It's been quite a busy week! Just haven't had a chance to update here.  Until today. :) I can't believe that Monday it will be July already.  Since coming home from the PNW, I've been having a terrible time adjusting my internal clock. I've overslept for about 7 days in row, including yesterday.  Today was much better, so I hope to be back to my own time zone by tomorrow. :) I know that sounds weird, since Washington State is only 2 hours behind me, but it's really been difficult this time.

      In writing news: I sold my short story Safe as the Dark to an anthology entitled switch.blade.  (cool name, huh?) This anthology will soon appear on Fictionwise. It was nice to finally place this story. :)  Also, I was invited to submit a story to a (most likely) small press anthology. No details yet.  I'm currently working through some ideas for a suitable story.  It's amazing, in the last week, I've come up with something like 6 short story ideas. I'm SO relieved because my brain has been devoid of any decent ideas. I was beginning to think I'd lost my mojo. Anyway, I've written all of these ideas down and will work on them ASAP.  First priority though is the anthology. Gotta get to work! I love the sound of that. :)

      Seal Story:  It started out filming tide pools.  I crawled down the rocks to the water's edge, looking for tide pools. Some were small, with only little water bugs and seaweed, but others were large with little fish and tiny crabs skittering into crevices. 

      As I took stills and MPEGs of these pools, I had the strange sensation of being watched. Finally, I turned my head to the water.  There was Floyd staring at me with large, sweet beagle-like eyes. I was close enough to see his whiskers.  Our gazes met and he looked at me with the same excited curiosity that must have been on my face. For several long seconds I stared into his bright eyes, forgetting entirely about the camera around my neck. But the moment my gaze flicked away from his, he shook his head and deftly porpoised under the water.  My camera caught a brief glimpse of his silvery gray, spotted body as it slid underneath the kelp. But that wasn't the end of Floyd.  So, I crawled over more rocks, trying to locate Floyd. Then I heard someone say, "Look, orcas!"

      Let's pause for a second to reflect on rock climbing safety. Rule 1:  Don't run. Rule 2:  Don't be in a hurry.  Rule 3: Don't take your eyes off the rocks. Why? Because they're sneaky and they move! :) Doesn't matter how great your shoes or your balance is if you don't look where you're going.  Okay, let's review: Don't run. Don't be in a hurry. Don't take your eyes off the rocks. 

      So, what did *I* do? I ran, of course.  I was in a hurry and I took my eyes off the rocks.  Result: I fell on my -- well, you get the idea.  I took a nasty tumble, tore a hole in the knee of my jeans (and my knee) and ripped open my left hand. But it was all worth it, you see, because I was right at the shore line when the orcas came past the lighthouse.  They were so close to me I could almost reach out and touch them.  And in the bay beside me, several of the orcas breached.  And to sweeten the deal, it was a superpod that came past:  J-pod, K-pod, and L-pod.  That was the closest I'd ever been to the orcas and if I could have stepped into the water, I would have. Remember that camera around my neck (it survived the fall because it was in its case)? Nah, neither did I.  I'll never be a good photographer for that reason. When it comes to experiencing something or filming it, the experience usually wins out.  I hope to post some wonderful pictures of sunsets very soon, but for now, here's a nice picture of an orca framed by the Olympic mountains.  I still want to share my story about meeting Jody Bergsma with you. If you've never seen her work, follow the link to her website to see her dreamy and inspiring artwork.  I'll save that story for next time.  This entry is already HUGE!

      Have a great afternoon!


      I'm baa-ack.....had a wonderful time. :) :) :) This trip, I went out to do some serious thinking and soul searching.  Being a very inward person, I won't go into most of it here. But the writing aspects, I will because I had some pretty incredible moments in the islands.  I always seem to find my way at the lighthouse. People have a way of bringing me the answers to my questions in odd and strange ways. 

      This trip, I was sitting on the rocks beside the lighthouse, looking for Floyd the resident seal (to photograph) and some answers about my writing dilemmas. (Anybody who has read this journal for a while has probably seen many of my writing turmoils surface here -- especially these last two years or so.) There are usually a handful of people who come out for the lighthouse sunsets and occasionally, we talk to each other. Sometimes, the people are residents, but many times, they are visitors like me.  Anyway, I'm watching the sunset and the porpoises play in the strait when I notice three people standing near me.  Two men and a woman. We remark about how incredible the sunset is and how playful the porpoises are tonight.  We talk a little more -- where are you from, what do you do. Two of these people had come out to the islands on a 60-day cross-country motorcycle trip.(!)  Can you imagine?  I was amazed. They told us about some of the places they'd visited.  My mom told them I was a writer and one of the men asked me what genre.  I told him SF/F.  He told me that he was an avid reader and that SF/F was his genre. As the porpoises played in the golden hour and Floyd drifted through the kelp, we talked about our favorite books. It was all very surreal given the setting. :)  But, the man finally rose and started to leave, but turned back to me and said.  "As a woman, you can never push hard enough, you know.  Keep at it and you'll make it."

