Star Lines
Saturday, November 09, 2002
  One More Link:  The Internet Public Library is another of the more interesting sites I've stumbled across.  There's a search engine, you can access over 20K books through the links, and you can be as noisy as you want.  
Friday, November 08, 2002
  Morning Grouch:  (rated PG-13 for violence, kids, go to school) I started this idly, just playing with an image or two, and as usual it grew on me.  If it keeps developing it might be the web site story for January.

Excerpt from Red Branch by S.L. Viehl

I don’t like waking up with a three hundred pound merc sitting on me and holding a knife to my throat.  Even if I had foreseen it the night before.

“Got yer tension now, do we?”  The weighty, smelly beast tucked the edge of his blade a little higher up under my chin, scraping a little skin off in the process.  “Be gibbin us ‘at web we bin wannin, eh?”

One of Ferboil Danu’s men -- they never bathed, and wore badly-cured skins of animals over their tunicas.  This one was covered in several inches of dirt and a dozen black rabbits.  The poor things had probably smelled him approaching and expired on the spot.

Still, he had captured my attention, and I was in the mood to be charitable.  “Get off, rot breath, and I’ll let you live.”

Blood ran down the sides of my neck as the blade bit deeper.  “I gots the steel here, Spinner.”

He was too dumb to be a messenger, really.  What was Ferboil doing, using me to clean out his dungeons?  “You have five seconds.”  I yawned.  “Four.”

He lifted up, angling the knife so that the point rested against my pulse vein.  “Marsta Danu wans the web.”

“Three.”  I glanced at the window; it was barely dawn.  I might have to kill Ferboil himself for waking me before noon.  “Two.”

“I said – ”

“Time’s up.”  I spit in his eyes and slammed my cupped palms against his ears.  At the same time, I hit his hand with my chin and drove my knee up into his groin.  He screamed, fell back, and the knife slipped onto the bed.

The root I’d chewed before going to sleep lent a temporary acidicity to my saliva, which had no effect on me but was quite corrosive to human eyes.  I kicked him to the floor, stretched, then retrieved the knife.  It was as filthy as my attacker, so I’d have to clean my neck wound well.  I tucked it in my shoulder band and went to the fireplace to start brewing my morning tea.

“Whaddaya done?” the behemoth shrieked, clawing at his eyes with both hands.  “Blinded me!  Yer blinded me!”

Someone pounded at the door.  “Spinner?”

It was Gidreck, the innkeeper.  I sighed as I went over and saw that Ferboil’s idiot had practically hacked the door to pieces getting in.  Maybe the merc was a nephew or something.  I tugged open the remnants.  “Yes?”

Gidreck resembled a starved nest weasel, minus the handsome parts.  “You in trouble, missus?” he yelled over the merc's yammering.

Ferboil should have paid the innkeeper to slit my throat in my sleep.  Then I could have killed him, saved myself the room fee and another night of overcooked bharron stew. "No."

He tried to look around me.  "What about the noise?"

I drew the dirty knife, swiveled, and threw it.  The shrieking became a thick, brief gurgle.  I turned back to Gidreck.  “What noise?”

He folded his skinny arms. “I run an honest place here.  You’ll have to go.”  He inspected the door.  “And pay for the damages and the burial.”

“Fair enough.”  I tossed him a gleaming kinspiece.  “Have my ride saddled and ready in an hour.”

He bit the coin, then grinned at the taste of pure silver.  “On second thought, missus, maybe we could work something out.”  He looked at my hands.  “I heard about your kind – ”

“Not interested.  And I’ll take care of the body.”  I slammed the ruined door in Gidreck’s face.

The merc’s blood had been sprayed over the bed and the floor, so I skirted around him and the mess and had my tea.  It gave me time to clear my thoughts and focus on the job the Orb had given me.

Find the son of Tal she’d said, when I’d emerged from my winter sleep to rejoin my sisters. Find him and bring him to me.

I had never tracked or taken a human before – but then, I didn’t really like humans.  Gidreck was right, they made too much noise. Alive?

The Orb had smiled. Oh, yes. 
Thursday, November 07, 2002
  Thesaurush:  I tend to stick to old reliable Roget's myself, but this is probably the most unusual and innovative thesaurus I've ever seen online.  Takes a few minutes to load, but wait, you gotta see what it does.  If you can't think of a word, type in "hard" and watch what happens. :)  

Happy Birthday Mom!

The Birthday Girl 
  Generators R Us:  More links for you world builders out there, courtesy of Seventh Sanctum (an RPG lovers' dream site, check it out when you have a chance, there are lots of other neat generators):

SF Planet name generator

Landscape feature name generator

Dark ritual name generator

Super SF vehicle description generator

Magic Potion ingredients generator 
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
  Building Worlds:  For those of you who have to construct whole new worlds for your novels, Ed Hynan has a (java-based?) fractal world map generator program here that's kind of neat (the graphics are much better on his site, btw, my FTP is being weird today.)

Fractal Planet using Hynan's Generator

John Olsson has another that's a little less tech-intensive here.

Fractal Map using Olsson's Generator  
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
  LaLaLo:  I spoke with my new Christian series editor yesterday, a terrific woman with (thank you, God) a great sense of humor.  The series guideline package I received was meticulously prepared so I expected her to be sharp, but she's also very down to earth and easy to talk to -- aka the perfect person for me to work with.  I now have three "L" editors -- two named Laura and one named Lorraine -- so I'd better relabel the correspondence files before I start mixing them up.

