I just watched a movie where the main character was blind and got his sight back. He was
         the only person who paid attention and really saw anything. He taught everyone around
         him to use their senses. Why is it that we must lose something in order to appreciate what
         we have? Why must someone die before a traffic light is installed? Those of us blessed
         with sight and hands and ears, why don't we pay more attention to these senses? The scent
         of rain through a screen, the staccato peal of wind chimes on a sunny afternoon, the feel of
         cool grass against our hands. What is it about our nature that makes us forget what's
         around us and walk around in little glass bubbles? We all do it, but I can't help but
         wonder why. Why it takes someone without to make us realize what we already have?
         Well, the novel was visited by the Angel of Death, but nothing from S&S. They didn't like
         my book, BUT...they did like my writing and went on to say some very positive things
         about that. They want to see other works by me. That's kinda cool. Can't be too bummed
         about that. :) So, I need to get busy and write a new novel, I'm thinking.
         Spent the evening on the rewrite request. It's finished and on its way. The mailbox was
         empty of any story news. I hope the Angel of Death passes over my mailbox this weekend.
         Needless to say, I'm feeling maximum anxiety right now. Six stories and a novel now that
         are nail-biters. With one week left in the S&S reading period, the days out on the novel
         ticking toward the minimum RT, and a rewrite request completed --


         Struggling through the rewrite request tonight. It's a tough one. I've gotten through my
         first pass at it. Going to let it sit tonight and see how it looks tomorrow.
         No mail today and no fingernails left to bite off. I think that toward the end of the week,
         things from S&S will start showing up. Ick. I dread opening the mailbox over the next
         three days. The S&S stuff combined with one of my novels sitting at a publisher with a
         very fast rejection time...well, my anxiety level is rather high this week.
         I'm struggling in general this week. I just feel exhausted. I haven't touched the two new
         stories I wrote yet. Probably won't until I know the fate of this rewrite. And on that note,
         my brain is full. Going to bed now. Have a good night, all.


         Warmest Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee and her husband, Andrew Moore on the birth
         of their first child, William Chye Lee Moore!!! The baby was born on April 22nd!! He
         sounds beautiful, Mary and Andrew!

     4/26/99 -- Long Post Warning!

         Wow...what a weekend! Dark Side of the Plotfest was intense this time. :) I had a
         wonderful time! As always, the Collins family is one of the nicest families on the planet.
         Watching Wizard of Oz with the Pink Floyd soundtrack was an experience. The
         synchronicity is amazing!
         On Saturday, Ron and I developed ideas for stories, discussing things that were in the
         forefront of our thoughts for the week: things that bothered us, things that frightened us,
         things that intrigued us. From there, we looked at articles, books, prints, and generally
         anything that might generate some ideas. Finally, we settled on something and we hit the
         keyboards. Ron wrote a cool story with two, very strong characters. This will be a really
         good one when he's finished. I wrote a story that became more complex as I wrote. When I
         sat down at the keyboard, I was totally clueless about what to write. Just clueless. I hear
         Ron tapping away, a story forming on his screen, and then I look at mine. Untitled by Lisa S.
         Silverthorne. Return, Return, Return. ARGH!! So, I looked at my notes a bazillion times
         (hoping something amazing would suddenly appear there). Finally, I moved some stuff
         around in the notes, pulled in ideas from an article and the conversations and started
         typing. As I went through the ideas, I began to get an idea and struggled to hold it all
         together. When I finished, I felt pleased with the effort and simply by the fact that I
         recognized the missing story elements as I worked.
         On Sunday, we decided that we weren't happy writing only one story, so we took Plotfest
         a step further and wrote a second story. This one involved gestalt techniques
         (transforming an object into something else entirely) to produce a story. I found this
         challenging! Ron developed a couple of ideas and chose one to write. I felt drawn to write
         a difficult story. This one was hard for me to write, both in content and in craft. It was a
         challenge, but I fought my way through it. It was an odd experience. As I sat with my
         objects, turning them on their side, etc., a chill came over me as emotions clicked with plot
         ideas. On the periphery of my senses, as I studied my objects, I heard Every Breath You
         Take on the radio. Then I got that wonderful "oh! wow!" feeling and I had a story idea. But
         as I sat at the keyboard, a dark feeling descended on me. What had I chosen to write? As
         the idea slowly trickled onto the screen, I realized how different this story was from other
         stories I'd written. The wimp out factor was high. My already exhausted brain was
         struggling and I wanted to kick myself for choosing this story to write. But I kept slogging.
         Two pages before the end, I knew what the ending had to be, but I didn't want to write
         that. The wimp-out factor was off the scale now, but I vowed that this time, I would not
         wimp out. I would write the ending that had to be. So, I took a deep breath, pushed my
         own issues out of the way, and I wrote that ending. I felt icky afterward and I didn't want
         to show it to Ron. But after he read it, he confirmed that I had chosen the right ending. So, I
         came away from this second story feeling good that I didn't wimp out.
         Ron wrote an SF story with some powerful undercurrents. This story seemed like a tough
         assignment to start with, but he handled the parameters well and I think this story will
         have a sweeping feel to it when he's done.
         All in all, I came away from Dark Side of the Plotfest feeling like I accomplished
         something. I wrote about 8400 words in two days and that felt darn good! My brain feels a
         bit drained today, but I hope to do some work tonight. Wow, we wrote two stories in two
         days! Looking back on that, I'm amazed. Thanks again, to Ron, Lisa, and Brigid who are
         wonderful people who made this weekend great fun!
         And...on the mail side of the fence, I received my postcard back, telling me that my novel
         safely arrived at its destination. It may be a short trip, but knowing that it arrived is good
         enough for now. I've already bitten off my fingernails on the S&S subs, but for the
         moment, they survive another day. Also, in the mail this weekend -- a rewrite request.
         Whew, and a tough one to boot.


