Star Lines
Saturday, November 24, 2001
  Worked out my frustrations over that wretched dream by pile-driving through a very tense and difficult battle scene in Gamers. Despite my rep, I don't like composing violent scenes, I'm not a physically aggressive person and it's difficult to get inside the head of someone who is. That was probably my biggest problem writing Blade Dancer -- Jory lives to fight -- but that's all she knows, and I knew a lot of kids like her growing up. Jory also fights all the battles I had to walk away from in the past, so there's a certain amount of wish fulfillment there, too.

Gamers has been a tough story from day one. The protagonist (Tya) is probably the most alien in all ways that I've ever written, her mindset is completely different from mine, and she's just plain scary. Imagine becoming an enslaved killer -- like a gladiator -- and that's all you get to be, your whole life. You'd either be very good at it, or have a very brief career. Tya's also got a personal problem that's even more frightening than her ability to slaughter opponents in any given arena. She's definitely not a warm and fuzzy character you want to cuddle up to.

But when I got this idea, I was thinking of the carnival geek hero -- the kind who brings up the question "how do you redeem someone so hopelessly irredeemable?" I do a lot of flipping and twisting with male protagonists, but never female. I played with an idea when writing Shadow Zone, and then Tya just sort of popped into my head. I kept trying to tone her down at first, but I realized to be true to the idea I've got to let her be who she is -- warts and all.

The vote is still out on whether I can pull this off, I've discussed the general idea with a couple of people and they all think I'd do better creating another Cherijo -- giving the readers the familiar rather than foreign territory. This is a paying gig, after all. I just feel like if I don't try, I'm going to end up in a rut, writing about Cherijo in various incarnations and nothing else. I see way too much of that out there already -- authors who use the same set of characters, over and over. I'd rather crash and burn with this story and not sell it than stay conservative.

  Famous Quote for the Day: "To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power." Maya Angelou

I've always looked for a description of how I get when someone messes with my kids. A hurricane is about right.

Gloat for the Day: "My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." Mark Twain, 1835-1910

She did. Trust me.

The lack of security in being single and head of my household often comes out in my dreams -- last night I had another of those Catherine Cookson-type nightmares, in which I was penniless and friendless. To make it worse, someone had taken Kathy away from me as a baby and refused to give her back. I calmly planned to use Christmas as an excuse to visit her -- and snatch her from wherever she was. The ex showed up ala Marley's ghost to yell at me then poof! he vanished. Hey, just like in real life. I piled the boys in my mother's old Impala, but when I started to go after Kath I realized I didn't know how to get to where she was. I kept stopping to ask directions but no one would help me. The dream felt so real I woke up furious and terrified and my heart racing. God, I hate sleep. Anyway, this one goes into the nightmare journal as one of the worst of the year.

  I finally found a Complete Works of Oscar Wilde with margins wide enough for me to write in -- yes, I know it's criminal to write in a book but I have another, pristine copy on the never to be marred shelf. I like looking beneath that stunning, famous wit of his and seeing what's beneath -- Vaclar, my bad guy in Gamers is really Oscar Wilde with sociopathic tendencies thrown into the mix. And the more I read Oscar's work, the more questions I have. He wasn't just a brilliant fop with an attitude problem. Some of the things he's written, like De Profundis, just shriek on the page. He's the only writer I could ever really imagine sitting in prison for two years, kicking himself for acting on a love that ultimately ruined him. Winston Churchill was once asked who he'd like to meet and talk to if he could pick anyone, and instantly he said "Oscar Wilde." Me, too.
Friday, November 23, 2001
  Reader mail bag offerings: mostly comments on Shockball, three local booksellers who want to do signings (I'm only doing one this year, and I still have to get through that, shudder) another invitation to burn in hell, someone who likes to read Star Lines (hiya, Jessie!), old friend from school coming down from ME and wants to do lunch, is Reever named after someone real, outsold LKH this month in Kentucky --yeah, but Narcissus in Chains came out a few months ago, and in hardcover, so you can't really compare us, guys -- and five spams immediately zapped into e-mail dust.

I tuckerize a few people I know -- usually I name ships after them, like the Truman and the Stephenson in Shockball, for my friends Liliana Truman and Carol Stephenson. You stay out of trouble that way, too. Most of my characters' names are made up of certain components that have meaning only to me. Duncan's name came from two real men, one I admire, and one I don't. There's a lot I admire about Duncan -- and a lot I don't. :)
  Famous Quote for the Day: "I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works." Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784

I guess they didn't have reserves on returns back in the eighteenth century.

