebones.
         Thanks to Ron Collins for his succinct, lightning fast critique of my latest effort! Huge
         help, Ron, I appreciate it. :)


         Please check out Kurt Roth's audioplay, Herd Mentality, now playing at the Seeing Ear


         I put down a very rough draft of one of the story ideas Ron and I plotted this weekend. I
         think it'll need a bit of fleshing out, but overall, I think it came close to what I was shooting
         for. It's called New Leaves. I think I know what needs to be done for this story on the
         rewrite, so hopefully, I can achieve that this week. Finishing another story felt pretty good.
         :) That makes six for the year. Last year I wrote ten, so I hope I can come close to doubling
         this figure.
         I think I have chosen June for my novel dare. I'd like to get a bit more short fiction written
         in April.


         Just returned from what Ron Collins and I have termed, PlotFest '98. Ron, his daughter,
         Brigid, and I spent the weekend plotting lots of story ideas. Then we developed an idea
         apiece and each went off to write the story. Let me just say that I am one tired writer. I
         think the exercise was a valuable one. I found the idea I wrote into a story very complex
         and challenging (and at times, overwhelming). There were many moments of pain and
         chaos in the writing of this story, but I think I learned some things about myself as a
         writer. Most importantly, I learned that I should trust my own storytelling abilities.
         As I sit here tonight in front of my own keyboard, I feel a sense of peace with myself as a
         writer. I am in this business for the long haul and I am moving forward in small steps,
         both in craft and in sales. I am more comfortable with my writing strengths and
         weaknesses tonight. No quantum leaps or revelations. Just a quiet placement of a building
         block or two, adding a bit more strength to my writing and ready to support my next
         fiction effort. And I already know what that's going to be. If I weren't so tired tonight, I'd
         start working on it.
         Ron, Lisa, Brigid -- thanks for the great weekend! I think PlotFest '98 was a great success.


         Happy Birthday to my niece, Kirsten, who is five today!!


         Received a 51-day rejection from Analog. I confess, I'm a little disappointed. I thought this
         story had a good chance, but not even a personal response. When I started submitting my
         work, nearly six years ago, one of my goals was to sell to the major magazine markets.
         Still trying to accomplish this goal. The other goal that I'm still shooting for is to sell a
         novel. Some writers are never happy, are they? :)


         Received very prompt payment and contract from Prom Night!
         Spent last night rewriting a couple of short stories. It was a very unpleasant task. Glad it's


         Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!
         Happy 14th Anniversary to Ron and Lisa Collins!
         Congratulations to Alan Rodgers on his recent sale to Prom Night!


         A rejection from Asimov's today.
         Congratulations to James Hartley for his sale to Cabaret Magazine!
         I spent the evening tweaking a couple of paragraphs on my Prom Night story. It should be
         in its final form and on its way back to Nancy Springer in a few days.
         I'm still playing around with the Novel Dare concept. I have a couple of weeks to decide. I
         have ideas for sequels for both novels I wrote last year, but I'm not sure which way to go.
         I'm leaning toward EDP (the SF novel). We'll see. :)


         Received prompt payment for my reprint sale to Visionair today.


         I'm dancing on air tonight!!! My sales drought has finally ended!! I just received a lightning
         fast acceptance from Nancy Springer who wants to publish my short story, Music to Her
         Ears in the upcoming Greenberg anthology, PROM NIGHT!! Woo-hoo!! I'm so excited! It's
         been a long time since my last professional sale.

         And there has to be a bit of reality injected in the celebration. Two rejections today. A very
         nice and extremely helpful, personal rejection from Aberrations. And a personal rejection
         from Omni.
         Congratulations to Amy Sterling Casil for her 3rd place finish in the latest quarter of


         Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee for her fiction sale to Interzone!!


         Friendly personal rejection from Dragon today with helpful story comments.
         I finished my third S&S story tonight. It needs to sit for a few days so I can come back to it
         and cut it down a bit. It's a little longer than I'd hoped. 1850 words is a bit long for this
         short-short. I hope to cut about a page out of it.