         I'll be out of town this weekend and away from a modem. Ron Collins and I are doing
         another PlotFest. Hope everyone has a great weekend! And to all you S&S submitters, I
         hope you don't receive any rejections tomorrow.
         Seville has become like the dogs in the rimadyl commercials, exhausting me because she's
         been so playful. That drug is a wonder drug for kitties, too. Hope it does the same for
         Tippi's dog, Baxter!


         WOO-HOO!! Big Congratulations to Terry Kanago for her sale to Quantum SF!! I'm
         thrilled for you, Terry!
         Well, I haven't finished my S&S story yet because I've been gone most of the day and
         evening. I'm getting a late start tonight, but hopefully, I'll get through most of it. We'll see.
         Received payment for my story, Homecoming, which was accepted in the SFF.NET
         anthology: The Age of Reason.


         I have no words for what happened in Colorado. Only overwhelming sadness and aching
         for those kids and their parents. Deep anger at this extreme act of cold-blooded cruelty
         and cowardice.
         On a lighter note, I'm halfway through the new S&S story. New title has emerged, too. The
         story's now called Cards Upon Them. At least for the moment. This one will probably edge
         2k. I plan to hold onto it until my first S&S rejection arrives. I should be able to finish it by
         tomorrow at the latest (she says hopefully).
         My little Persian, Seville, has been ill again. She has severe arthritis because someone
         stepped on her right paw when she was a week old. She hasn't be able to walk for two
         days, but the rimadyl has worked wonders. Because cats have extremely sensitive
         stomachs, it can be difficult to give them any sort of pain medication. But she's been able
         to take very small dosages of rimadyl (12.5 mg) and it's been a life saver. She's been
         moving normally today and she's now sleeping on my desk in her box. For that, I'm
         Bon voyage to Diana, Tamela, and Chiara on their Oregon trip. Have safe flights and a
         wonderful time!
         Well wishes to Tippi's doggie, Baxter. Hope he's feeling better soon.
         Congratulations to Vera on her two reprint sales!! Woo!
         I have to make a comment or two on sleep...just because. :) For ten years, I worked a 4pm
         to 1 am job. I never got home until about 1:30 am. Yes, I am a definite night person.
         Probably not like Diana who works MUCH later than 1 am, I'm sure, or Vera who keeps
         late hours, too, but I feel that I do my best work at night. Then, in 1994...ugh!...I got my first
         professional job. Welcome to the h*ll of 9 to 5 pm. AUGH!!! This was a very hard transition
         for me and I fought it. Heck, I still fight it. I used to do my best writing from 10 pm to 2
         am. That has moved up as I have adjusted (somewhat) to a day job. But, I, too am an
         insomniac like Vera. I wake up throughout the night and typically wake up exhausted. I'm
         an occasional sleepwalker, too and have even been known to sing in my sleep. Goofy but
         true. If I could just write in my sleep, I'd have this thing mastered. :) So, my writing time is
         now 7pm to 11pm weekdays, and as much as I want on the weekends. I'm now
         comfortable with (or at least used to) this schedule. The point of all this? Heck if I know.
         Just some random babbling on my part. :)


         Update: Woo! I've finally got an idea to run with! Tentative title of this one is Deathbringer.
         It's going to be a short one, a little weird, probably 2k or less. I feel a bit calmer knowing
         that I'll have a sixth story if I need it. So far, only the first scene is down, about a page. It's
         off to a decent start at least, so I'll run with it tomorrow night and see how it goes. :)
         I'm back brainstorming that one last S&S idea. I can't stand not having a backup story in
         the wings in case all five of my stories come home. The inklings of an idea are in my head
         right now. I'm hopeful. :)
         I spent Sunday reviewing/line-editing the novel I wrote in June of '98. And, I have to say, I
         am aching to write book three! There's just something about these characters and their
         circumstances that set my blood on fire. I don't know what it is, but I love writing about
         these people and their situations! I've been afraid to look at this second book, fearing how
         bad it was, but you know what -- it wasn't so bad. It needs some revision (heck, what
         doesn't), but the basic story works. There are several things that will require fleshing out,
         but I know I'll enjoy writing those scenes. Book three is screaming at me from the pages of
         book two, so, I may selfishly indulge myself in writing book three soon. :)
         I checked out Tamela's husband's photography this weekend. Wow....I'm so impressed
         with his work! It's just beautiful! The intensity of the black and white photos, the dreamy --
         almost magical -- quality of the color portraits. If you haven't seen his work yet, check it


         Congratulations to Kurt Roth for selling his short story Revealing Russian Blue!! You're
         awesome, Kurt!
         Went to Barnes & Noble today and spent too much money on books, as usual. I picked up
         two copies of Prom Night, the first three books of Rick Shelley's DMC trilogy: Officer
         Cadet, Lieutenant, and Captain, and I bought a book on the history of Druids. I plan to do
         some brainstorming on stories tonight and put down some serious wordage on
         something. It will probably be the exercise story (I hope).
         I've got an old favorite in the CDROM drive at the moment: Loreena McKennitt's The Visit.
         Yep, I finally took Eventide out of the drive. :)
         So glad to see that Diana's doggie, Zeus, is feeling better and back to his old self. My kitty,
         Seville, has a very sensitive stomach like Zeus, so I understand how it feels to deal with
         that. My sympathies. I had to try a bazillion different dry cat foods until I found one she
         liked and could eat without throwing up or having diarrhea. Hope this is the end of
         Zeus's stomach troubles.