Gloat for the Day: "A man is a critic when he cannot be an artist, in the same way that a man becomes an informer when he cannot be a soldier." Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1880

There are plenty of ways to be a coward, aren't there?

Thursday, November 22, 2001
  About to check out for the day -- one more pie in the oven baking, then we're changing locations. I'm giving myself a day off from the computer (no, really, this is it until tomorrow!) and time to spend with the kids and cook up a storm. I hope your day is equally enjoyable.
  For Thanksgiving, I thought I'd make a list of the people and things I'm grateful for this year. God, thanks for the following:

Jeremy Lee, Michael Edward, and Katherine Rose. I still don't deserve them but I'm trying.
Catherine. I really don't deserve her.
Jericho, Jakol, and Rushan, and for helping me keep Rush alive.
Jenner, who is probably running kitty cat Heaven and no doubt driving you up the wall.
My parents as they start their new life far from here
My sisters and brothers, who could use your blessings daily
My ex-husbands, for giving me such beautiful children
Holly, Tom, and Carol, who continue to keep me from becoming a hermit
Robin and Rosina, who could both use some additional blessings now
The Lindas, who make me laugh
My many new friends at Holly's site
My runaway doctor
and last, but not least, my grandma, who brought me back to you.

Until the next Thanksgiving, when I'm grumpy or tired, when I'm slamming my head against a wall, when I'm feeling like a walking bulls-eye, I hope you'll give me a nudge and remind me of all the lovely people in my life. I am truly thankful for all of them.

  Finally came up with Raven's line when Kalen finally runs her down in New Orleans and apprehends her. He's got her on the ground, handcuffs her, then marches her to a car at the curb where two other government agents are waiting.

"You brought backup," she said, and gave one of his men a flirtacious smile. "Sweetheart, I'm touched."

I love Raven. :)
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
  Levengers has sent me two catalogs in one week. Is there no end to this torture? 
  Walked with the kids, knee on ice now, not looking forward to being on my feet most of the day tomorrow. Digging out the brace which I had hoped to retire for the rest of the year to strap it on. I'm going to make an apple pie tonight, and the whole house will smell of apples for the next two days. I love to bake, I love eating the results, I hate being fat, so I don't bake. *sigh*

Skipped reader e-mail today to catch up with some personal correspondence, mailed out some care packages and did the bookkeeping. I despise numbers but I like doing my own books, it's mindless and soothing. Like dishes and ironing, I don't have to think about it. I'm going to take a huge hit on taxes next year, I think, but someone has to pay them, and I can't summon an ounce of indignation when I think of all the spending the government had to do in the aftermath of 9/11. Take my money, guys. Do some good with it.

I read one of the blogs of note they post on the main page and it tore my heart up -- the author is a kid who's just lonely and lost and wanting to be in love. And he drinks heavily, judging by what he writes, which is another tragedy. It hurts to hear all these cries in the emptiness of the internet, all looking for something that's not here. This is an electronic dream, none of it is real, and yet people get sucked into it and forget about real life, waiting just outside their door. Then they can't understand why they're lonely. Real shame.
  Aha. Worked.

Thought for the Day: "Simplify your life and let your soul breathe easier." J.V.

And when you're clearing out some of the junk, remember GoodWill.

Gloat for the Day: "Beauty takes up too much time in the bathroom." Aunt Lillian

That's why every beautiful woman should have her own.

  Tried to post earlier, no luck. **This is a test of the Blogger Editing System. Please stand by.** 
Tuesday, November 20, 2001
  Sometimes People magazine does a wise thing -- like picking Yo-Yo Ma as one of the sexiest men alive. Sexiest musician, I think, is his official title. That's neat, considering he's a middle-aged Chinese guy with glasses and buck teeth who lives for chamber-music. If you've ever heard him play the cello, though, you know why he makes the cut.

I only buy two issues of People every year -- the sexiest guy alive issue and the 50 most beautiful people. It's interesting to see who gets picked. They're not always sexy and beautiful. Sometimes they're old and bald and fat and need a haircut. Sometimes they're not even celebrities. Those are the ones I like best.
Now if People could just apply that logic to everything else they publish in their rag, it would be a better magazine for it.