         The mailbox remains a black hole. And I confess, I did nothing in the way of writing this
         weekend. Still haven't finished my third S&S story. I've been pushing around the
         beginnings of a short story in my head this weekend, but haven't approached it yet. I'm a
         little scared of the idea.
         I'm still considering a novel dare for next month, but no concrete commitment to it yet. I've
         never written a sequel before. Another scary prospect, since book 2 of EDP would have to
         stand alone. Still, I want to write it. We'll see. There's plenty of time left this month to
         decide. I would start on 4/5 and run until 5/4. After doing this dare thing 3 times, I've
         learned that starting it on the weekend is the best approach. Lets me get a good portion of
         the book going first. One of my goals for the year is to write two more novels. Essentially,
         I'd like to write sequels to EDP and Heart of the Labyrinth (even have working titles for
         both sequels).
         I figure if I keep writing novels, two things will happen 1. I'll learn how to write one 2. I'll
         eventually sell one. Currently, I have 3 manuscripts ready to send out and one that I want to
         go through one more time. By the end of the year, I'd like to have 6 ready to submit. I
         always think of C. J. Cherryh who wrote fourteen before one sold. Of course, she turned
         around and sold the thirteen. Now, there's some incentive. :)


         Belated congratulations to my friend Vera Nazarian who sold a story to Visionair!


         Mega-Congratulations to Diana Rowland for being accepted to Clarion West this summer!!
         Seattle's a great place, Diana! You'll have a wonderful time.
         I'm considering doing another novel dare next month. Still wanting to write that sequel to
         Experiencing Deep Purple. We'll see. Depends on how I do with my S&S stories. I was
         thinking about doing the novel dare this month, but March just slipped up on me too
         Super cool congratulations to Kurt Roth for the great casting news for his radioplay, Herd


         A 181-day rejection from Year 2000.


         Happy Birthday to my brother, Jeff!
         The mailbox remains empty, but perhaps something good will arrive this week? I can
         always hope.
         The 3rd S&S story has stalled, but only because of Real Life(tm) stuff. I hope to get back to
         it today. After a night or two of real sleep, I think I can finish the story.
         I just bought an interesting book this weekend, by Ralph Keyes, called The Courage to
         Write: How Writers Transcend Fear. So far, it's a good read. It is comforting to read about
         great writers like E. B. White and to learn how they dealt with their fear.
         Writing is an act of courage. It's putting a piece of ourselves out there for the world to
         ridicule or exalt, for editors to purchase or reject. Try as we might to separate ourselves
         from the work, it is still a part of us -- our hopes and dreams and fears. Some stories are
         bigger pieces of our souls than others, but even the smallest slivers take courage to send
         out there. Every writer packages these soul pieces into a manilla envelope. It's amazing
         how many dreams fit into these wondrously magical envelopes. That takes courage. It
         takes courage to do this again and again, especially when you don't feel like, especially
         when it hurts. Why do we do it? A good question. After nearly six years, I'm not sure I
         have one big reason. I cannot not write. I will always do that I suppose, but sending out
         those hopes...that's where it takes courage. The next time you open that envelope and find
         a "Dear Author" form, realize that it took an awful lot of courage to put that piece of
         yourself out there. Then reach down into yourself, take a deep breath, and find the
         courage to send that story out again. It's a battle that's never won, but it's one that can
         always be bravely fought.


         I'm halfway through my third S&S story. After this one, I hope to write one more. The
         current one is tentatively called "Patterned After Fools." It is coming along smoothly, but I
         ran out of steam halfway through. I should be able to finish it tomorrow.
         Congratulations to all the folks who made the Nebula Final Ballot! Especially K. D.
         Wentworth for her story, Burning Bright (Aboriginal SF)!


         Congratulations to Christopher Rowe for selling a short story to Pulp Eternity!


         Spent most of today on the rewrite of my first S&S submission. It only grew about 100
         words, so I'm glad for that. MZB doesn't seem to buy any of my stories over 2200 words,
         so I was trying to keep this one within range. Haven't had the courage to look at my
         second story yet. Perhaps tonight. I have an idea for a 3rd S&S story, one that I had
         intended for last year, but never got time to write it. I hope to make that into a short-short
         story this week. I'd still like to write four stories, but we'll see. Right now, my main
         concern is FINISHING what I write without deciding after two paragraphs that it's
         worthless. I treated myself to a really cool pen set this weekend, each pen in a bright,
         beautiful color, along with the two audio tapes. And... my tulips have pushed up through
         the mulch!! I couldn't believe it! I've never grown tulips before and thought I'd try my
         hand at them this year. Maybe winter is over? Perhaps I should plant some story ideas
         beside those tulips and see if they grow? :) SARK recommends we plant licorice in the
         garden...why not a few story ideas?