         Congratulations to Toby for his acceptance to Clarion East! That's terrific news, Toby!
         Congratulations to Jon for his poetry acceptances to Aboriginal and Flesh and Blood!
         Congratulations to Linda Dunn for her novelette sale to Absolute Magnitude!! Wow, you
         folks are really kickin' butt!


         CONGRATULATIONS, John!!! John Sullivan just got accepted to Clarion East today! That's
         wonderful news, John! We knew you could do it. :>
         Cleaned up the remaining three Sword & Sorceress stories tonight. All five stories are now
         packaged, tagged, and ready to mail. Hoping one of these stories is good enough to make
         the cut this year. I look at the calendar and I'm amazed that it's time for S&S subs again. I
         may try to write another story this weekend, a just in case story -- in case all these stories
         return home right away. This weekend, I plan to also get my fourth novel ready to mail
         and work on my writing exercise/story.
         I have a copy of Prom Night in my hands at last! Appearing in this anthology was a
         writing goal for me. I've always wanted to place a story in one of the DAW anthologies. It
         was a thrill to see my name in the table of contents. And the best part was having my story
         fall between stories by Tippi Blevins and Jenn Coleman-Reese!


         Just wanted to enter the discussion on exercises since I've been talking about them for the
         last month on my page. This is my reason for doing exercises for my own work. (I say this
         just as an FYI in case anyone happens to read this) Last month, a writer with much more
         experience than I suggested that I make my stories exercises. The reason: so I can improve
         on areas that are weak in my fiction. For example, when this writer wants to practice her
         dialogue, she writes a story that's heavy in dialogue. Her advice has been my reason for
         making every story that I write an exercise. Because I want my stories to get better,
         because practice works. And the idea is to send out these stories, of course, but to focus on
         areas in which my skill is weak. And to stretch my boundaries. I know, there should be
         this magic about writing stories, but my "magic" is misfiring. Maybe this won't work for
         me or anyone else, I don't know, but in the absence of raw talent, the next best thing is
         practice. I'm not an "art for art's sake" writer. My goal is to sell my work, but to also enjoy
         what I write. My hope is to become a better writer and to sell a lot more of my fiction than
         I do. My hope is that I haven't wasted seven years of time trying to do something that's not
         within my ability to do. Time will tell, I suppose. All I can do is keep trying and writing
         stories as exercises has been a good approach for me. So-o-o, this is my reason for talking
         about writing exercises for the past month. I'm not intending this as advice to other
         writers. This has just been a discussion of what I'm doing in my work. Basically, I'm tired
         of writing crappy fiction and want desperately to write better stories. Hence, my
         discussion of exercises.


         Happy Birthday to Johannah O'Halloran, who's seven today! Have a wonderful birthday,
         Miss J! :)
         Got one of my crits written and delivered. I'm halfway through the last one. I also got
         another one of my five S&S stories ready to go. Two are complete and now, I just need to
         polish the last three stories. I can't believe the window is about to open! I'm nervous and
         excited at the same time.
         I'm looking at the works I have out right now and can't believe that I have three novels out.
         When my fourth manuscript goes out, this will be a first for me. I've never had four novels
         out on the market at one time. Wow... The embarrassing part is that I only have five short
         stories out right now. An all-time low for me. The five S&S stories will help. I do see that
         my writing is changing, so perhaps in time, I'll feel more on top of short story writing.


         Heart of the Labyrinth is all ready to go out tomorrow morning. Probably won't get the
         other manuscript out for a few days. I've still got a couple of crits that need to be done and
         A LOT of polishing to do on my S&S stories. Then the new writing exercise/ story to do.
         Maybe someday I'll get the hang of this stuff.
         Congratulations to Amy Sterling Casil for her sale to F&SF!
         Triple congratulations to Mary Soon Lee for her two sales to Interzone and a reprint sale to
         Papyrus!! I'm in awe... I am humbled. I can't even imagine sales like these. I just can't even
         imagine -- my efforts seem so pale by comparison. I can only hope to one day write at this
         level. Back to work.


         I just finished the final edits on Heart of the Labyrinth. Whew! It took me a day and a half
         to complete them. Tomorrow, I'll print out the manuscript and it'll go out on Tuesday.
         This took a lot longer than I expected, so needless to say, I didn't get my crits or edits done
         on my S&S stories. Guess what I'm doing tomorrow night? :> Getting this book out will
         make me feel better. It should have gone out four months ago. Better late than never, I