      I didn't even know his name and our conversation never slid past favorite books, yet he said *exactly* what I needed to hear.  Over the next few days, this became my theme.  I actually talked about writing several times to people.  To a poet who worked in the harbor bookstore.  He taught me that yes, you can burn yourself out if you force too much too often while trying to write the "perfect" story. He also reminded me that writing in the evenings and writing in the mornings can produce some very different results. Fresh from the dream state, I may write very differently in the morning than at the end of the day when my work may take on more intense or reflective moods.  Is it better to write in the morning or the evening? A rhetorical question really since every person's experiences, perspectives, and mindsets are so different.  So, I'll answer it according to Schrodinger:  Yes, it is. :)  If you're a morning writer, try writing something in the evening and vice versa. See a different side of your writing.  I told this poet about the Dare to Be Bad and that it was a good exercise to stretch your muscles and practice your craft.  DtBB seemed to strike a chord for him, so I was glad.

      I spoke with a chef whose passion is cooking.  When she isn't working at a quaint little restaurant just off the main street, she is learning new recipes, reading cookbooks, watching the food network. Her passion was evident in her food, too.  Rich, colorful and unusual dishes made from familiar tastes. The kitchen was hot and the tables were full, but her face glowed when she talked about a cookbook that she wanted to write. I told her she should keep following her passion and write the cookbook.  I pointed her toward some resources and wished her luck.  She came to the islands to pursue her passion of cooking. Yes, it was a small restaurant that seated maybe a dozen or so people, and yes, it wasn't a restaurant that would probably win awards and recognition, but she was content because it was HER restaurant.  And the small restaurant fed her passion for cooking and satisfied the people who ate there and came back for more. She wasn't trying for the cover of Gourmet magazine or a teaching position at the Cordon Bleu.  She only wanted to share her passion for cooking with people who loved to eat and those who didn't know how to cook.  She was very happy AND she was living her dream.  I was so struck by the fact that she was living the life she'd dreamed about. She lived in the islands and she was cooking!  And she had the guts to go out there and make it happen. She had the guts to hang out her Chef's shingle and jump into it with both feet. She didn't wait until she'd learned everything she could about cooking or until she had enough money or time or courage. She just went out there and did it.  I don't know how many times she fell on her face or what she had to do to get there. I just saw the courage and the contentment that come from living your dream. So, my message from the universe is "you're not pushing hard enough. keep pushing."

      And I haven't even gotten to the orcas yet or my surprise meeting of one of my favorite artists: Jody Bergsma (we talked a bit about creative process.) :)  I've got more cool pictures to post and more stories. But I'll save those for later.

      Have a great day!

      ps -- Big Congratulations to Mary Soon Lee who made her first sale to Analog!  She'd been trying for quite some time to sell there, too.  Way to go, Mary!


      Got a rejection from Cicada yesterday. The story went back out in the mail today along with the new story, Proximal Distance.  I've been experiencing disturbing bouts of waking up early on the weekends (or days off like today), so I was able to get both stories out in today's mail. Today was my first official day of vacation. Have to get up at 5:00 am tomorrow (ick). I just hope our flights are on time and safe.  I always hate the night before a vacation because I always have pre-travel anxiety and I worry about my kitties.  We've done our best to Murphy-proof our house.  Murphy will be 5 months old next week and he's nearly 7 lbs (gasp!).  He's so playful and kind of clumsy, too, so we've had to put things away that he can topple/break, etc..  He's going to really miss us. He loves being held and having people around.  Seville is always so sad when I leave her.  She'll be fine though.  She's got plenty of people to look in on her and she's in her own space.

      Talk to you soon!  And hopefully I'll have awesome orca whale pictures and some fun stories, too.


      I just finished my rewrite of Proximal Distance.  I may just get this puppy sent out by Friday. Still not sure where I'll focus my attention past this rewrite.

      My creative well is so, so dry that my idea of being creative right now is rearranging my sock drawer. The past few years of waiting for responses to novels that never arrive and uncertainty about where to go from here have been a bit much.  This month marks my tenth year at this writing thing and the dream of becoming a novelist is still frustratingly out of my reach. When you're first starting out in this business, it's about the writing and only the writing.  You send the stories out and when they come back, you send them out again. But after you've made those first three professional sales, things get weird.  Then you have to deal with this thing called "career." What?  Who me? But I'm just a writer. I write stories. I have a career? Your focus changes.  You try to hit markets that may get your work noticed by editors and agents.  Why?  Because you want to sell novels. (so you're writing short fiction? -- that's a whole 'nother can of worms.)  After a while, you start to wonder what you're doing and why.  At least that's how I feel as a writer right now. Like Sisyphus rolling his rock up and down the hill. Up and down. Up and down. Finally, one of the gods touches him on the shoulder and says, "Dude, relax.  You've done enough.  Now, wait here." But Sisyphus has been rolling this rock up and down the hill for EONS.  He can't just wait there.  He's got rocks to roll, hills to cover. Wait here????  That's -- that's TORTURE!!! Welcome to phase two, Sisyphus ol' buddy. :)

      Time to replenish the well.  And what better place than the Pacific Northwest. :)  It's soon.  Very, very soon. :)

      Have a good evening!