         I struggled through a new story tonight. I hope it will be good enough to send to S&S, but
         time will tell. For weeks, I've been sitting here staring at a blank screen, typing paragraphs
         and then deleting them. I feel relieved that I could at least finish something and hope to
         write a couple more stories for S&S. I haven't felt much like a writer lately.
         I've been reading _The Artist's Way_ and I'm hoping the book will be of some help in my
         situation. I also picked up a couple of audio tapes on creativity. I have a wonderful set
         that I bought a few years ago called "Creative Fire" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This is a
         wonderful tape!
         I read a beautiful, affecting story by Kurt Roth this week. It's called "Rift" and it appeared
         in Odyssey.


         Some very sad news to report. Author Jo Clayton passed away this past Friday, two days
         before her birthday. She fought hard against her cancer for 18 months. I never had the
         pleasure to meet Jo Clayton, only through her writing. Peace, Jo. For the full story, please
         check the Jo Clayton page on the SFWA web site.


         Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
         Not much to report. My writing difficulties continue and the mailbox has become a black
         hole. Thanks to Robert Brand for his wonderful email! I appreciate it very much, Robert. :)
         I've been watching the Olympics quite a bit and I'm heartened by the athletes' attitudes
         and perseverance. Professional skaters and skiiers falling, yet picking themselves back up,
         dusting themselves off and going on. "Scores, medals, and mistakes be damned, I will do my
         personal best. I will skate my best skate. I will hold my head high and show the world that, despite the
         outcome, I gave it my all. And I finished." I am humbled by their performances. It reminds me
         of a quote by Charleton Heston: Being a professional means doing the job even when you don't
         feel like it. I've always liked that line.
         Big thanks to Christopher Rowe for sending me lots of magazine links!
         Happy Birthday, Marshall!


         Ugh!! The suffering continues as I push myself through the new story. They're all tough
         ones these days. I thought I'd be through it by now, but "dulled imagination syndrome"
         (DIS) prevails. I try to keep myself out of the way of the work, but each story keeps
         flatlining. I know creativity comes in cycles, but I confess, this particular phase is
         beginning to scare me. Kind of like that awful noise the washer makes when it spins out of
         cycle. Last year was a record low for my career and I was hoping to change that this year.
         This isn't the start I'd hoped for. For a published small fry (to quote my friend, Vera), only
         the here and now applies. It doesn't matter what I sold two years ago or that I wrote some
         "awesome" story last year. What matters is what I'm writing now, what I'm selling now.
         The cold fear that my skill has slipped or that I've somehow forgotten how to do
         something I've done all my life stays with me whenever I touch the keyboard. Each night, I
         try to put that pressure behind me, but in its wake, I leave behind story carcasses. June of
         this year marks the start of my 6th year of the struggle. And I will struggle through it
         somehow. Ah, the joys of writing. Guess I'll pop Enya into the CD player and try again.
         Can't hurt. Might help.
         I think of my dear friend, Barb today. She would have been 65. How the years rush by us.
         Happy Birthday, my friend. I still remember the day.


         Wellll.....I didn't finish anything yesterday. :( I did, however, see something a bit odd on
         the drive home from work, so 2 or 3 things stayed with me on the drive home. Using these
         two items and 1 from my "inspiration" list, I *think* I have a story idea. I played around
         with scenarios last night. Jury's still out on this one, but I'm hopeful it'll turn into
         something worthwhile. I hope it will be my second submission for S&S.
         While struggling through brainstorming for the above idea and adding a little web fodder
         into the mix, a piece of the puzzle from a previous story idea fell into place. *grin* Gotta
         love it when that happens. Nevertheless, a story idea I haven't been able to write has
         yielded a small word count (500 words), but a solid start. And let me tell you, that's a
         good feeling. I've been struggling with this particular story idea for some time, but
         discovered tonight, that the whole problem was the setting. Can't wait to see where this
         story leads me. :)


