Star Lines
Saturday, May 11, 2002
  For All Forward Motion Community Members:

The boards are down at the moment**, but the backup board and chat are working. Whatever the problem is, it's major. Holly is asking everyone to keep in touch with each other until we can solve the problem with the N54-hosted community or start a new one somewhere else. In the meantime, if you need transcripts from the 05/10/02 Think Tank, contact me at and I'll send them along.

**Update: Boards are back up and seem to be working fine. If you've posted work that you haven't saved, a suggestion -- make a back up now, in case N54 ever does fry the community. One less headache for Holly.  
  Why I Love In my e-mail today, regarding the hatchet job review on Vincalis:

Thank you for writing to to bring this review to our attention.

Please rest assured that these comments have been removed from our database and will disappear from the web site within the next 3-5 business days.

We do exert some editorial control over our customer reviews and strive to block these kinds of reviews. Our intention is to make the customer review forum a place for constructive commentary and feedback, so reviews that fall outside these guidelines are removed from the web site.

Again, I apologize for this situation and I'd like to thank you for taking the time to let us know. Feedback from conscientious customers such as yourself helps us maintain the quality and integrity of our site. Thank you for your interest in

Yep. It's been a good day. 
  Quote for the Day: "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." --Mark Twain

Sam, why weren't you born a little later on in history?

Medical Fact for the Day: Radial nerve dysfunction is a form of peripheral neuropathy, involving impaired movement or sensation of the back of the arm (triceps), the forearm, or the hand, caused by damage to the radial nerve. This particular nerve supplies movement to the triceps muscle at the back of the upper arm, extension to the wrist, and helps in movement and sensation of the wrist and hand. The condition is usually caused by direct trauma, prolonged pressure on the nerve, and compression of the nerve from nearby body structures.

The radial nerve may be injured at the axilla (underarm) by direct pressure -- some patients develop "crutch palsy" caused by improper use of crutches, for example. "Saturday-night palsy" is a common term for injury that occurs during deep sleep or when a person is intoxicated. Prolonged or repeated constriction of the wrist (such as wearing a tight watch strap) may also cause an injury to terminal portions of the radial nerve. In some cases, no detectable cause can be identified. These mechanical factors may be complicated by ischemia (lack of oxygen from decreased blood flow) in the area.

Symptoms include numbness, decreased sensation, tingling, or a burning sensation, pain, abnormal sensations in the arm, wrist and hand, difficulty extending the arm at the elbow, difficulty extending the wrist, weakness of the wrist and finger extension muscles (with decreased ability to extend the arm at the elbow), a minor decreased ability to rotate the arm outward (supination), and difficulty lifting the wrist or fingers (extensor muscle weakness). Wrist drop or finger drop may be present, or there may be atrophy (muscle loss) of some of the muscles of the forearm. A detailed patient history may be needed to determine the possible cause of the neuropathy. Rarely, radial nerve dysfunction may be difficult to differentiate from a stroke in the brain. A neuromuscular examination of the arm, hand and wrist can usually identify the condition.

There are a wide variety of treatments for radial nerve dysfunction, most of which involve some type of physical therapy. Surgical removal of lesions that press on the nerve may be required. Over-the-counter analgesics or prescription pain medications may be needed to control pain (neuralgia). Other medications, such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, or tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline), may reduce the stabbing pains that some people experience. Orthopedic assistance (braces, splints, or other appliances) may maximize the ability to use the hand in severe cases. If the cause of the nerve dysfunction can be identified and successfully treated, there is a possibility of full recovery. The extent of disability varies, from no disability to partial or complete loss of movement or sensation. Nerve pain may be quite uncomfortable and may persist for a prolonged period of time.
Friday, May 10, 2002
  Idiots Squared: (Bad language ahead, children, leave the room) I think it's high time and other online booksellers forced reviewers to list their names and e-mail addresses with the reviews posted. No more of this "a reader from Anywhere, USA" shit, please. If you're going to slam someone's work, have the damn decency to do it in the open, instead of skulking around and giggling behind an anonymous tag line.