      This week, I've been playing around with some random story ideas, trying to fit things together in intriguing ways.  Haven't made any sparks yet, but I am getting the urge to return the world of my first fantasy novel.  Kier (one of the main characters) has been on my mind this week and he's still got a lot of story to tell. I may need to crack open the hideous first draft of book two and see what I can see.  I may just chuck that draft and start from scratch, since it's so old.

      In other news, my short story, Rena 733 went up on Fictionwise this week! This is a very special story to me.  From this short story sprang an entire trilogy.  And to my delight, Rena 733 has already sold more than my other stories on Fictionwise. In fact, (although, I confess it makes me nervous) I found out today that Loqui SF has selected my story for their discussion group this week. I'm flattered that out of all the short fiction they could have chosen, they selected one of my stories. Me, an unknown writer. Kinda cool, huh? :)

      My goal for this week is to complete another pass through Proximal Distance and get it ready to submit before I leave next Friday.  Not sure that I'll succeed, but it's worth a try.

      Have a good evening.


      I've spent the last few nights revising Proximal Distance. I've got a good deal of the major rewrite stuff done, now I need to read through it again and tie up a couple of things I skipped.  My brain was full.  I couldn't process the rest.  I'm taking a break from it tonight. I'm going to let it cool off and hit it again tomorrow night.

      I'm still struggling with the "where do I go from here?" question. I ran into a nasty snag with Heirlooms, so I'm going to set it on the back burner for a bit and see if it molds or sets. I don't have any other burning ideas in the coffer right now.  Frankly, I feel a little burned out. I want to enjoy what I'm writing and right now, I'm not. So, the best cure for that is to find something that does interest me.  (boy, do I sound like a procrastinator, or what? :>)  Maybe I just need to explore a few more possibilities on Heirlooms? Maybe I just need to read a good book? Or rewrite book 2 of my fantasy trilogy (still under consideration) or book 3 of my sf trilogy. The idea of immersing myself in either of these two worlds again excites me.

      In a couple of weeks, my mom and I are leaving for the pacific northwest.  All three resident orca pods have returned. I can't wait to see them!  Especially through the eye of my new Sony Cybershot.  I'm a hack photographer, but I love capturing these familiar places on film (or in this case, memory stick). And I get to hang out with my good friend, Patricia Duffy Novak whom I haven't seen in person for a very long time.  Can't wait to see her and her family again! This trip, I plan to drive up to Bellingham and visit the gallery of one of my favorite artists:  Jody Bergsma. I have two or three of herprints hanging on my walls. Looking forward to ferry rides, microbrewed beer, and sunsets over Haro Strait.

      Have a good evening!



      Wow, what a slug I've been!  I didn't realize it had been over two weeks since I've had an entry.  I've been working some on the new story, but after some very helpful comments, I hope to get on to a second draft of Proximal Distance. Much work to do there.  Haven't taken the plunge yet though.  I'm hoping to get some solid work done this weekend on the story.

      I have a total of six reprints available on Fictionwise now. So far, I've been extremely pleased with my Fictionwise experience.  It's been nerve-wracking and fun at the same time. :)

      Looks like I will be attending InConJunction this year.  I haven't been to this convention in a couple of years, so I'm looking forward to it. Especially since several cast members from Battlestar Galactica will also be guests!! :) I just loved this show.  So if you're going to be at InConJunction this year, be sure to say hi. (Fred)

      I've found an open anthology or two that look interesting, so I hope to submit to those. Gotta get this writing stuff in order. :)

      Have a good evening!


      Happy Birthday to Ron Collins!!  Hope it was a great day, Ron. :)

      Heirlooms struggled for words tonight.  I've got a little snag in the plot that I'm trying to fix, so tonight's word count is actually a negative. But at least I know what doesn't work. :)  Theme vs. plot, I guess, so I've got some more analysis to do.  I plan to majorly impact my word count tomorrow night. I *really* want to complete a rough draft by Sunday.

      In the near future, I will be doing a little domain name reshuffling.  The domain name I originally wanted has finally become available. Plus, I want to do some .asp stuff on my site. And...I'm really bored with my website.  I want to do something more creative with the whole deal. What that look will be, I don't have a clue, but I'd like to deliver some of my content out of a database which would make updating a little smoother and more current.

      Have a good evening!


      Did more research tonight for the plotline of the new story. I needed a bit more information before I started Heirlooms.  After I found what I needed, I tossed down some thoughts and then wrote an opening.  I'm really excited about the idea for this story and want to do a good job with it.  I think it's got good market potential, if I tell it right. Sometimes that's the hardest part about a story.  Finding the right POV and the best angle from which to tell it. I think that I'll probably have to go through a few iterations of this one before I get it right. Mainly because I'm thinking through a lot of the details and events as I'm writing. This one isn't complete in my head yet, but sometimes that's the fun of writing, discovering the "missing" parts of the story.

      So, I have a decent start on this one and hopefully, I'll make some solid progress on it tomorrow evening.

      Have a good evening!