I coordinated all the new deadlines on my planner and it looks like I won't be taking my annual month off in December.  I have two new books to write in the next forty-five days and four more (possibly six) due before September 2003.  Add to that ten short stories for the web site, the second StarDoc novella and whatever unplanned projects come my way.  I have one more proposal to pitch and if I land that contract, I'll have filled up the calendar through to next December -- which I like.  If I know what's in store for the entire year, I feel better.  This rules out any traveling or vacations, but I think I can slip in a week to take off with the kids in the spring.

It's an intimidating schedule which promises many 18 hour days at the computer, and if I really sat down and thought about it, I'd freeze up.  No one can sit and say, "Oh, sure, I can write eight books, no sweat."  I don't care if you're Nora Roberts or John Grisham, you never know if you can write the next book.  Experience doesn't give you much of an edge, either.  If anything getting published has taught me what can and will go wrong.  And I have a whole life outside of writing, a life with two very energetic kids who need me to be Mom instead of The Grumpy Thing Chained to the Computer.

When you do this for a living and it represents your sole income, you have to take it one book at a time.  You focus on that novel or that story and pour yourself into it.  You only think about the work at hand, nothing else.  You stick to daily quotas religiously, even when you're writing crap and you know you're writing crap, because there is no room for doubt.  Doubt is for someone who has financial support from the family or the spouse.

I'm looking forward to it, but then I love a good challenge.  I love my work.  Bring on the deadlines. :) 
Monday, November 04, 2002
  Friendly Reminder:  I should post these somewhere permanently, but for now, a reminder: I don't tolerate personal attacks or anonymous posts on comments here at Star Lines.  This isn't Usenet, this is my space.  As in I pay for it, I decide the content, and I run the show.  If you can't deal with that, or follow my rules, leave.  
  Illuminating:  Stayed up way too late last night working on Illumination, but once I get into Reever's head it's hard to walk away.  Because the StarDoc books are told from Cherijo's perspective, I've been writing around him for the last five novels. Having the chance to tell the story from his POV is like being released from a three year gag order.  Finally, finally I can say some things that need to be said.  At the same time, I have to resist the urge to defend him, because a lot of what he does is pretty unforgiveable, even when I get into all the behind-the-scenes stuff no one but me knows about.  He's still an enigma to me in a lot of ways, too.

One thing I understood about Reever but had never told the readers is exactly why he falls in love with Cherijo, of all people.  He talks a little about it in Shockball but even there I was pretty reticent -- the time wasn't right, and Reever never wants to explain anything.  Plus I never tried to find the words -- you know when you know something, but you're not sure of how to express it?  Around 4 am last night, the right words popped into my head.  It was so simple and clear I just sat there staring at what I'd typed, kind of shocked, to be honest.  I don't know where the heck that came from, but it was really nice to see it show up just when I needed it. 
Sunday, November 03, 2002
  To make my day complete:  The latest NASA scandal could explain why things keeps blowing up in space and crashing into Mars.  Is this part of your brilliant "Build them better, cheaper, faster" scheme, guys?  And would you please stop using my tax dollars to perpetuate fraud? 
  Ack, almost forgot:

Weblog 1st Anniversary

Doesn't feel like a whole year, does it? Anyway -- thanks to everyone for making this so much fun.


  Amazing Morons:  The net watching readers have been going bonkers over some recent nasty reviews on my novels, Jessie tells me, and want me to write up a response for the troops.  I say, let's laugh at them.  The silly twits who bombard the online booksellers with these hatchet jobs are so predictable; you can always pick up

The Top Ten Dead Giveaways Someone is Deliberately Trashing an Author:

1. "This is the worst book I've ever read." -- Try to be more inventive, children, that one isn't particularly original -- especially when you say the same thing about Tanya Huff or Laurell K. Hamilton. In regard to the worst book you've ever read, ala Highlander, there can be only one.

2. Repeating "the author has no/terrible/abominable writing skills" in every review -- You could put up a billboard with 8 foot tall bright pink neon letters spelling out "I can't get my own book published" and that would be less obvious.

3. Posting negative reviews on multiple books by the same author. -- If you really didn't like the first one, why buy more? Are you into pain?

4. Negative reviews on every book the author has written, all posted on the same day. -- Yikes, you do have it bad, don't you? Consider getting some therapy.

5. E-mailing the author with copies of every negative review, with subject lines such as "If You Care to Respond" -- Gee, let me think. I'm a multi-genre published author, and you're Think I'll pass.

6. Posting trash reviews anonymously -- What, you're afraid the author might hunt you down and hurt you? We're too damn busy. Grow up.

7. Suggesting alternative uses for the book besides reading -- I still chuckle over that hatchet jobber who evidently wanted to use one of my books as a ladies sanitary aid.  God, that would be really uncomfortable, wouldn't it?

8. Using publisher advertising copy as the review, interspersed with nasty remarks. -- Only shows you didn't actually read the book, yoyo.  At least reword it.

9. Making suggestions on writing to the author in the review. -- Same as #2, only you're dancing naked in front of the billboard.

10. Posting copies of the bad review on every book review site on the web. -- Why limit yourself to one review board when you can start a smear campaign, eh?  
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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