Call me shallow, but I do have a soft spot for Pierce Brosnan, the newest Sexiest Man Alive. Not only is he Irish, and easy on the eyes, but he stuck by his first wife through her struggle with ovarian cancer until the end. He didn't remarry for a long time, until he found the right girl, and I have no doubt he will stay with her. He's also a devoted father to five kids, I think (getting into Mel Gibson territory there, Pierce.) My favorite picture of him in this issue is one small shot in which he's barefoot, in jeans, and painting what looks like a pretty interesting abstract. You can't see his face, but you get a sense of the man just the same. And when his stunning looks go -- as everyone's looks always go -- I'll still think he's gorgeous. On the inside, where it doesn't fade away.

  Famous Quote for the Day: "I do not seek, I find." Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973

I like Pablo's attitude. Always have.

Gloat for the Day: "Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?" Unknown

In this world, you're either with the Pablos, or the Pavlovs. Your choice.
  Stayed off the computer today for the most part to get some serious editing done. This is when I feel like a farmer, starting to plow. The process is slow for me, because I'm not very good at picking up typos and other errors, so I have to force myself to plod. I don't dislike it -- it's like laundry and dishes, you've got to do them once in a while or they start to pile up -- but it's not as much fun as writing. Still, I stick to the regime of disciplines I've formulated to get it done -- no procrastinating, no racing the deadline. I need a good two weeks to do a decent read-through and edit on any book, and I'm already pushing it by doing two books at the same time.

Time is the thing I wish I had a little more control over. It slips through my fingers faster and faster every day, but I try not to resent it. I just wonder why days seemed to last forever when I was a kid, and they last what seems like about ten seconds now. Maybe because when I was a kid I was always looking forward to the day I'd get to be where I am now. I woke up a couple of months ago in the middle of the night and realized I had actually done everything I'd wanted to as a kid, except become a doctor, and I winged that by becoming one in my books. It doesn't mean I'm done, it just means I did it. And now I'm going to do other things, things I didn't think of until I was older and wiser. But there's a real smug sense of satisfaction in knowing I did what I set out to do when I was twelve. No one can take that away from me. Death can't take that away from me. That's pretty cool.

Yikes, getting a little too serious in my old age. I think I'll go listen to some Chopin and see if I can manage another five hours sleep tonight.

Monday, November 19, 2001
  Konnichiwa. Hajimemashite, oai-deki-te ureshii-desu. Sound it out phoenetically -- sounds pretty, doesn't it? Japanese can be clipped or liquid, I've learned, depending on delivery and the speaker. Like English spoken by Americans -- a woman from Atlanta can make directions on how to use toothpaste sound erotic, while a man from Queens can make Endymion by Keats sound like an invitation to a street fight. It's all in the accent and intonations.

  Since I can't post to the Daily Count on Holly's site (wail) I'll stick it here, so I don't forget: 2,315 extra words on Iceman, yeah, I know, I was going to edit and I did -- it just came out in a scene I wanted to add and jumped on when I joined the word count war in chat. Which was fun, because I got a chance to do something else I wanted to do in person but can't, and this was almost as good.

As for my Daily Fitness goals, I didn't do too well. No breakfast, sesame chicken and plain rice for lunch, a couple of pieces of celery for dinner (upset stomach), then a Ghiradelli's 2 ounce square of chocolate near the kids' bedtime. We had a treasure hunt tonight with chocolate coins (I hide them, they find them and eat them) so I couldn't resist. We did go on two great long walks today, the night walk was really fine with the weather being so beautifully cool.

Sunday, November 18, 2001
  Chopin does wonders to reduce tension and alleviate pain, I use it to dispell headaches more often than ibuprofen. Today I listened three Nocturnes, four Preludes and a couple of Mazurkas and bing, no more tension headache. The kids helped by being adorable when we went for our morning walk. Sometimes I look at them and think, "No way did I do that," they're so beautiful and bright and wide-open to the world. Today I'll take credit for it, though, as we got into a heavy discussion about reptiles and it hit me that they're only 6 and 9 years old respectively, and yet they can discuss animal biology on a reasonably adult level. They also make some clever observations of their own. I definitely gave them the foundation for that. But proud parenthood aside, seeing everything through their eyes is so incredible. All I have to do is ask a question and sit back and listen to them, and suddenly I'm a kid again.

  Famous Quote for the Day: "He speaks to me as if I were a public meeting." Queen Victoria, 1819-1901, on Gladstone.

Certain women have a real problem with the working class. Are they all named Victoria, or what?

Gloat for the Day: "Only dead fish swim with the stream." Unknown

And while everyone feels sorry for dead fish, no one wants to catch them. Not even the bears.

  Aha. A little more research reveals the Vickster has not sold a novel since '99, and has only published five to date. All of which, despite rave reviews solicited from her many pals within the SF authorial Gestapo, did not Do Well. I understand now. No wonder you're pissed. I'll light a candle for you and hope it passes.

