Star Lines
Saturday, August 16, 2003
  Stretching at the Start Line:  Last night I did 3394 words before I had to deal with some family stuff, so today my goal to knock out at least 10K and edit that and 8K of older material.  I'm in a terrible mood, which is excellent because I've hit a scene where I need a lot of rage.

12:19pm:  Edited 6027 words, wrote 405 new in the process.  Pretty happy with what I've got, now for the bloodbath/chase scene.  Maybe I should wait to eat lunch. :)

3:34pm:  Total wordcount: 2395.  Taking a break.  Cherry vanilla scones and mandarin orange spice tea, here I come.

8:06pm:  Total wordcount: 5774.  Feeling the burn, which is good, as my protag is feeling the same.  I got farther into Onkar's head than I expected I would, and he needs some anger management therapy.  But then, don't we all?

10:15pm:  Total wordcount: 7310.  Emerging from the zone.  Alien love scene in some sunken caverns (my trademark water water everywhere) very fun to write.  Should offend lots of people.  I'm happy. :)

11:44pm:  End wordcount: 8533.  Not goal but not bad.  I could keep pushing but I want to get an early start tomorrow, and I need to get some sack time.  Mañana, people.  
Friday, August 15, 2003
  Arrrrr....  I've even got the leg for the part. :)

Pirates of the Caribbean!

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla
  Marathon II:  I've got to jump into another write-until-you-drop session so I can finish the WIP and get another over the halfway mark.  I'll post some updates when I can but in the meantime, have a good weekend.  
Thursday, August 14, 2003
  Patience Pays Off:  I've been working on uncovering another hidden quilt now for a couple of weeks.  I didn't have time to do it all at once, so I've been giving it ten or fifteen minutes a day.  Here's what the quilt looked like when I started:

The Original Quilt, Intact

Removing the outer layers was pretty tricky, as the outer fabric had rotted, but stitching was fairly dense.  I ended up picking it apart with a seam ripper one stitch at a time:

Dissection in Progress

I finished about an hour ago, and laid out the quilt I'd uncovered:

The Uncovered Quilt

Hands down, this is the best-looking quilt I've ever uncovered.  The patchwork is tiny, mostly intact and from the material I'm going to date it circa 1875-1900:

Closeup Patchwork

The original quilting is also intact, and incredible, as you can see from this angle:

Quilting Lines

This is what makes finding hidden quilts so much fun -- like Forest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. 
  Stuff:  FM is down at the moment, so don't worry if you get a weird page, and remember the Kablooey links are posted here.  **Update**:  FM is back up and running.

Stephen King wanted a day job, I guess, which is why he did this.  I stumbled across his first one a couple weeks ago, but it was mostly hatchet job stuff and turned me right off.  (Not sure if the second link will work for non-AOL users, as EW went AOL-exclusive.  Just FYI.)

Over at PW, a long but interesting article about some newbie authors coming out and, yeah, another guy who wrote a novel about poets (but kept Mars and Jupiter out of it.)

Disclaimer:  I have nothing against poetry.  I love to read it, I've studied it for thirty years and I'm a sometimes-poet myself.  I just think fiction and poetry should stay far, far away from each other. :) 
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
  Calls I Will Never Make:  My PT called last night, wanting to know why I cancelled my last therapy session.  I explained that the bad weather, deadlines and house-sitting kept me pretty busy.  "That's no excuse, Cheelah. (He's Cuban-American)  Your knee has to be a priority.  Next time tell your ex he has to come home early."

I couldn't get my ex to come home on time for dinner for ten years.  "Okay."

Jessie dropped off the snail mail this morning, which included packages that my new mail carrier would not deliver.  "You're home all day, but he doesn't feel like climbing the stairs?  Call the postmaster and report him."

Mail carriers are vastly unappreciated and in 95 degree 80% humidity weather I don't feel like climbing the stairs.  "Okay."

Mom called yesterday because most of the booksellers in her area have already sold out of Blade, and she's mad.  "You get that publisher of yours on the phone and tell them they dropped the ball again," she said.  "It's only the first week and now people are having to order it?  That's just plain stupid."

Which is why I never give Mom any publisher phone numbers.  "Okay." 
  Jaysus:  A year ago I made a joke during a workshop about not staying in touch with what people like to read.  To illustrate what not to do, I used an example of a SF novel about poets composing sonnets (based on actual verse from Keats, Byron and Shelley) on Mars.  I figured that was such an outrageously dumb idea for a book that it made my point: don't retreat to an ivory tower and forget that there are a couple of billion people on the planet besides you.

Well, guess what.