And no, I'm not talking about reviews written about my work. I'm talking about the stupid bitch who penned the "I wonder if we were all reading the same book" review on Vincalis the Agitator here. This is not a review. It's a hatchet job. This time the anonymous tag didn't work, though -- I know who did it, and so does Holly.  
  Eeeeeeeeeek: Here's a new twist on demanding -- someone (who shall remain nameless) sent me not one but ten e-books and asked for quotes on any or all with a form e-mail that begins "Dear Author:" Can't even take the time to find out my name now, huh? And what's with the bulk download? Afraid I might reach the end of the first typofest and shriek, "No! It can't end here! Must-have-more-E-BOOKS!!!"

Ah, well. Personally, I don't have anything against e-books except they're hard for me to read. Professionally, I think we all have to make tough choices, and I don't diss anyone for resorting to e-publication. Just, please, don't send me ten of them and ask me to be your quote-slut, 'kay?  
  Quote for the Day: "One of the best perks of being a writer is becoming-- for the time it takes to write the book-- someone else. To write well, you have to climb inside someone else's skin and personality." -- Nora Roberts

Which is why I enjoy slipping into something green and scaly now and then.

Medical Fact for the Day: A First Aid Kit is essential at the home and office, and should contain the following: ammonia inhalants, adhesive, gauze, and support bandages in various sizes, surgical tape, latex gloves, salt/sugar, Betadine sticks/ pads/ swabs, irrigation syringe, oral and rectal thermometers, Tempra Dots (to take pediatric temperatures), isopropyl alcohol preps, surgical mask, plain wet towelettes, Steri-Strips with adhesive, coverlet wound closure, razor, eye wash solution, hydrogen peroxide, scissors, tweezers, zip lock bag, sterile water, cold pack, pen light, ear plugs, ear wash, Bismuth tabs, antacid, meat tenderizer/MSG, pen and paper, and a bandana (to use as a tourniquet). Medicines: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Liquid Motrin, anti-diarrheal aid (Imodium AD is excellent), Neo/Polysporin ointment, Baking Soda, Sting Kill (Ammonia), burn gel with lidocaine, 1% Hydrocortisone Cream, Hand Sanitizer, Lip Balm, and syrup of Ipecac.

No matter what you've got in your first aid kit, seek medical help immediately for persons with the following conditions: Any severe bleeding, any type of chest pains, severe burns, electrical shocks, broken bones, choking and difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, or any head injury with signs of bleeding, vomiting or drowsiness.  
  Old Lace: Finished another restoration a few minutes ago (pics tomorrow, when I can draft a tall person to hold it up for me.) An all-ivory white summer quilt with battenburg lace, quite tattered in a few places. Looking pristine now and ready for its trip up north with a special lady who is leaving after many years of devoted service as administrator at my kids' school. At this rate, I'll be able to cover the entire country with quilts in a few years. One more 1940's child's quilt to go, then I'm hanging up my thimble for a few weeks to get the on-spec work done. I've developed callouses on the tips of my fingers again (ramming a needle into them repeatedly does this) and I've broken off most of my fingernails. Saves me from cutting them down.  
Thursday, May 09, 2002
  Talk to the Hand: Read some interesting e-mail (though a little old, sorry, still way behind) today from some disgruntled readers. The gist is, l I should be like all the other pro SF authors and support NASA. I write about outer space, I should endorse anyone who's doing something in outer space. Right. Now kids, if we all were programmed the same way, it wouldn't be a very interesting world, would it?  
  Ghost Book: Got an ARC of Eternity Row today (thank you, Laura Anne) and for the first time, my cover art was left off. This is to make it more obvious that it's an advanced galley and to make it less appealing for resale on eBay, which I think is a good thing. It mildly freaked me out, though, since all that's on the plain white cover is the title, my name, and "Nothing lasts forever" in black. Spooky-looking thing.

I put the ARC on the desk ego shelf, and sat looking at it for a bit. I'll have eight books in print by September. That still doesn't seem real sometimes. I've slid past so many stress points without damage -- the second book, the fifth book (aka career killers) -- but Eternity Row will be the last of familiar territory for me. From here it gets strange and new and scary all over again.