      I just learned that my first story has appeared on Fictionwise!  The story is called The Essence of Place.  I was very pleased and a little nervous to see my fiction go up on the site.  See, all writers have to have some aspect of the business to fret over.  One day it's rejections, the next day it's endings, the next day it's royalties, and -- well, you get the idea. This week it's reprints and rewriting. My buds Vera Nazarian and Ron Collins both have new stories on Fictionwise this week, too, so check them out if you're interested.

      Tonight, I decided that the ending of Proximal Distance needed a little tightening and clarification, so I spent time this evening polishing the ending.  I think I've fixed as much as I can see in the story. Will need another pair of eyes or two to uncover the rest of the issues.

      Also tonight, I continued brainstorming for my next short story, tentatively titled Heirlooms.  I think I've hit upon the hook I was looking for. I have a character in a context with a problem.  Before I go to bed tonight, I'll probably nail down a rough opening scene to get the story started.  I love those Ah Ha moments when you know you've got a story.  Like discovering you still know how to inline skate.  I hope this one lives up to my expectations (and doesn't hyper-extend my thumbs or something like my last inline skate experience -- hey, those Natural keyboards REALLY use those thumbs). Anyway, I hope to have some sort of rough draft of this story done by the weekend.

      Have a good evening!


      Did a 5% scrub on Proximal Distance tonight, cutting about 5% of the verbage.  As I did this trim, I went through and analyzed my story's opening and by taking a hard look at this story, I noticed some patterns/habits in my work and how I approached a short story. 

      And they weren't good habits. 

      I read through the first 3 pages, looking at theme and what I was really trying to say.  Was I saying it?  Was I repeating it?   I found myself unconsciously doing things that really bugged me.  I tossed down the pages.  I can do better than this!  So I set out to correct them.   I realized that in some of my short fiction (certain types of my stories) never began with a hook even though the prose and characterizations were good. So, I took another look. Yep, that was true.  And not only was that true, but I started my audience on a bloody tour before I got to my point. BORING!! Good grief -- I couldn't believe it when I saw that. It's not something I do every time, but enough that I noticed it was a pattern.  So I sliced up the first 2 pages, rearranged some sentences, deleted others, and added a few clarifying sentences.  It's not perfect, but it's a good start. The story gets on with itself much faster now. And I cut all the overkills of stating the same thing I am showing.  On some subconscious leve, I don't always trust myself to show my story through description, dialogue, and internal dialogue, so I state what I've just shown. Yuck!  I hate that.  I went through and tried to scrub out all of those mistakes.  The story lost about 300 words, so hopefully it will read tighter and faster now.

      I also brainstormed some ideas for my next short story.  I've got a few ideas that are intriquing, but I think I need another piece of the story.  Hopefully I'll find that tomorrow night and can start turning out a new story.  I'm very closed to starting work on it though. No title yet, but the working title is Heirloom. The main character is still a little sketchy in my head, but the story's main threads are starting to tangle (a very good thing :>).

      Have a good evening!


      Woohoo!! This puppy's done!!  I *just* finished Proximal Distance.  The story weighs in at a hefty 7100 words.  Much longer than I'd anticipated, too. Need to do a bit of trimming.  And I need to take one more look at the ending. I'll let it set for a couple of days and then make another pass through it this weekend. Always a good feeling to finish a story!

      Got responses on two queries this week.  Novel #3 is still under consideration, but just knowing that they have it was a relief.  One of my short stories got lost though, so I had to resubmit it. Bleh.

      This weekend, I plan to hammer out some new short story ideas and start working on another new story.  If I get some solid work done on a short story, I might wander back into my unfinished novel, Listening for the Sound. I think it's time I started turning out a lot more new work than I have been.

      Have a good evening!


      I *finally* finished proofing the last batch of galleys from Fictionwise.  In May, my first few stories should appear. Now that that's out of the way, I can finally finish one of the stories I've been working on this past week.  I'm down to the final scene in the story.  This is a story called Proximal Distance. I'm *almost* happy with the story, but not quite.  I need to think through Serio's POV one more time as I write this last scene.  And I'm thinking that I'll need to add a scene with Serio and his brothers right before this final scene.  And....doesn't it just figure...I decide that I'm going to write more short fiction and I think of a stupid novel idea.  ggggggrrrrrr. I haven't had a good, full-blown novel idea for a long time. This one is in its very, very infant stages though, so for now, I'm going to drop it into my idea file and let it percolate a while.  It needs more to the idea, I think.  One idea + one idea = one story for me, so maybe it'll leave me alone long enough to get some solid short work out there again.

      Sent out two more queries this week. So far, I'm two for two this month.  Both previous queries to book publishers were responded to quickly and with "the manuscript is still under consideration." It's better than an, "Oh, that one?  Do you *have* to have it back?  It's the perfect height for my plant stand."

      And this weekend, I started thinking about my pre 9-11 novel that was abandoned at 60K.  I think enough time has passed that I can touch this manuscript again without a rush of emotion.  My plan is to work on it when I've made good progress/finished some short work.

      That's all for now.  Have a good evening!