I think I'm going to stop making up examples now. 
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
  FM is Back Online:  Looks like the site transitioned smoothly (yay Holly!) and things are back up and running.  I can't get into Chat from this computer but the community boards appear to be working fine.  I'm going over to test-post a few things now. 
  By Popular Demand:  The story I wrote last year when FM was disabled:

The Conference by S.L. Viehl

I parked the ton and a half truck I’d borrowed from the construction company and eyed my companion. “This will only take a couple of minutes.”

Two sets of eyelids blinked over saucer-sized yellow eyes. “That is what you said about the store of fodder.”

I nodded. “We’d have gotten out of there faster if you hadn’t tried to eat that man in the express line.”

“He had thirteen items and would not pay in coin.” TssVar opened the door and stepped out. Metal groaned as the truck rose three inches from the weight relief. “He deserved to die.”

I grabbed my purse and intercepted him before he got to the front entrance. “Just let me do the talking this time, okay?” I poked his upper left limb. “And no flashing your talons in her face.”

“She threatens the Designate.”

“No, she teaches the Designate.” I needed to explain second grade a little better when we got home. “It’ll be good for you to observe a human parent-teacher conference.”

“Is this teacher a Tingalean?”

“No, she’s human. We’re all human here.”

He studied the horizon. “Pity.”

“Come on.”

“Ms. Kelly.” Mrs. Brown met us at the classroom door. She hadn’t actually seen any Hsktskt yet, and the sound she made matched the color she turned as she lifted her gaze three feet. “And – and–”

“Overlord TssVar, Designate Protector and Supreme Commander of the Hsktskt Faction forces presently surrounding this miserable planet,” he snarled down at her.

“He’s Kathy’s godfather,” I tagged on.

“How nice.” She cleared her throat. “Please, come in.”

Since human furniture wouldn’t support the weight of an eight foot tall reptile, TssVar took up a position by the window while I sat beside the teacher’s desk. “You have no armed guards here. There are too many access routes. I will assign a detachment to erect energy barricades and secure the area for the Designate.”

“He’s just a little nervous about this,” I told Mrs. Brown. “First time.”

“I see.” With shaking hands she took out a notebook and flipped it to a page headed with my daughter’s name. “Well, the main reason I asked you to stop in is, Katherine is having a bit of a problem with the new reader we’ve started.”

That didn’t sound like Kath. “Is she struggling?”

TssVar hissed and knocked something over behind me. “I will dismember whoever distracts the Designate. Give me their names.”

“Oh, no! No,” Mrs. Brown said, pressing a hand against her throat. “She’s not struggling at all. It usually takes the class three weeks to read it, but she finished it the first day. If you have no objection, I’m going to place her in the third grade reading group.”

“Sure.” I looked over my shoulder. “Put the sword away, big guy.”

TssVar sheathed the four-foot long blade. “This room is too small for the Designate’s comfort. These furnishings are flimsy, and there are no slaves to attend her.”

I rolled my eyes at Mrs. Brown. “He comes from a slaver race. They tend to be a little spoiled.”

“Yes, well, there’s just this one more thing I needed to speak with you about.” She lowered her voice. “She keeps finding bugs and bringing them to me. Every day, after recess. I don’t want to discourage her, but . . . ”

“The Designate honors you thus,” TssVar said. “You should be grateful and devour them at once.”

“TssVar.” I shot him a warning look. To Mrs. Brown, I said, “That’s just her way of showing affection. I’ve got an extra aquarium at home, why don’t I bring it in? She can put the bugs in their and all the kids can look at them.”

The teacher beamed. “That’s a terrific idea.” She got up quickly. “And I know you and your . . . friend must be in a hurry, so I won’t keep you any longer.”

TssVar paused on the threshold of the classroom door and bent down, his black tongue flickering in the teacher’s face. “You will see that no harm comes to the Designate, or I will dine on your liver as it pulses in my hand.”

Mrs. Brown became Mrs. White.

I gave him a hard push. “Thanks for everything.”

Outside in the parking lot, a detachment of centurons stood guarding my truck. They saluted TssVar, then slung their rifles and piled back into the bed.

“You’re making some progress.” I got in and started up the engine. “You only threatened to kill her, what, twice? That has to be a record.”

“It is mildly diverting. Far superior to remaining in that storage cabinet you call home and watching you sew.” His brow ridges furrowed. “But why did you ask for the platoon to accompany us if you will not allow me to deploy them?”