         Welll....the last pass through Heart is going slower than I'd hoped. It'll probably be
         Tuesday before I send it out now. I'll just feel so relieved to get it sent. My editing efforts
         are being slowed down now by the nasty thunderstorms approaching. I lost a PC once due
         to a lightning strike, so I'm not very interested in repeating the experience. Being a
         Midwesterner, I have a healthy fear of tornadoes, so I'm one of these folks who backs up
         her files before every storm and keeps a Zip disk and my cat within arm's reach during
         nasty weather. I love thunderstorms, but when they start threatening to spawn tornadoes,
         my disaster preparedness mode kicks in.
         I'm so excited -- Lois McMaster Bujold's Komarr is out in paperback and so is Prom
         Night!! Plug Warning! I have a story in this DAW anthology. The story is titled Music to Her
         Ears, so, if you're interested, check it out on Amazon.com. This story is a special one for
         me. Also, fellow writers, Jenn Coleman-Reese and Tippi Blevins have stories in this
         volume, too. I tried to pick up a copy of the antho today, but none of the book stores had
         it. But holding Komarr in my hands after waiting over a year for is a nice consolation
         prize. I've placed it underneath Steve Leigh's book and plan to read it after Speaking
         My mailbox has been terribly empty this year. I've only had one return this year. Amazing!
         Everything else (mostly novels, so that's probably why) has been out forever! Weird stuff.
         I've been in what I've termed espresso mode for the past couple of weeks. It's been cool, too,
         because I've gotten so much done. I'm dying to get back to my latest writing exercise, but
         I've got six short stories and a novel preceding it. Hopefully, I can start dealing with it next
         weekend. I'm anxious to see if I can actually write a story backward. Oh, well, guess I'll
         snap open another Diet Coke and sneak in a few more chapters before the storm makes me
         shut down the pc. And from there, I'll whip out the notebook computer I keep under my
         bed. Batteries are charged. I've finally gotten back to the stage where my writing
         enjoyment comes before my marketing strategies. Basically, I don't think about that until
         later. :) Have a good evening.


         Woo! Got through all of the changes on Heart tonight. Now, one final pass and Heart of
         the Labyrinth will go out on Monday. I'm sending a partial of another book out
         tomorrow. Lots of stuff going out very soon.
         I've still got Eventide in my CD player (by Grey Eye Glances). I've played this CD a
         bazillion times since I got it. These folks are just fantastic! Here's an example of the first
         verse of a song called Chills:

               The fog is slowly lifting.
               The lighthouse she is dancing.
               Like a skater etching circles,
               but the pond is rarely frozen over.

         I still owe three critiques, so those will need to be done tomorrow. After that, I plan to
         print out Heart while I rewrite/polish the S&S stories. And if there's any time left...I hope
         to rewrite Still Life. Busy day tomorrow.


         I didn't get any writing done last night and I feel bad about that. My brother and his family
         have been here all week, so I enjoyed hanging out with them and playing poker, but...alas,
         no work got done. Guess I'll have to make up for that over the next couple of days. I just
         don't want to lose my momentum right now. My plan tonight is to edit a boatload of Heart
         chapters and then work on Still Life. From there, I plan to rewrite a story bound for S&S and
         start polishing the rest. And then I want to start writing my next exercise story. A tough
         one, but fun in a challenging sort of way. :)
         MEGA-CONGRATS to Terry McGarry who just sold her first novel to Tor!! All right,
         Terry!! I knew that book was a winner!! I'm really excited for you! That's quite an


         [Didn't get a chance to post this last night, so I'm doing it today on my break.] Worked through
         another six chapters of Heart tonight. I have about thirteen chapters left to edit. Then one
         last read-through and it'll be off to a publisher before they forget they requested my novel.
         I have a ton of work to do this weekend. Print out and mail the novel, polish a couple of
         short stories, and do some short story critiques.
         I want to get back into Still-Life and make some edits suggested by a friend. She made
         some great calls about the story and I couldn't help but feel excited after I'd read her
         comments. They really energized me about the story, so I look forward to editing based
         on her comments and another friend's comments. I look forward to two other crits I'm
         waiting on, and then I can send this puppy out into the world.
         My writing is changing. It's odd when I become aware of that. I find myself writing longer
         stories these days and feeling less afraid of that. Typically, I'm afraid to write long stories
         because I'm afraid I'm boring the reader (and I don't always trust my skill level.) I feel less
         afraid of tackling difficult ideas, too. Mainly, because I'm starting to "get it." As in, my
         world won't end if I write some bad stories. It's okay to write bad stories (I don't send
         these out, of course). It's okay to write stories just to see what happens and to see how I
         handle this skill or that skill. And it's okay that I've been doing this for seven years and
         still need to learn. I think a lot of times, in the past (hopefully less so now), I would be
         very unforgiving of myself for writing bad stories/making mistakes. "It's not acceptable,"
         my internal critic would tell me. "You *know* better than this. You've made professional
         sales. All your stories should be at that level. You're not allowed to write bad stories
         anymore." But writing doesn't improve steadily with uphill movement. It's all over the
         map! (the head knows this is true, but the internal critic resists it) For so long, I just
         couldn't inculcate those beliefs. So, I'm learning to cut myself a little slack and just write
         and test myself. And I love a challenge, so making my stories into exercises is just plain
         Sympathies to John about his cat, Max. So sorry to hear about Max's eye. I hope he's
         feeling better soon and that you have him for long time after this. Our pets are so precious
         and it's so hard to let them go.


         Happy Birthday, John! Hope you have a great day! And Happy Birthday to my good
         friend, Mick O'Halloran, who also has a birthday today!
         Congratulations to Kris Rusch, Devon Monk, and Tippi Blevins for making Speculations's
         Final Ballot! You go, girls!
         Congratulations to Steve Leigh whose novel, Speaking Stones, made Locus's
         Recommended Reading List this month. All right, Steve!
         I'm being a bad dog and posting this at work...so more later from home, unless the
         Warden catches me and puts me in solitary.