      It's been longer than I realized.  This week, I'm working on galleys from Fictionwise and a short story that was about 90% finished before I got sick.  Actually, I'm glad that I let the story set because I was getting that "this is a stupid story - what was I thinking" feeling as I approached the final scene. After revisiting this story, I think it's pretty good. Just need to write that last scene. I got the first part of the scene written tonight. And I know where the story has to go from here.  It's much clearer now, so the time away gave me some excellent perspective.  This story feels very mainstream despite its far future setting. Y'know, I never had a problem with the technology or the magic being integral to my plots, but some of the things I've written lately...I have to stop and analyze whether the story is really SF/F or whether I'm trying to force mainstream stories into SF/F. I'm not sure why this has suddenly become a writing issue for me.  I think I need to rekindle my own inner sense of wonder. I've had too much reality lately and that's never a good thing. :) I'm really glad that my Pacific Northwest trip is drawing near.  For me, there's such a magical force there. In the simple things like watching the sunset at the lighthouse or walking among the driftwood at South Beach.  Following the winding trails through Madronas, Cedars and Douglas Firs.  Sipping microbrewed ale as I watch the ferry arrive.  I always miss this place when I leave and every time I step off that ferry, I feel like I've come home. That's the inner sense of wonder that I'm after and that quiet wonder is what I want to capture in my fiction. Okay, so maybe I'm not so surprised by the mainstream aspects. Maybe I just need to tell the story first and worry about the rest of that other stuff later?

      Murphy has springs on his feet.  I'm convinced.  His father's name is Tigger, so I shouldn't be surprised by this. :)  He is driving my adult cats bonkers, but Bailey is slowly warming up to the little guy.  Sometimes, Murphy is just plain crazed. But he's doing well and is very loving and sweet.  Until he has to play-attack the item nearest his paws.  Kittens!  Gotta love 'em. ;)

      Have a good evening.


      Busy past few days.  We got home about 11 pm Saturday night with Murphy. He was a perfect angel throughout that long trip.  I was very impressed with how such a little kitten handled the long drive.  Needless to say, I was a slug on Sunday and did as little as possible. Yesterday was another busy day.  My adult cats are handling the little invader as best they can. Seville, of course, hates him and wants nothing to do with him as she has treated every cat to arrive after her. Peanut Butter and Tokina have accepted him fairly well.  The big surprise was Bailey's behavior. He really, really dislikes the kitten. It's only been a few days, so I'm hoping that Bailey will come around soon. He hasn't been aggressive, but he really doesn't like Murphy. Murphy has been on his best behavior though and doesn't jump on the other cats or do any of the other annoying kitten behaviors. I'm grateful for that.

      In writing news, I received a response to a query on one of my novel submissions.  After a year, it's still under consideration, according to the editor. At least they answer, but honestly, I'm so, so frustrated at the lack of responses to solicited manuscripts. I've had very good luck with editors asking to see full manuscripts, but after that point, I rarely get a response.  Queries go unanswered. It's so frustrating! Wish I had an agent, then I wouldn't be in limbo like I have these past three years. If I withdraw my manuscript, then I have to start over with another editor and another query or partial. And if they ask for my manuscript, it's the kiss of death because that means I'll have to wait forever and never get a response from another publisher. I've wasted so much energy and postage on novel submissions that never get read. I could understand if the manuscripts were unsolicited submissions, but when they ask for a manuscript, why can't they just respond instead of ignoring my queries/the book forever.  I'm an extremely patient person and I can wait a very long time, but when there's never even a response... Why do they ask for the manuscript when they are never going to actually look it or respond? My patience has run out. 

      Even in the short story markets, you submit something and then have to wait 7 months for a response, wondering if it's under consideration, if it's even been looked at, or if it's just lost.  I feel like I'm watching my whole life slip past my window while I sit at my desk waiting for responses.  Since I was 6 years old, I've dreamed of becoming a novelist and every time there is a sliver of hope, it disintegrates into endless, endless waiting. That just really stinks.

      On a brighter note, I received my contracts for Beyond the Last Star.  I'd forgotten what a contract looked like, so it was nice to see one for a change.

      I'll leave you with some new pictures of Murphy:


      Tomorrow is the big day! I'm off to Kansas to pick up Murphy! :) :) And I've also got 6 days of downtime from work ahead of me, another bonus considering all the budget crap is going on and all the last minute reports and stuff I've had to write.  But the urgent ones are done and I'm getting in my car and driving west. If I had my other cats and my computer in the car, I think I might just keep driving.

      I should have new photos of Murphy to post this weekend -- taken by me with my camera in my house. I've waited over a year for this moment.  It will be good to have a Maine Coon in my house again.

      When I get back, I intend to finish the bit of Rendered in Wild Blue and then I want to return to my novel, Listening for the Sound.

      Have a good evening!