“That’s our next stop.” I threw the truck into gear. “Now we go talk to my ex-husband.” 
Monday, August 11, 2003
  FM Kablooey Links:  Forward Motion is moving to its new home tomorrow, but in case there are problems I thought I'd post these links here (copied from the Kablooey Links page over at FM):

Backup Community Alternatives

First Choice -- EZBoard Crash Board (If this isn't working, try ...)
Last Choice -- Network54 Crash Board

Backup Chat Alternatives

First Choice -- Cato (Not great, but better than the alternatives) If this isn't working, your options are pretty grim. Either ...
Second Choice -- AOL IM Chat (You have to install AOL Instant Messenger for this room to work). Or, if you don't want to install AOL IM ...
Chat of Last Resort -- EZBoard Chat -- Linked from the lefthand side of the board. Says "Join Live Chat." It's a Java chat. It's LAME.

The Community Update List

FMCrash Notices -- This is nothing but notices of site problems, what we're doing, when we expect things to be fixed, and what we have going on in the meantime. It gets used about once every six months. But when you want to know, you want to know. No junk mail, no spam, no chat. You can sign up at the link. If you don't bookmark anything else, join this list. I'll include the links to all the other stuff in the first "We're crashed -- what do we do now?" notice.  
  Decisions, Decisions:  Sometime in the coming two-three weeks I have to decide what I'm going to be doing for the next three-four years.  All of it, too, not just little swatches of time I sell off to a publisher here or a publisher there.  Three pending contracts, two potential offers waiting in the wings, the agent prepping, me looking at time scheduling and general life navigation.  AKA major crunch time.

For me the first question is always do I want to keep doing this?  Prior to last year, my answer was a laughing Hell yeah because hey, this is my dream job.  Do you know what it takes to change that answer to Maybe, how much?  Do you really want to know, or do you want to preserve your illusions?

I'm not trying to be mean and scare you guys; I'm just getting into a very weird thoughtful mode.  I've accomplished a lot in the last five years.  Theoretically I could walk away after I finish my current contract obligations and end up with 25 books in print.  30 if you count my e-books (which I don't.)  That's a little less than half the books I've actually written, but a fairly respectable career total.  I could go back to doing it for fun in my spare time and maybe add a book or two every year to the total.

In five years I will not have the job alternatives I have now; so it's not simply what do I want to do for the next three-four years but what do I want to do with my life?  There are never any guarantees with this or any job, but pro writing is a bit riskier than most.  The publishing industry is interested in buying my novels but only as long as they make money for them.  If they don't, I'm history; and that will never change.

Next week my agent and I will discuss what I want to do, so I have seven days to determine what that is, exactly.  I want what is best for my kids.  I want some things to change.  I want to believe in the dream but handle the reality.  It's a lot to think about. 
  Got Verse?  No?  Try The Instant Muse Potery Generator. 
  Free Story Generator Software:  WriteSparks offers a free "Lite Version" download with seven story generators.  I took it for a test drive and it seems to be mainly a block breaker and story starter.  The download file is small so it's worth a look. 
  Bad Moon Rising:  Monday, full moon tonight, and it looks like we're in for nasty weather.  When life starts to imitate your favorite music, you'd better stop listening to Nirvana, right?  That sounded much more intelligent when I composed it over tea, toast and ibuprofen [breakfast of champion writers.]  
Sunday, August 10, 2003
  Sloganarama:  An interesting proposal came in that really, really tempts me.  One of my faithful readers (you know who you are) is a tshirt designer/manufacturer, and would like to do a line of shirts adorned with some of my more colorful comments, i.e.:

What's your problem?  I mean besides your face, your personality and the way you smell.

And personal philosophies:

The road to Hell isn't paved with good intentions, it's littered with them.

And, naturally, my friendly side:

Keep talking.  I always yawn like this when I'm riveted.

Ashleigh Brilliant I'm not, though, and most of my funnier stuff is too long for a tshirt.  Hey, maybe a line of designer insulting nightgowns.... 
  Found my camera:  Buried under a manuscript, what else.  Snapped some pics of the ATL quilt, as follows:

Tumbling Block Quilt, Circa 1930

For some reason I can't get my photoshop tuned to show the true colors, which are much deeper and richer than you see.  Could be the camera, too.

Border Work

The border should properly be called "crazy" but at this scale we tend to refer to it as "mosaic."  Look at how precise her diamond points are -- like they're mitered.

Silk velvet backing

You usually don't see quilts like this backed in velvet, and hardly ever in such a bright red.  Gives it a royal touch.

  Up and Adam:  It's a beautiful morning, the sun is shining (well, almost) and it's the perfect time to write.  Story is humming in my head.  Characters poised, ready to make much mayhem.  Tea pot filled and waiting.  Headset on standby.  The Great American Novel awaits!

And it will keep waiting, because I can't convince this cat to get his twenty pound butt off my lap.  
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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