         I've gotten through the first fifteen chapters of the fantasy novel rewrite. It's moving fairly
         quickly, but I'm only a third of the way through. One major problem took me a couple
         days to sort through, but I've got that figured out now. I have about twenty-two chapters
         on which I need to do minor rewrites. I seem to be able to get through about six chapters a
         night, so that's not too bad. If all goes well, I may be able to get Heart of the Labyrinth out
         by the weekend. Then I'll have three manuscripts out again. Just gotta figure out what to
         do with manuscript #4 that's languishing under my desk. :P
         I keep jotting ideas down, in the hope that something really cool will spark. We'll see. I
         have a bunch of hazy ideas that are more shadow than substance, but maybe something
         will come together.
         I can't believe there are only two weeks left before Sword & Sorceress opens! I've got a lot
         of polishing to do this week and one minor rewrite to perform. So much to do and so little
         time. Ain't it great? :)


         Finished story #5 for S&S just a little bit ago. An idea hit me this afternoon, so I pounded
         out a story. It's only about 1400 words, but I think it works. Working title is Full Circle.
         Now, I need to spend the coming week polishing all five stories and getting them ready to
         mail. Wow...it's been quite the writing-focused week for me. I may not get into Sword &
         Sorceress XVII this year, but darn it, I gave it my best shot. :) And that's all I can do.
         I'm really yearning to write some science fiction right now. Something really emotional
         that'll rip out your heart. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but I like moving stories. Stories
         that really affect.
         Guess I'll take a little break and then continue a minor rewrite on a novel that I wanted to
         send out last month. Perhaps I'll get it sent out this month?


         Congratulations to Stephen Leigh (or is that Stephenangelo?) on Speaking Stones moving
         into a second printing! That's awesome news, Steve!
         Attended a cat show today and oohed and ahhed over the Persians. There were some
         beautiful cats there, including an adorable tortie persian kitten that I wanted to bring
         home. But none as beautiful as my own little tortie persian. :) Seeing the show rings and
         all the cats made me really miss showing. Seville, however, doesn't miss it at all. Hmmm,
         imagine that. ;)
         Pounded out 3/4ths of a new story tonight. It's not the exercise I mentioned a few days
         ago, but a slight variation where basically the plot progression isn't linear. The backward
         exercise is starting (or ending) out slowly. It's really weird trying to write a story
         backward, but I'm giving it a shot. Working title for the story-to-be is Mobius Inkleined. Not
         sure if this one will survive or not. It may be one of those stories I sit down and read and
         then mutter, "What the heck was I thinking?" Crumple, crumple ... Nothing but net!
         Doing stories as exercises is a very humbling activity. It makes me feel like I'm trying to
         draw the Mona Lisa with kindergarten crayons. (Y'know, the fat, blunt ones so you don't
         put out an eye or something.) Anyway, anything I thought I knew how to do kind of goes
         out the window as I struggle with the exercise. A nice effect of the whole thing is that I also
         don't feel the internal critic shredding the thing either. Doing a story as an exercise
         actually confuses the heck out of the internal critic. [...you're telling the truth, but -- everything
         you say -- is a lie...Norman, please translate...] (Original Star Trek for all you young'uns out
         there and no, I don't own a pair of fake Spock ears!) So, after one of these exercises, I just
         feel uncomfortable, like my shirt's on backwards or I tied my shoes together. Of course,
         my fear is that the stories will also read that way. ;)
         Okay, break's over. Back to more S&S brainstorming.


         I've spent the week brainstorming ideas for more S&S stories. Yeah, getting a late start. I
         really would like to write one more story. I completed a 1000-word story today, tentative
         title Pathways. That's four, but I have a muddled idea for a 5th story. Maybe I can make
         that into a 5th story this weekend? I really want to make this volume. I'm really looking
         forward to seeing S&S16. The cover is a Michael Whelan cover!!! It's beautiful! If you want
         to see a small thumbnail of it, check out my bibliography page. I can't wait to hold this one
         in my hand. :)
         I'm developing another new story idea, but not for S&S. Going to file that one in the
         database and come back to it at a later date.
         Received my contract for The Age of Reason yesterday. Hope to get that in the mail


         WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Our first ever, National Championship!!!!! [glyph of Lisa
         doing the Snoopy Dance] I'm so stoked!!


         Finished a new story tonight. Title is Soul Dance. It's for Sword & Sorceress XVII which
         opens late next month. Just need to finish one more story and I'll feel a little more
         prepared for this year's submission window.
         My next short story exercise will follow the completion of my fourth S&S story. I wrote
         five stories for S&S last year, so I may write one more. Anyway, my next short story
         exercise is a weird one. I'm scared and excited by the attempt. The exercise is: write a short
         story backward. I'm not sure I can pull this off, but it's going to be fun to try. This was a
         challenge given to me a couple of years ago, but I've been too chicken to try it until now. I
         actually have an idea that just may work for this exercise. We'll see. Sometimes you've
         gotta fail to succeed. It'll be a couple of weeks at least before I can start on it. Right now,
         S&S XVII is my first writing priority.
         My mom and I went to the park today and did a nature hike. Everything still looked
         sleepy and warm nestled under the brown blanket of leaves, but it was still beautiful. I
         saw a beautiful reddish orange and brown butterfly flitting around the evergreens. I was
         able to get close enough to actually touch one velvety wing. It didn't seem to mind my
         presence, but eventually it flew up to the top of the pine. It was pretty cool to be able to
         get that close to a butterfly. Came home and washed my car only to discover that someone
         had decided to key my car. The whole passenger side quarter panel has a huge scratch
         down it, to the headlight. Sigh. Glad the car is dark green so it isn't that noticeable. Guess
         it could have been worse. It's just very sad that people feel the need to do things like that
         (and I haven't even made my first payment yet). Sorry to end on a negative note. Did I
         mention I saw a butterfly today?