Then I think of what I have in store for you guys, and grin. Just you wait.  
  Quote for the Day: "Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public." Winston Churchill

Interesting spin on "the book is my baby" writer attitude.

Medical Fact for the Day: Malaria is caused by plasmodia, microscopic parasites that are widespread around the globe. In human malaria, the plasmodia are spread by anopheline mosquitoes, which breed out of control in many tropical or warm and wet regions of the world. Every year approximately three million people die from malaria, and a child somewhere in the world dies from the disease every thirty seconds.

Western tourists and travelers are very vulnerable to contracting malaria, for unlike populations regularly exposed to malarial mosquitoes they have no immunity to the disease. High risk areas include sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, Sumatra, Borneo, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon islands, and some districts of Thailand (Trat and Tak) and Brazil (Rondônia, Acre). Moderate risk areas include South America, the Indian subcontinent including Sri Lanka, and parts of South-East Asia. Low-risk areas include Northern Africa, Mauritius, Central America, Haiti, and the Near East. Large cities inside risk areas are often devoid of malaria. Travelers to high-risk areas will often be prescribed an antimalarial drug by their doctor as a preventive. This type of medication is sometimes unreliable, often causes side effects, or is contraindicated by other medicines that the patient may be taking.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, exhaustion, muscle ache, and sweating. Victims of malarial infection often mistake their condition for influenza. If left untreated, very severe symptoms can arise, such as unrousable coma (cerebral malaria), anaemia, gastroenteritis, renal failure, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect malaria, you should always seek medical help immediately
  Writer Trick #3: I've mentioned how much I dislike the "weather report" writing so many authors do as part of novel intros or lead-ins -- aka "It was a dark and stormy night..." And it's a real problem to avoid, as you have sometimes have to get some info across to the reader, and there seems no other way to do it. But you can get a certain amount of setting data across to your reader without droning on and on in boring lifeless narrative. The trick is, naturally, to let your characters do it.

This is how I avoided a weather report on the Louvre in Jian-Shan's novel. First, the information I wanted to get across:

Five million people came to the Musée National du Grand Louvre each year, not only to discover the countless treasures of one of the most important museums in the world, but to enjoy what had become essentially a modern cultural theme park in the heart of Paris -- the "Disney World" of art and architecture.

Now, how I avoided the weather report:

Excerpt from "The Deepest Edge"
by Gena Hale

“It says here in my brochure five million people come to the Musée National du Grand Louvre each year,” the American tourist woman said, separating each French word into slow, southern-accented syllables. She popped a strip of chewing gum in her mouth and glanced at her husband. “This place is going to be packed, honey.”

The assassin, who had been obliged to stand beside them on the bus for fifteen minutes, idly considered strangling her with one of her sagging bra straps.

“I told you,” the husband said, in an aggrieved tone. “We should’ve gone to England. Least there I could get a decent beer with dinner.”

“The travel agent said this Louvre place is one of the most important museums in the world.” She chewed her gum for a moment. “It’s got countless treaures.”

“The Louvre has become essentially a modern cultural theme park,” another, more educated tourist sitting across the aisle from the couple said. “It’s the “Disney World” of art and architecture.”

“Hear that?” The wife poked her husband as the hotel bus slowed to a stop outside the museum complex. “We just might get to see Mickey.”

I got across the exact same info, but which was more fun to read? Warning: If you say the first version, I'll come over there and smack you. The dangerous part of this is turning your characters into mindless tour guides, so keep it to a minimum, and make sure it works in context. You can imagine a couple of tourists having this conversation very easily. They wouldn't, on the other hand, drone on for three pages about the wonders of the Louvre.