         Received a prompt, 10-day acceptance from VISIONAIR on a reprint submission. :) Yay!
         Tough weekend at the keyboard. I stepped through the pieces of a story I've been trying to
         write and still find I'm missing something. Started another new story and stalled. At this
         point in my writing, I seem to have more partially finished stories than I've ever had
         before. I feel that I need a little inspiration. It's funny where inspiration comes from and
         how we make connections between ideas, phrases, and images. The last story I wrote
         came from a writing exercise I pushed myself to do and a friend's comment that made a
         connection with an image from the exercise. I warn my friends to be careful what they say
         around me because it may somehow work its way into a story. I feel a little depleted in
         the inspiration department. But I know that if I don't push myself through this one, then
         it'll be harder and harder to write something. I vow to finish something tonight.
         Norman Mailer says that Writer's Block is a failure of the ego. Perhaps that's true, faith that
         you have the skill to do justice to an idea, confidence that you can produce what you see
         in your head on paper, but I think there's a component missing. Along with lacking that
         confidence, I think Writer's Block is also a lack of inspiration. Remember those ideas that
         grab you by the back of the neck and hang on until you do something with them? Or the
         ideas that come upon you quietly, whispering images and emotions in your ear. Whether
         earth-shattering or feather light, inspiration...passion...is something we need to write. So,
         Lisa's free advice (and you know what they say about anything free :>) today is write what
         you feel passionate about, write what inspires you.
         Try this little exercise:

               Write down 3 things that move or inspire you.
               Take a walk or a drive and write down 3 things that stayed with you from that
               Write a story that uses 1 of the things that inspires you and 1 thing that stayed
               with you from your drive/walk.

         I'll let you know how mine turns out tomorrow! :)


         I finished a long overdue rewrite on an SF novelette. I hope to read through it tonight and
         send it out tomorrow. Still pondering the angles of the SF story that's brewing. It's almost
         ready to pour. :)


         I've been reading a wonderful book called BIRD BY BIRD by Ann Lamott. What a great
         book for writers at any stage! Thanks to Patricia Duffy Novak for suggesting this one.
         I'm working on this new story idea right now. I put about 500 words down on it, but
         pitched them. Just didn't feel quite right. It's an idea that I'm quite excited about. It's just a
         tad beyond my reach as a writer, so regardless of how it turns out, it will be a good
         exercise. I just need this one small piece to fall into place and I'll be ready to approach it.
         I've spent a few days inside the two character's heads, trying to figure out their
         motivations. Now, I just need to look at how that affects the plot's outcome. I have no title
         yet (just a lame working title or two). Nothing but a good feeling about this one. :) We'll
         see what happens.


         44-day rejection from Freezer Burn. Editor says they are almost bought up for 1998.


         94-day form from Literal Latte


         CONGRATULATIONS to Kurt "Schmoelad" Roth for his short story sale to Odyssey!! Kurt's
         off to a great start for 1998!


         HUGE, MEGA CONGRATULATIONS to Ron Collins for being a Finalist in the Writers Of
         The Future Contest!!!!! He gets to attend the workshop and have his excellent story, "The
         Disappearance of Josie Andrews" published in the WOTF anthology, appearing this
         summer. Ron Collins is a writer to watch and I'm sure he'll be going far in this business.
         He's got what it takes: talent and persistence. I have no doubt that by summer, Ron will be
         one of the WOTF prize winners. When I grow up, I want to be like Ron Collins.


         HOLEE COW!!!! My short story, The Sound of Angels has qualified for the 1997 Nebula
         Awards Preliminary Ballot!!!! I'm so excited! I just can't believe it! I printed a copy of the
         ballot as I do every year and seeing my story there is just the most incredible moment. The
         Sound of Angels is a story that came from the heart and it's very dear to me. I just can't
         believe that *I* made the ballot. Big Thanks to Vera Nazarian!!
         Big Congratulations to my friend, Mary Soon Lee!!! Her short story, "Universal Grammar"
         made the Preliminary Ballot!! Look out world! I think you're going to see Mary Soon Lee's
         name on the ballot for many years to come.
         Also, congratulations to Leslie What, Richard Bowes, and Holly Wade Matter! Their
         stories, "Beside the Well," "In the House of the Man in the Moon," and "Water Snakes"
         (published in Bending the Landscape) made the 1997 Nebula Awards Preliminary Ballot!
         This couldn't have come on a better day, too. My father had to have an emergency heart
         catheter test today and I just got home after a 12-hour day of waiting and hoping. Test
         results were awesome! I'm so relieved...no blockages. They're going to treat the pain with
         beta-blockers and see how things go. Every year I get with my dad is precious. As with
         my mom, too, They are among my best friends.