Adventures at the KeyBoard

10/28/2001 - 11/04/2001 / 11/04/2001 - 11/11/2001 / 11/11/2001 - 11/18/2001 / 11/18/2001 - 11/25/2001 / 11/25/2001 - 12/02/2001 / 12/02/2001 - 12/09/2001 / 12/09/2001 - 12/16/2001 / 12/16/2001 - 12/23/2001 / 12/23/2001 - 12/30/2001 / 12/30/2001 - 01/06/2002 / 01/06/2002 - 01/13/2002 / 01/13/2002 - 01/20/2002 / 01/20/2002 - 01/27/2002 / 01/27/2002 - 02/03/2002 / 02/03/2002 - 02/10/2002 / 02/10/2002 - 02/17/2002 / 02/17/2002 - 02/24/2002 / 02/24/2002 - 03/03/2002 / 03/03/2002 - 03/10/2002 / 03/10/2002 - 03/17/2002 / 03/17/2002 - 03/24/2002 / 03/24/2002 - 03/31/2002 / 03/31/2002 - 04/07/2002 / 04/07/2002 - 04/14/2002 / 04/14/2002 - 04/21/2002 / 04/21/2002 - 04/28/2002 / 04/28/2002 - 05/05/2002 / 05/05/2002 - 05/12/2002 / 05/12/2002 - 05/19/2002 / 05/19/2002 - 05/26/2002 / 05/26/2002 - 06/02/2002 / 06/02/2002 - 06/09/2002 / 06/09/2002 - 06/16/2002 / 06/16/2002 - 06/23/2002 / 06/23/2002 - 06/30/2002 / 06/30/2002 - 07/07/2002 / 07/07/2002 - 07/14/2002 / 07/14/2002 - 07/21/2002 / 07/21/2002 - 07/28/2002 / 07/28/2002 - 08/04/2002 / 08/04/2002 - 08/11/2002 / 08/11/2002 - 08/18/2002 / 08/18/2002 - 08/25/2002 / 08/25/2002 - 09/01/2002 / 09/01/2002 - 09/08/2002 / 09/08/2002 - 09/15/2002 / 09/15/2002 - 09/22/2002 / 09/22/2002 - 09/29/2002 / 09/29/2002 - 10/06/2002 / 10/06/2002 - 10/13/2002 / 10/13/2002 - 10/20/2002 / 10/20/2002 - 10/27/2002 / 10/27/2002 - 11/03/2002 / 11/03/2002 - 11/10/2002 / 11/10/2002 - 11/17/2002 / 11/17/2002 - 11/24/2002 / 11/24/2002 - 12/01/2002 / 12/01/2002 - 12/08/2002 / 12/08/2002 - 12/15/2002 / 12/15/2002 - 12/22/2002 / 12/22/2002 - 12/29/2002 / 12/29/2002 - 01/05/2003 / 01/05/2003 - 01/12/2003 / 01/12/2003 - 01/19/2003 / 01/19/2003 - 01/26/2003 / 01/26/2003 - 02/02/2003 / 02/02/2003 - 02/09/2003 / 02/09/2003 - 02/16/2003 / 02/16/2003 - 02/23/2003 / 02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003 / 03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003 / 03/09/2003 - 03/16/2003 / 03/16/2003 - 03/23/2003 / 03/23/2003 - 03/30/2003 / 03/30/2003 - 04/06/2003 / 04/06/2003 - 04/13/2003 / 04/13/2003 - 04/20/2003 / 04/20/2003 - 04/27/2003 / 04/27/2003 - 05/04/2003 / 05/04/2003 - 05/11/2003 / 05/11/2003 - 05/18/2003 / 05/18/2003 - 05/25/2003 / 05/25/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 06/08/2003 / 06/08/2003 - 06/15/2003 / 06/15/2003 - 06/22/2003 / 06/22/2003 - 06/29/2003 / 06/29/2003 - 07/06/2003 / 07/06/2003 - 07/13/2003 / 07/13/2003 - 07/20/2003 / 07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003 / 07/27/2003 - 08/03/2003 / 08/03/2003 - 08/10/2003 / 08/10/2003 - 08/17/2003 / 08/17/2003 - 08/24/2003 / 08/24/2003 - 08/31/2003 / 08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003 / 09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003 / 09/14/2003 - 09/21/2003 / 09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003 / 09/28/2003 - 10/05/2003 / 10/05/2003 - 10/12/2003 / 10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003 / 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 /

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