      Sunday night, my computer went belly up. No network connection, error messages all over the place.  I've spent the past three days fixing it, too. :P  I had to format my C: partition and finally got rid of the POS Windows ME.  Bleh!!  I'm so glad it's gone.  I installed Windows XP Professional and reinstalled the essentials. Had a problem with my sound card not working and my printer.  Both were easy fixes though.  Just took a little experimentation to get them running again. Finally got my web developer software reloaded tonight, too, so I could update my webpage.  I currently use NetObjects Fusion 4.0 to create my website, but with the new web standards, I'll have to switch to something else very soon.  Most likely it'll be Macromedia Dreamweaver which I like very much. All my old cranky DOS software (okay, it's like two programs) works beautifully under XP.  So far, I'm already happier with XP than I was with ME.

      In a week, I get to go pick up Murphy!!! I can't wait!  I'm taking 4 days off from work, so this will be a nice mini vacation for me.

      Have a good evening!


      My dad had a mini-stroke last night. They have him scheduled for a CAT scan on Monday.  Lots of other unpleasantness going on in my family right now. Things are very sad. Sometimes, I wonder what I did to deserve all the bad stuff that keeps happening.

      On brighter note, I have a new Murphy picture. He's eight weeks old and he just gets cuter every week.  It won't be long until I pick him up now. At any rate, here he is:



      Tide Pools went out in this morning's mail!  Now I can forget about it for a little while. Tonight, I'm working on Rendered in Wild Blue.  I hope that I can finish this long-standing story soon and get it out the door. As far as my writing goes, I'm feeling a little stymied.  I feel like I'm at a crossroad of sorts, but I have no idea which way to go.  I've been waiting so long to hear back from publishers and there never seems to be an end to the waiting.  I'd sure love to have a sense of direction right now. Some people say just write and don't worry about it, but this never works for me.  I need to focus on something in the distance, but it has to be something that I can at least see. I crave a little forward movement, y'know? :)

      So...looking forward:  I want to start thinking about ideas for a novel. I'd like to write one this year. I need something else to send out and obsess over. ;)  I'm also looking forward to my Pacific Northwest trip in June.  My mom and I are meeting good friend, Patricia Duffy Novak and her family in the islands. We had a great time two years ago when Patricia and her family came out for a first visit. All of us had a wonderful time!  This year, I want to try and get up to Bellingham and visit the Jody Bergsma Gallery.  I've never been there, but Jody is one of my favorite artists and I'd really like to see her gallery.

      Time to go back to the present and work on that short story. Have a good evening!



      WOOHOO!!!  I just finished my draft of Tide Pools!! Wow, I thought it would take another day to finish.  The story weighs in at exactly 10k, too. Got some trimming to do. I'm going to let it set until the weekend and then see how I much I can cut it down. I think I finally understand what I've been trying to say with this story. Need to take one more look at my theme and see if it holds together throughout. I can't believe this story is almost ready to go out.  I wasn't sure if I'd have to retire this one or give it another go, but I think it's worth giving another go.

      Have a good evening!


      Work continues on Tide Pools.  I'm up to 9400 words now, more than I'd expected. I think this one will hit the 10k mark whether I like it or not.  I just started the last new scene I need to complete and it's a pinnacle scene. If all goes well, I'll finish it tomorrow night.  Then I need to brutalize this story and cut stuff that doesn't belong.  That may be tough so soon after finishing, so I may need to let it set for a few days and then cut it.

      Today is Query Day at Chez Silverthorne. I've decided that I'm tired of spending all my time waiting for answers that never come.  So, I'm going to see if I can hurry some along. If I let stuff sit, then shame on me.

      I'm currently listening to Alanis Morissette's new CD Under Rug Swept. It's good! It doesn't have the power of Jagged Little Pill, but I really like it.  My favorite songs so far So Unsexy and That Particular Time.  I just saw that one of my favorite groups, Grey Eye Glances is currently in the studio recording a new album -- can't wait for that one!

      And one final note:  Murphy is 7 weeks old today. :) In 3 weeks, I can pick him up. He's a 9-hour drive from here, so I get take a few days vacation to go get him.

      Have a good evening.


      I did more work on Tide Pools this weekend. I'm down to two scenes (both are new) that need to be added and I'll be finished.  Once I get it all down on paper, I'll need to go through and cut down the story a bit.  It's about 9000 words right now and will most likely end up at 9200 words before cutting.  I want to get it to 8500 words if I can.  This weekend, I spent quite a long time inside Melanie's head just trying to figure out how her father's death affected the rest of her life, trying to make sure I understand her mindset in the story. It's been several weeks since I've touched this story, so I had to get back into it.  At this point, I'm really starting to hate this story.  Mostly because I've been working on it since October and it feels like an anaconda that I can't seem to control.  I'm hoping that the work I did this weekend will finally bring this beast under control. Maybe I should just write this one off and move onto to the next story?  I guess I won't know until I'm done.  At least if I do throw it out, I'll understand why it's not working.

      Not sure what's next from here.  I had this plan I was going to act on and then I got sick.  Maybe that was the universe's way of telling me to revise? ;)

      Have a good evening!