Copyright 2002 by S.L. Viehl, writing as Gena Hale
All rights reserved.  
  FYI on StarDoc: I've gotten a bunch of e-mails from readers asking what can be done to keep the StarDoc series from going on hiatus. All an author can really do is refer readers back to the publisher who makes these decisions, but it really won't change anything. What I will do is try to interest one of the SF mags in buying a new StarDoc novella, if possible. In the past, I wasn't literati enough to interest those guys, and I doubt that's changed. But I will try anyway, you never know. Worst case scenario, I can go small press or self-pub something -- I'm not giving up on StarDoc, and I don't want you to, either.  
Wednesday, May 08, 2002
  Lily Says: For me to lighten up, or else, and sent me this blogger quiz to fill out and post. Knowing how dangerous it is to thwart the mother of a cranky teething baby who has kept her sleepless for four days, I shall happily comply (although these things are so lame, Lily, God Almighty...):

1. Living arrangements? No, I killed the last centerpiece after Valentine's Day.

2. What book are you reading now? CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 82nd Edition by David R. Lide

3. What's on your mouse pad? The photo of an eighteenth century Victorian crazy quilt.

4. Favorite magazine? Toss up. The Atlantic and Archeology

5. Favorite smell? Peach

6. Least favorite smell? I used to work for a medical examiner -- do you really want me to gross people out?

7. Favorite sounds? Any of my kids laughing.

8. Worst feeling in the world? Being unable to save a child's life.

9. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? That I should have killed the doctor who made me stop drinking coffee.

10. Favorite color? Cerulean blue.

11. How many rings before you answer the phone? One, like anyone who has children in school.

12. Your future child's name? Oh, no, honey, don't even think that. The ovaries are so closed for business here.

13. What is most important in life? Doing no harm.

14. Favorite foods? Cooked cabbage, rice, fish, lemon ice.

15. Vanilla or chocolate? Oh, please. Not even a contest. Chocolate

16. Do you like to drive fast? No, but I like to be chauffeured.

17. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? Three of them, the little feline pigs.

18. Do you like storms? Sure, as long as they're not directed in my face.

19. What was your first car? An ambulance. (Seriously)

20. If you could meet one person dead or alive, who would that be? Dr. Edward Jenner.

21. Favorite alcoholic drink? None.

22. What is your zodiac sign? Cancer

23. Do you eat the stems of broccoli? Yeah, why, is there something wrong with them?

24. If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be? Got that already

25. If you dyed your hair, what color would you pick? Already did all of the colors, too.

26. Ever been in love? Yep. And I have the scars to prove it.

27. Is the glass half empty or half full? Depends on who's holding it.

28. Favorite movies? Pride and Prejudice, Speed, Jane Eyre, and Die Hard.

29. Do you type with your fingers on the right keys? Probably not.

30. What's under your bed? (checking) five books, a folded blanket, and a small black and white cat.

31. What's your favorite number? Fourteen

32. Favorite sport to watch? Archery.

33. Say one nice thing about the person who sent this to you. She's a lovely person with a kind heart who worries too much.

34. The person who sent this to you is most likely to respond? "If you don't feel better, I'm coming over and making you watch Meko while I go out to dinner with my husband." 
  Gimme Gimme: I get a lot of requests for stuff. Readers have asked me for everything from signed bookmarks to my hand in marriage, while aspiring writers generally want me to get them into print (sorry, no magic publishing wand here). And then there are my beloved colleagues. In the beginning, I tried to be friendly and do the network thing. If they wanted a donation, I gave it. If they wanted a quote, I'd read their manuscript and say something nice. I helped out a scam-sting operation by donating an entire novel for their use. I accepted an invitation to speak at a SF writer's meeting. I've even promoted some books on my web site for authors I thought needed a break. See, I can play well with others.

I got burned, pretty bad. As soon as they got what they wanted out of me, my colleagues vanished. No offers of reciprocation; not even a simple thank you. A few snickered at me, others slammed me and my books as trash -- all very public. One disturbed person's practical joke (the SF writer's meeting, which turned out to be non-existant) nearly resulted in me getting mugged in the middle of a ghetto. That was, I'll be honest, absolutely terrifying. Other, unpleasant things. By the end of my second year as a published writer, Tibet was starting to look very good. I didn't reciprocate or strike back, but instead withdrew entirely and cut everyone off cold. I trusted no one.

Holly Lisle (who never did any of this stuff btw) saved me from becoming a total Garbo by inviting me to join Forward Motion as a moderator. That really helped me in ways I can't even begin to describe -- the whole community was like a huge spiritual bandaid. I've told her this before, but as far as I'm concerned, Holly can have one of my kidneys if she wants.