         Woooooo!!!! Lady Boilermakers win!!!! What a game! My heart's still pounding. :) I'm
         going to have to forego my Sunday night David Duchovny fix to watch the final game.
         Thank God for VCRs. ;>
         Big congratulations to Brian Plante for his sale to SFFNET's Age of Reason anthology!
         And such a cool story, too. :)


         If you haven't read Terry Kanago's 3/23 journal entry, please go read it. It's beautiful and
         wonderfully inspiring. Thanks for posting that, Terry! Your entry has given me an idea for
         a short story.
         Congratulations to Erin Cashier Denton for her short story sale to 69 Flavors of Paranoia!
         I've spent the evening brainstorming S&S ideas. I've mapped out a new idea and look
         forward to starting that one tomorrow night. This story won't be my exercise story. More
         about that at a later date though.
         Today was an insane day at work. Non-stop problems from behemoth NT profiles (caused
         by a user inadvertently routing their cache to their profile) to corrupt kernels to stolen
         mice. Just glad the day's over.


         WOO!! Lady Boilermakers advance to the Final Four!!! Kick butt and take names!
         Okay, a little writing talk in case you might think this is a completely frivolous post ;>
         Changed the tense of the new story (yeah, I can't leave anything alone, can I?). It just feels
         better in past tense, so I did the conversion today. Now, I need to make another pass
         through it, making sure my voice is more active. It's so long though. At 6300 words, I
         really hope I can cut more. But it was a cool exercise. And I've already got my next
         exercise lined up. The story idea I have in mind may actually lend itself to this exercise.
         By the way, these are exercises based on stuff I've always wanted to try but was too
         chicken or too afraid I'd write a terrible story. I've written a lot of terrible stories, though,
         so I know there are still more to come. More on the new exercise parameter when I get
         ready to start it. This week, I devote to S&S stories though.
         Last night, I stayed up *way* too late to finish Susan Matthews's Hour of Judgment. Susan
         Matthews's work is quite haunting and compelling. She doesn't pull back from the rough
         stuff either. I really admire that. I tend to wimp out, so I'm always impressed by
         Matthews's ability to show the good and bad. I plan to start Steve Leigh's new book next.


         Update: Woo! The first draft of Still- Life is done! At a meaty 5250 words, too. What a relief.
         I false started on this one last weekend and scrapped most of the characters and well, the
         story. Started fresh yesterday. I'll probably be able to cut this version a bit. I need to get
         back to my S&S stories though. Think I'll take a break and reward myself with a little
         reading. Susan Matthews's latest book, Hour of Judgment is pretty intriguing. I just love
         AvonEos books! Wow, is this day's entry huge or what?
         It's been a pretty good couple of days at the keyboard. Nothing earth- shattering, no
         Nebula winning stories written or anything, but just a steady pace on a new story. I find
         the character interesting and the restrictions of his POV a challenge. I've tossed out quite a
         few story titles lately on these pages and hope to eventually finish those stories. For now,
         Still- Life in Indigo is humming along. It's going to be a long story, for me anyway. I'm about
         3300 words into the story and probably have at least another 2k to go, perhaps more. And
         ya know what? I'm going to try and finish this story tonight. It's moving, it's approaching
         the middle of the story. No excuse not to finish it.
         Being the computer geek that I am, I put together an ideas database today and imported it
         into to my main submissions database (ooh, I even put in an idea and everything). It's in
         Access, a program that I find fascinating. I only have Access 2.0 at home, but can't wait to
         pick up a newer version. It works fine under Win '95 though (even if it isn't Y2K
         compliant). Whenever I get a story idea, I'm going to do some cursory development on the
         idea (character, context, problem) and file it. Then when I'm ready to work on the ideas, I
         can tag them and print them. :)
         I've also been developing a new writing plan (yeah, we, Taureans are habitual planners --
         even if we don't always stick to those plans, we love to make 'em). I'm bound and
         determined to learn more about my craft and make some forward movement. So, most of
         my stories will be experiments, exercises, learning experiences. I don't want to write safe
         anymore. No more safety nets. I will write to learn, but with the caveat that it will be
         something that moves me in some way. The story I'm currently working on is an exercise.
         Hey, and you know what, it's fun! The POV character is blind and the story is first person
         present, so there are no sight details for me to rely on. I've got to tell the story with my
         other senses. I think it's time I stop worrying about failing and concentrate more on
         learning. While still having fun, of course. But, if I find Microsoft Access fun, you know
         my sense of fun's a little off to start with. ;> So what if I fall flat on my face with the next
         few stories I write. So what! Every story teaches me something about my craft and
         eventually, my craft will reach the next level (whatever that is). So, back to the story. Wish
         me luck!