      It's been quite a while since I've posted here.  Unfortunately, I've been ill, but I'm feeling better now. There's a long and short story here.  For now, it'll have to be the short story. :) I've been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder (only about 20,000 people in the US have this disorder). Over half my life, I've had symptoms, but nobody could put the pieces together.  Well, last week, someone did and I feel thoroughly vindicated.  Granted, I'm unnerved by the rarity of the disorder and what might be down the road, but to finally know what's wrong is a great comfort. So, in a strange way, I'm relieved.  It's not going to kill me, but it sure explains everything! Sorry, I'm being a little cryptic here.  It's all way too personal to talk candidly about here, but I wanted to explain my absence.  And now that I have some answers, I need to get on with my life. These past few weeks have been life-altering.  Like I said, I don't know what lies ahead from here, but understanding where I've already been can only make things clearer.

      Needless to say, I haven't written anything these past six weeks or so.  I've had a couple of short story rejections and I even signed a contract with Fictionwise for reprints. I think I will have something to say on paper now.

      In other news, I'm so excited to announce this, but I'm thrilled to introduce my new soon-to-arrive kitten....Murphy!  I get to pick him up one month from today!! :)  Isn't he outstanding? He's only 5 weeks old in this picture. :)  I'll be sure to update my page with new photos as I get them. Murphy is 6 weeks old today, but he won't be coming to Indiana until he's 10 weeks old. I've waited a year for this little guy.  He's a fine tribute to my beloved Marshall kitty.



      For Christmas, I got some DVDs.  One of them was Moulin Rouge. Now, a friend of mine, married to a certain SF writer I know (/r/o/n/ /c/o/l/l/i/n/s), claims this film is the best film in the world. Period.  I was skeptical.  What if I hate it?  What will I say when she asks me what I think of it?  So, I put it away, deciding to wait and see it later.

      Last night, I decided to watch this film.....................WOW........................ I was stunned by the amazing texture and complexity of this film.  You don't watch this movie. You *experience* this movie. From the moment the film starts, your senses are completely overloaded by the wild, vivid images in almost mad, circus-like atmosphere, the jerky yet rhythmic journey of the camera through this place...The setting is a moody blend of gothic and golden age right out of some of those old, old  films (Journey to the Moon? -- can't think of the silent film where the men build a rocket and go to the moon).  The bright innocence of the gilded age (at times, Beatific) smashes headlong into the dark reality of life. [Classical literature comes to mind:  Dante's Inferno, Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby, and Dreiser's American Tragedy -- even Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.] I'm not comparing Moulin Rouge to these works, only the FEELING of innocence/beauty discovering the darkness.  Anyway, all of these things are surging past the screen, the story's theme blatantly lamented at you from every corner of the film, and then the film explodes into a raucus, untamed dance beat and incredible sense of movement. This was a gutsy, gutsy film.  It's a classic tragedy in every sense of the word, but they've taken the film a step further into the absurd with such an overused plot line while simultaneously showing you that this classic "boy meets girl" plot is most of the time, just out of real life's reach. I loved the "corny", bohemian ideals they idolized on the Moulin Rouge stage: truth, beauty, love, etc., because even though the world can be a cold, dark place, sometimes, for fleeting moments, we have them all.  Sometimes we realize this and sometimes we don't until they are gone.  I loved this film's tragedy, its absurdity, and its daring jabs at and foray into pop culture.  My whole body was buzzing with sensory overload and I loved every minute of it. For me, this was an intensely affecting film. And yes, I'm in love Ewan MacGregor.   Duh. :) I tell you -- between Ewan and Hugh Jackman (to borrow a quote from Will Smith in MIB) ...Damn...



      More broken stuff and general insanity at work = more stress.  Groan.  But I took Friday off (even though I did get called into work for a problem) and today is a university holiday.  I've gotten a lot of writing done, even though I still haven't finished the new story.  I'm in the final scene of Proximal Distance, but hit a snag that required some research and thought.  I'm still working through one problem that's giving me some trouble. But, this morning I was thinking about the research and the problem when I hit on THE ANSWER on how to fix my VP submission story, Tide Pools!!!!  So I've been working on Tide Pools since about 10:30 this morning! Yippee! :) (This is an 8200-word story, by the by.) I'm now into the final act of the story and everything is tying together.  I think I can make this story work. I have one bump in my way, but I think I can finish the story this week.  So, I've been fairly immersed in my writing these past ten days.  PD is going to need one more draft after this one, I suspect.

      My mailbox is an utter black hole. Everything has been out for so long. I have three novels out and only six short stories.  Need to get more short stories out and finish Listening for the Sound. I'd really like to write another novel this year, too. No ideas pending for that yet, but I'm sure something will come along as I write more short fiction.

      Back to work.  Have a good day!