         Today, I saw people standing in my shoes eight years ago when Dad faced bypass surgery
         and valve replacement, uncertain if he'd even survive. I understood their tears and I felt
         their pain, but I know that most of them will feel the elation and relief that I was given
         today. We've all gone our separate ways tonight, but we shared common ground today.
         We faced the possibility of death of our precious loved ones tonight openly and honestly
         -- and together. It was okay to cry, it was okay to fear, and it was okay to hope with people
         I didn't know. They understood where words failed. I found myself giving back what was
         given to me eight years ago. I passed on the comfort and hope given to me. Like the Get
         Well balloon we left at the desk today, to be given to someone else who might come in
         alone tomorrow. For this one day, the world felt a little smaller and a little warmer. I hope
         I don't forget that for quite some time. And I hope that balloon is passed around a lot.


         In the Autumn issue of Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine, there is a beautiful
         story called, "Dark Queen" by Kathryn J. Brown. It's a wonderfully magical, moving, and
         poetic story! If you get a chance, please read it.
         I just sat down and wrote my first short story of the year! Yay! Boy, did it feel good to
         write something short again. This one weighs in at a mere 1000 words, but the words just
         came almost faster than I could type. A stream of thoughts and images that began, moved
         forward, and ended. I'm sitting here feeling that completion buzz. aaahhh. The story is
         tentatively called "Evergreen." Feelin' good tonight. :)
         Also did some work on a short story I started in 1997. I've got some ideas about where
         "The Spirit House" needs to go, so I set some of them into motion. We'll see where they


         The short story is fizzling, but I have finished the rewrite on Heart of the Labyrinth. It
         weighs in at a good length, too: 102,000 words. When I decided on this project for the
         Dare, I quickly regretted it, thinking the whole plot was stupid. But it turned out complex
         and fast-paced. I'm very proud of this one. And I'm not sure how I managed to hold such
         an intricate plot together without an outline. I think it needs more work, of course, but
         overall, it hangs together. I like the characters very much and can't wait to work on the
         next book! But, I still have a burning desire to write the sequel to Experiencing Deep
         Purple. I have tentative plans for another novel dare in March where I hope I get the
         chance to write a sequel for EDP. Or Heart. I think there is much ahead for Kayne and
         Fiona in Corydon. And I know Private Mitchell from EDP has some unfinished business.
         And 1 rejection to report today.


         Debbie Osorio and her group have begun a Novel Dare today. Stop by and wish them
         Had lunch with my Dad today and consider myself quite fortunate to have him across the
         table from me.
         I don't have anything particularly pithy to impart today (not that I normally do anyway).
         I'm working on a new short story today, no title yet, no actual words to paper yet either as
         I try to organize a couple of ideas into a hook I can run with.
         My "resolutions" for 1998 aren't very concrete. I hope to strengthen myself against
         discouragement (my biggest difficulty of 1997) as well as my persistencefactor (instead of
         the "why bother" factor). I hope to push my writing to some new level (whatever that may
         be) and I hope make some strides forward in my career. But right now, I hope to find an
         opening sentence to this short story. ;)
         I'll leave you with a thought: "What if writers like Ray Bradbury and F. Scott Fitzgerald
         had given up writing after an editor or two told them their work wasn't good enough?"

         Granted, there aren't many Bradburys and Fitzgeralds out there, but nevertheless,
         sometimes persistence means having the courage and confidence (because we aren't
         Bradbury or Fitzgerald) to send out our work again and again. So, my wish for 1998 is
         courage: courage to keep sending my work out, courage to keep trying, courage to keep