         Congratulations to Jenn Coleman-Reese for her acceptance to Clarion East this summer!
         Way to go, Jenn! Wish I was going with you!
         Got my contributor's copy of Cemetery Sonata! Very, very nice work by Chameleon
         Publishing. The volume is supposed to be available in a couple of months or so through


         Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I'm wearing my green and my claddagh in honor of my ancestors
         today. :)
         Happy Anniversary to Ron and Lisa Collins!
         Okay, after reading Jenn and Tamela's entries about Starbuck, I've gotta fess up...I was
         *madly*, *madly* in love with Starbuck!! I had posters of him all over my wall and was a
         total geek about Battlestar Galactica. Starbuck was my first crush. :> My parents got so
         tired of hearing about BG and Starbuck. :) I really liked Han Solo, too, but I was nuts about
         Starbuck. :) :) [But Harrison Ford is like fine wine -- that man just gets better and better.
         *sigh* :>] My friends and I even wrote fan fiction about BG. (yeah, now I'm really fessin'
         up...I'm a total geek. I love to play computer games, too, but what do you expect from a
         computer tech, huh? ;>) It was my first time writing for an audience, too. It was really cool
         when people would pester me for the latest volume of my goofy, Battlestar fan fiction.
         Anyway, reading Jenn's post about Star Wars and Starbuck brought back fond memories.
         Congratulations to Diana on her new dog, Zeus!
         Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee for her sale to Tales of the Unanticipated!
         Congratulations to Amy Sterling Casil for her sale to Zoetrope!
         Congratulations to David Coe and his wife on the birth of their daughter, Erin Jacqueline,
         who was born March 15th!
         Congratulations to anyone else I missed...whew!
         Still struggling to finish a story. Ugh! I don't know what's the matter with me. It's just such
         a struggle to put the words on the page. I've got some new angles on Still-Life in Indigo, so I
         plan to work on it tonight along with my S&S story. Norman Mailer says that "Writer's
         Block is a failure of the ego." I don't feel blocked exactly, just unexcited about the ideas or
         shreds of ideas that I'm tossing around. One of those "my ideas are stupid" moods. I've
         always liked that Mailer quote. As a writer (heck, as a person), I have to believe in my
         ability to accomplish what I set out to do. So, I have to believe in my work and my skill to
         complete it. I don't have to have a swell head about my abilities (heh, no danger there), but I
         do have to have confidence in my work, inner confidence rather than that dreaded, evil
         monster -- EXTERNAL VALIDATION. For me, confidence is always a boat receding on
         the horizon. Sometimes, I get close enough to almost touch it, but then it floats away and
         I'm trying to catch it again. And sometimes, I forget that I'm already in a boat and that
         maybe I don't need to catch that other boat. Sorry, I'm being weird, today. (wow, just
         today?) ;) But I've got a new angle on one of my story attempts, so ego or not, I'm going to
         give it my best shot. Heck, that's what Starbuck would have done. Have a good day.


         Got the first scene of a new story written tonight. False-started on two others. I kept one
         and deleted the other. The S&S story is moving forward at a nice clip, so I'm working with
         that one at the moment. Some fun stuff happened that I wasn't expecting, so that was a nice
         surprise. :) Need a new angle on Still-Life, I think. The main character did a weird shift on
         me that I need to think about for a day or two. The S&S story doesn't yet have a title. As
         soon as this one is complete, I need to come up with a 2k twist story for S&S and I'll be
         ready to go with four stories.
         Still have Eventide in the CD player. It's nice... :)
         Watched some of the NCAA games tonight. See, I'm from Indiana (please note that I'm not
         a hoosier :> no offense to IU, but I just don't like the term 'hoosier'), so it's genetic that I
         like basketball. I just like to watch college Bball though. Purdue managed to upset second
         seed, Miami (woo!). Not sure how long the dance will last, but we'll have fun with it while
         the music's playing. Purdue women are the number one seed, so they're doing great even
         if their game wasn't televised. :P
         I've heard that the anthology, Cemetery Sonata is out. My story, When Sparrows Fall
         appears in this anthology. I haven't seen the book yet and couldn't find it in Amazon
         either. Hopefully, it'll appear soon.
         Made my hotel reservations for the San Juans this weekend. Yesss!! I can't wait. Patricia
         Duffy Novak and her family are going to meet my mom and me in the islands (in July).
         We'll have a great time! I get to show off the whales and the lighthouse and a hundred
         different things!


         Nothing to report tonight. I just decided to post a couple of pictures of my precious little
         persian. Hope you like them.


         Inspiration is such an odd process. As most writers probably do, I pick up snippets of
         conversations, little misty phrases that I blatantly take out of context, and strange facts and
         file them in the back of my brain. These items lie dormant, waiting for another one to
         collide with it and combust into an idea. Or sometimes, it's just quietly knitting two loops
         into one. In either case, something comes together and a story presents itself. Quiet or
         wild, I love that moment of completeness that sparks that drug-like excitement to capture
         that completeness on the screen. Or portray as accurate a depiction as I'm capable of
         rendering. Granted, I don't wait for this to happen when I write, but those rare, wonderful
         moments when that collision occurs are the moments I live for as a writer.


         And it's the oddest things that sometimes makes these connections. My beautiful little
         persian, Seville, brought the latest connection to me a couple of nights ago. Not sure why,
         but she did. I don't know what I'd do without her. I can't wait to get started on my new
         story! Hopefully tonight. Working title is Still-Life in Indigo and I hope I can finish it. The
         story I finished this week was a good exercise to get me back writing again, so I hope I can
         do this idea justice. I've been letting it percolate for a couple of days. Hope it turns out!
         I'm listening to a really neat CD right now -- Eventide by Grey Eye Glances. It's a bit
         different, but the more I play it, the more intricate it becomes. And I love Jewel's new CD,
         Spirit. Wow... I admit it, I'm a CD junkie. Music is such an integral part of my life. I've
         always got something playing through the computer, in the car, or in the jambox. I've got a
         boatload of CDs and can't help myself when I pass a music store. With the CDs, books,
         mochas, diet coke, and croissants, Barnes & Noble is paradise. If I could bring my cat with
         me, I'd never leave the place. :) Yes, I was there tonight and picked up Susan Matthews'
         latest, Hour of Judgment, and the new Discover Magazine.
         Today's mail brought my first rejection of 1999. A very friendly, 19-day response from
         Pulp Eternity. Maybe next time, I'll wear him down.