      It's the weekend!!!  I'm so glad!  Had to run some errands tonight after work and unfortunately (not!), one of those errands took me on a tortuous trip to Barnes & Noble.  *FORCED* to trudge through rows and rows of bookshelves in search of two books. It was 10:15 pm before I realized how late it was. :) :) And yes, I left with more than two books.  One of them was a book I hadn't seen by Bonni Goldberg called Room to Write .  I also bought some way cool bargain books:  a beautiful picture book called  Flowers and Fables and a coffee table book that chronicles the history of shipwrecks.  But the find of the night was Connie Willis' new novel Passage!!!! I gleefully snatched the next-to-the-last copy from the shelves. I can't *WAIT* to read this book.  It sounds so good.  Doomsday Book is second most favorite book (the 1st being Bradbury's Dandelion Wine). I was also excited to see that Natalie Merchant has a new CD out called Motherland.  The music is a wonderful blend of blues, folk, and jazz -- and resonates with multicultural rhythms.  A very enjoyable CD. It reminds me of a glass of smooth, oaky merlot.  I went to Best Buy too (ooh, another horrible errand ;>) and got a PCI parallel port card tonight because my manual switchbox went belly up. I was very surprised that they actually had one in stock.  I was even more pleased when I found an opened item sticker on one of boxes (and $5 off the price). It installed like a charm on the first attempt. I also bumped my RAM up to 384MB this week.  My PC is running so smoothly now; printers are playing nicely together. Time to curl up with a glass of merlot and a good book.

      Have a good evening!


      Proximal Distance is well over 6K now and I'm finally ready to write Act III of the story.  I already know that one of the things I'll have to rewrite/refocus is the theme.  This story has a strong latin culture resonance, mainly Puerto Rican, especially their food. It's started to take on a thematic quality I hadn't anticipated. There is also a fisherman's theme at work.  When I complete this first draft, I need to take a very deep look at the themes and decide on one.  The last scene of the story will be challenging yet very enjoyable to write. I just hope it comes out like I've envisioned it.  For now, this story just feels right. 

      I had hoped to finish this story before 2002 arrived, but for the past three weeks, my job has been very overwhelming. We've had a lot of servers go down and things just break, so I've had to do a lot of hardware repairs and figure out how to fix several networking issues. Last night, I had a flat tire coming home. Bleh.  It's barely into the second week of January and I already feel exhausted.  The stress has been difficult to weather, but I'm doing the best I can. I hope things will quiet down next week.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned it in these pages, but I have a condition called fibromyalgia.  It's a controversial ailment, I know, but regardless of what you call it, the pain and fatigue are real.  Some days, I can hardly get out of bed, but since mine is the only income, I have little choice. There have been a lot of those days this month.  (of course my fall last week didn't help much either.) I feel better when the weather is warmer, so I can't wait for Spring. 

      Have a good evening!


      Spent most of my weekend resting.  I took a nasty fall Friday night and sprained my right wrist and banged up my knee pretty badly.  But I'm feeling better tonight. I did manage to get some solid work done on Proximal Distance despite the wrist. Fortunately, the swelling isn't on the bone beneath the thumb. It's beneath the pinkie, so it only hurts when I rotate my wrist or try pick up heavy stuff. Proximal Distance is pushing the 5500-word mark. I think it will be 7k by the time I'm finished.  Then I'll have quite a bit of trimming to do. Have a good evening!


      The drought has ended! The drought has ended! I didn't think I'd ever sell another piece of fiction. I'm so thrilled to report that my short story Circle of Life has sold to Beyond the Last Star!! This was the first story I've finished since Viable Paradise 5 and my approach to this story felt so different than my pre-Viable Paradise writing.  My thanks to the instructors and students of VP5. It feels so good to finally be able to report a sale again!! Yay!!  I feel an overwhelming sense of relief and a strong need to work harder.  Now, I need to get back to work on Proximal Distance and Rendered in Wild Blue. I've been home recovering from a terrible migraine today. It started last night about 8 pm and I thought if I just got some extra sleep, it would be gone by morning.  I wasn't so lucky.  After another four hours of sleep and some Advil Migraine, this one has finally retreated. This morning, I couldn't keep my right eye open, but by late afternoon, I was feeling much better. And the story sale really improved how I was feeling, too. :>  Not a bad way to start off the new year.  Have a good evening!


      Happy New Year!  The one thing I like best about the New Year's celebration is feeling like I can start everything over again on this day. Of course, you don't need a holiday to make changes, but with New Year's Day comes that odd feeling of renewal. I find that appealing. So what was the first thing I want to change?  Ahh, a very simple thing. My hair.   I cut it all off. Okay, not all of it, but that sounded really cool for a moment, didn't it? :)  Actually, I did cut off quite a bit of my hair. I got my hair cut into an extremely short bob. I told my stylist that I was sick of my hair and wanted something different. I told her to do whatever she recommended. And she did a wonderful job, too. :) I'm quite pleased with it. It feels so much lighter and manageable now.  Most of the time, people don't notice that I've gotten my hair cut, but they did this time. :> :> Of course, my timing is always perfect for these sorts of things.  For the first time since February 2001, we've had single digit temperatures here and what do I do?  I cut off my hair.

      I had one of my little tangents I was ready to spin off into about luck and writing and persistence, but you guys already know all that. Year Ten of the writing gig is here. There is no critical mass on rejections and hard work ensures nothing. There's just you and the screen and those visions spinning in your brain.  And you don't know if you'll get there until you do.  Such is the road ahead this first day of 2002. May it rise up to meet us, much quieter, kinder, and gentler than the last.