A year has passed since the bulk of the unpleasantries, and I've become more famous. Evidently my colleagues believe I've also developed Alzheimer's, as the requests are starting to trickle in again. "Would you read my book and give me a cover quote?" "We'd like you to be a guest speaker at our con." "We're having a raffle and would really appreciate some signed books." "I'd really like to interview you." "Would you give an endorsement for our e-zine?" "You were so generous last time, and we thought this year...." etc. It's really depressing, because what do I say in return? "No, thanks, I got screwed enough the last time?" 
  Quote for the Day: "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." -- Terry Pratchett

More of that passive/aggressive Brit humor. Makes you wonder what's really in their tea, doesn't it?

Medical Fact for the Day: Cranial mononeuropathy (type III): Also known as third cranial nerve palsy is a disorder resulting in double vision and eyelid drooping, associated with decreased function of cranial nerve III. The mononeuropathy (damage to a single nerve) involved in this condition affects the third cranial (oculomotor) nerve, one of the cranial nerves that controls eye movement. Damage is usually caused by compression of the nerve from localized lesions or swelling in the area of the nerve.

Sources of such compression include tumors or other lesions (particularly tumors located at the base of the brain and pituitary gland), trauma, infections, infarction (tissue damage from loss of blood flow), some cerebral aneurysms, other vascular malformations, sinus thrombosis and associated disorders such as mononeuritis multiplex.

On rare occasions, people with migraine headaches may demonstrate a temporary type of oculomotor nerve involvement, probably because of spasm of the blood vessels. In some cases, no cause can be found. Prompt treatment of disorders that compress the nerve may reduce the risk of developing the disorder. Symptoms include double vision and drooping of one eyelid. Examination of the eyes may indicate cranial mononeuropathy III, as the pupil of the affected eye may be dilated and eye movement may be decreased, but there is usually normal abduction (looking away from the center of the body). The gaze may be dysconjugate (the eyes do not align).

A complete medical and neurological examination to ascertain if there are any other systems of the body affected is recommended. Some cases may resolve without treatment if the cause is benign, or corticosteroids may reduce swelling and relieve pressure on the nerve. Surgery may be appropriate to treat eye lid drooping or dysconjugate gaze. Most cranial nerve dysfunctions will respond to treatment, but a few cases result in some type of permanent loss of function.
  Last call: Before I cave in to the herbal sleeping tea I just forced myself to drink -- no rest for the wicked, unless it's induced -- I have one more thought to share with the sleepless out there.

Very little happens to us in this life with our permission. You don't get to pick your parents, your siblings, how you live as a child, where you go to school and what happens to you pretty much 24/7 for the first eighteen years of life. It gets a little better when you cross over into adulthood, but only by 25% at best. If things had gone 100% my way I'd be a happily married cardio-thoracic surgeon inventing news ways to transplant organs and fix hearts and writing brilliant medical books about it. Never even got close to taking that route. I'll always wonder but it didn't happen for me.

We can be miserable about what we miss, and all the stuff that happens to us without our permission, or we can move on. Life is short. I vote we hit the road.  
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
  Someone's Pissed: It does not pay to be a microbiologist these days, if you believe the Globe and Mail's article about eleven suspicious freak accidental** deaths among the global scientific community. Suddenly the X-Files doesn't seem quite so far-fetched, huh?

**Updated: Not all the deaths were accidental -- some were outright homicides -- and a quick search turned up a bunch of other dead microbiologists, including this on one of the conspiracy sites:

A plane carrying scientists to Russia's biological warfare center at Novosibirsk was blown up over the Black Sea and no one questions that the Ukrainian missile that supposedly did the job was a hundred miles out of range. Then a Swissair Corsair crashes killing the head of Ichilov Hospital's Hematology department, as well as directors of the Hebrew University School Of Medicine and the Tel Aviv Public Health Department and not a word of suspicion is raised.