         I wrote a new story this week! It's pretty awful, but the important thing is that I completed
         something. I haven't been able to complete anything for a couple of months. Most of the
         time, I splattered words onto the screen and deleted them minutes later. I made myself
         finish this story. And my idea machine (aka the shower) gave me a really cool S&S story
         idea (to me, anyway), so I plan to work on that this weekend. So, I should have my four
         stories ready to go by the start of the submission window.
         I plan to get another one of my novels kicked out the door soon. I've been putting off the
         rewrite forever and ever, but I've decided that I will complete it this month.
         Spent the past few days rewriting a couple of old stories with new ideas. One I completely
         tore up and put back together again. I think it finally works. Hope so.
         Regarding the "unable to read as a pure reader" discussion -- I love to read. It's what
         brought me to writing. Not because I could do it better or was trying to do it better, but
         because I wanted to dream up my own worlds like the writers of the books I'd read. I had
         stories I wanted to tell, too. Ironically, I'm pickier about movies because I'm seeing an
         event more closely through someone else's eyes. But a book -- I can fill in details that I
         want to supply, flesh out characters a bit more, heck -- even rearrange the furniture a bit if
         I like the story. I haven't reached the point where I can't read anymore. I can still transport
         myself away if the book is well-written or moving. Heck, I can give you a huge, long list of
         books that transported and mesmerized me -- all of them written in the past 10 years. All
         of those stories had characters I cared about or were fascinated by. Sometimes, I read to
         understand a story, take it apart and see what makes it tick -- but that's on the second read.
         That first read is precious and it's all mine. Even as a writer, I usually can't read a story as
         a writer on the first pass -- unless I don't like the characters or there are glaring errors.
         Most of the time, it has to be on the second pass. Granted, that first read isn't quite as
         magical as it was when I was a kid, but it's still intact. I hope I never lose that first read.
         Sometimes though, when the characters really move me, it's like taking that first sip of
         Dandelion Wine all over again.




         Happy Birthday to my brother Jeff! Enjoy those poker chips, dude. I hope to take your
         money with them real soon. ;)


         Hugs to Erin Cashier on the loss of her grandfather. My deepest sympathies, Erin.
         All day today, I've been touching on ideas for a project that's really staying in my
         thoughts. I had to run a bunch of errands today, but had difficulty keeping my mind on
         the tasks at hand because ideas just kept stealing my focus. Yeah! Gotta love it when that
         We had some intense, beautiful thunderstorms today. They were magnificent. Everyone
         huddled in the entryway of Barnes & Noble while the rain fell in sheets (okay, so I made a
         detour from my errands -- had to feed my obsessions with a mocha, a CD, and a book.) I
         couldn't wait to get out the door. I got soaked -- the puddles were too inviting.
         I am pleased to finally put some good news here -- to balance the Triumphs part of this
         page that have been a bit scarce. I bought a new car yesterday! This has been an ongoing
         search over the past two months fraught with setbacks and difficulties, but I finally signed
         the papers on Friday. I was supposed to pick up the car this morning, but Things(tm)
         happen (paperwork goof -- won't be fixed until Monday). So, I can now pick it up on
         Monday. It's a green, 1999 Mercury Cougar. But being the sentimental sap that I am, I feel
         badly about parting with my little red Saturn. It's been a great little car and I've loved my
         seven years in it. I confess, I'm going to be a bit choked up when I have to leave it behind
         on Monday. Change is always bittersweet. My little red Saturn is going to a new owner
         who is very happy to get the car, so I feel good about that. I'm such a sap.
         A CD recommendation: Shadow on the Moon by Blackmore's Night. It's a medieval, celtic,
         traditional sort of sound -- a little misty and very enjoyable.


         I didn't think I was going to put this thing back up, but here I find myself wandering back
         into this page.  Probably more for myself, of making sense of things, than any other
         reason.  When I put this page on hiatus for a bit, I had no idea that the whole website was
         going to go *poof*!  Guess it was the universe's way of telling me I needed a change of
         scenery. And so I have rewritten much of my website from a collection of old, outdated
         files (my own fault, of course). But some things stayed the same. Since, to me, my writing
         journey has always been a mixture of triumphs & tribulations, I decided to retain this logo
         and the structure of this page.  So . . . welcome to my new website. It has been hastily
         copied into my newly reincarnated account, so please bear with me for a week or two
         while I iron out the broken links. I confess, I have felt strangely out-of-sorts without my
         webpage. I had no idea how truly personal and connected I felt to it until it disappeared
         without a trace. It was an odd feeling of isolation that felt very different from stepping
         Thanks to everyone for their support over these past couple of months. I very much
         appreciate your emails and cards.  It's been a real watershed for me and I hope March will
         bring better things. I am starting to feel more like myself again.  So, with this page, I am
         lighting a candle in honor of my brave little kitty and starting off my new website with a
         new TnT entry -- just a few days shy of March. Everything, as it always does, has come
         full circle. Welcome.