I'd research the two plane crashes if I wasn't under deadline, but I'm going to send this off to a friend with more time and better sources instead. It is extremely disturbing stuff. 
  The Ice Around My Neck: I've worn a cross for a couple years now -- usually under my shirt, where no one can see it. It's a silver Celtic cross with a dot of amber in it, and it has sentimental value I won't get into now. I consider faith a private thing -- no bibles will be thumped here, I swear -- and I also know a lot of people who loathe what I believe in. Such is life. I have a habit of holding the cross when I'm reading off the computer (and I'm sure a shrink would have a field day with that.) The chain for the cross snapped last week when I read something and tugged a little too hard, and the only replacement I had didn't feel right. So I went to get a new chain at the mall kiosk that sells silver.

The Cuban young man who waited on me was maybe eighteen, and had his skull shaved and his face pierced. I'm getting better about not staring at the nose rings, btw. He examined the cross and said, "You need some thin ice for this."

For a moment I thought he'd said I was on thin ice and blinked. "Ice?" I asked, in my best bewildered middle-aged Mom voice. Maybe it was some new kind of jewelry cleaner.

He grinned, stretching the skin around the silver stud between his lower lip and chin, then plucked at the heavy, glittery silver chain he wore. "Ice, you know. That's what we call it. You wearing your ice."

The dusty lightbulb finally illuminated over my head. "Oh, okay." He helped me picked out a nice skinny length of ice in a braided rope style and we tried the cross on. "Pretty," I said, and went to tuck it in my shirt as always. Then I eyed his chain and stopped. He wore his ice out, complete with a chunky crucifix-style cross about ten times bigger than mine. I've noticed many youngsters do. They aren't shy about faith. They flash it right in your face.

There's something very admirable about that.

Anyway, I left my cross on the outside of my shirt, paid for the chain, and walked out with my ice around my neck for all the world to see. It's not as brazen and statement-making as say, getting my right eyebrow pierced, but it's a start.  
  Quote for the Day: "Writing is like being in love. You never get better at it or learn more about it." - James Lee Burke

True. Only my novels don't cheat on me with other authors.

Medical Fact for the Day: Acid reflux, a condition associated with heartburn, is caused by regurgitation of acidic fluid from the stomach into the esophagus, and often creates esophagitis or inflammation of the esophagus. Mild forms of the condition often afflict overweight patients and can occur during pregnancy. Doctors attribute acid reflux to the inefficiency of the muscular valve at the lower end of the esophagus. Repeated episodes may indicate the presence of a hiatal hernia, a weakness in the diaphragm which allows the stomach to protrude into the chest. There are several treatment options, including diet and nutritional control.  
  The Sum of Nothing: It's hard pulling a rabbit out of an empty hat. That's what writers do, when they're not beating their skulls against a solid object bewailing the fact that they never chose to become something saner, like wild animal handlers or professional assassins. Lion taming is probably easier than dealing with some folks in the publishing business, and a hired gun gets to have room service and all those frequent flier miles. Yet the fact remains, I have no whip, no .357 magnum with a nifty silencer. I have only the keyboard. My sole compadre is Drefan, looming in front of me, one great blind eye staring me in the face. I write across a blind eye, now there's a gruesome bit of imagery for you.

There is an alchemy to all this. When we write, we create something out of nothing. We prove that we are the last true magicians. (Well, except for those Enron executives.) And no matter how much woe is swept in and out on the daily tides, or however bleak and sucky life gets, we have that power. It's an amazing thing, to do this job. To pull that rabbit out of the void, and display it for all eyes to see. The fiction writer makes the rabbit change shape and color and size and sprout wings and fly around the room a few times, so we have even more fun.

I've been rewarded for what I've accomplished with my bag of tricks. I've been slapped hard, too. I wouldn't be sitting up at 3:47 am if the rewards didn't trouble me, and the slaps didn't hurt. For all my magic, I can't change the people who watch me. I can't give the gift of power to the ones who want what I have, but are unwilling to find it within themselves. I can't explain how or justify why I know there's something in every empty hat. All I can do is reach in for the next rabbit. It's what I do.  
Monday, May 06, 2002
  Latest Restoration: Fixing this seventy year old quilt was a labor of love, for a lot of reasons. The orginal quilter's needlework was museum quality, a consistent, tiny ten to twelve stitches per inch. The quilt was also in remarkably good condition, with a fully intact binding and backing. Unfortunately, the patchwork was not in such good shape, and it took some hunting to find the right vintage feedsack fabrics to replace the old shirting patches that had shredded. I put in over two hundred hours on this one, handwashed it in the bathtub and flat-dried it to preserve the fabric and batting. As you can see, it was worth it:

Feedsack and muslin wedding ring quilt, 1930's

And check out the stitching -- very dense, with only 1/4" to 1/2" spacings between quilt lines.

Closeup of quilt stitches
  Final Deal: I don't have the contract in hand yet, but I may as well make it official. I've sold two new science fiction books to Roc SF/F. Titles are "BioRescue" and "Afterburn"; both are standalones with crossover characters, set in the StarDoc universe. These books, along with "Blade Dancer" will be released in hardcover, and if all goes well will move me into new territory. Not bad for a housewife from south Florida, huh? :)  
  Shades of Ted: It seems another maniac is trying to get across his anti-government manifesto via explosives. This one doesn't believe death exists, only "change" -- and displays other signs of obvious mental illness. The FBI is playing this one smart, and hopefully they'll bust him before he changes someone.  
  The long absent and glad to be back home where it belongs Quote for the Day: "You must squeeze out of yourself every sensation, every thought, every image, — mercilessly, without reserve and without remorse: you must search the darkest corners of your heart, the most remote recesses of your brain, — you must search them for the image, for the glamour, for the right expression. And you must do it sincerely, at any cost: you must do it so that at the end of your day's work you should feel exhausted, emptied of every sensation and every thought, with a blank mind and an aching heart, with the notion that there is nothing, — nothing left in you. — Joseph Conrad

Then what? Beat your wife? Sheesh, Joe, lighten up.

Accompanied by the tired but still functional Medical Fact for the Day: Ladies, have you had a Pap smear in the past year? If you haven't, here's some statistics on cervical cancer: it causes 190,000 deaths annually worldwide; 371,000 new cases each year; 4,800 deaths annually in U.S.; 12,800 new cases annually in U.S. Cervical cancer represents 27% of all cancer in African women, and 18% of all cancer in South American and Indian women. And while 55 million Pap smears are conducted annually in the U.S. and Europe, it is estimated that more than half of all women who die of cervical cancer could have survived had they not ignored routine Pap smear testing.
  There's a reason why... ...words like "moron" and "Monday" both start with the same letter. When I figure this out, I think I become Buddha.  
  As SF Turns: I got tired of the print version of Locus magazine after three months into my first year subscription, and didn't renew (got Popular Science instead. Much better reading.) I have no idea what they say about my books, but I imagine Carolyn Cushman still reviews them. I make their bestseller list everytime I hit the shelves. I might be in the industry news thing in the front when I turn in a book (somebody told me I was a couple times, I never saw it). The whole magazine makes no sense, they're either kissing butt or tut-tutting over everything -- and the print size is just annoying as hell. Anyway, I do zap over to the website occasionally for a chuckle, because it's really more a flames BB than an online rag, but lately that's gotten just as lame as the print version. I like it a whole lot better when that Hayden lady was shooting off letters every couple of days; she's great character material.

Still, if you're interested in seeing practiced cynics go through the weary motions, this week you can read some guy named Phil's swipe at Harlan Ellison, and some other guy named Claude's whining about Spiderman the movie. You can tell Phil needs to take a break from the computer from all the footnotes, and Claude expects Art from Comic Book Characters. Uh-huh. Right. Where is my latest issue of Popular Science....?  
Sunday, May 05, 2002
  Secret Lives: Back when I played performing chimp, I took the Wechlser, the Rorschach, and a bunch of other IQ and are-you-schizo exams for the proto/gifted program director, who practically drooled over me (I rated two papers and a committee. Imagine that.) A question from one of the tidy lists of true or false things caught my eye: I have a secret life no one knows about.

Snickering over that -- be kinda hard to have a secret life if everyone knows about it -- I dutifully ticked off false and moved on. But I kept rolling that phrase over in my mind. Secret life. Of course I had one, I had a bunch, I just never knew what to call them other than "stories." Sometimes the only thing that got me through reality without scaring the straights was living out those secret lives on paper.

Now I get paid to live them. Pretty cool. 
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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