Darn, I meant to type in…

Darn, I meant to type in another of those love letters today, but I forgot to do it this morning and now I'm on campus. Oh well -- maybe I'll remember tomorrow.

So out of my objectives for yesterday, I a) sorta wrote/sorta found a piece for fiction class, and b) researched the poetry. Wasn't actually much on the net -- will have to hit an actual library. :-) Didn't do the Sizzle thing, so that rolls over to today, and must also read Agnes Grey for fiction class (was supposed to have it read for yesterday but hadn't realized, oops.) Other things waiting -- domme interviews to rework, write some journal entries on Hemingway, finish mail (getting there), read the next book for my fiction class, and write a poem by 4:00 for poetry class. Think I'll attempt something in the ghazal style that I could possibly use for the novel. Would help if I had a definition of what a ghazal was -- all I have are some examples, and they are entirely unclear, but they appear to have been the predominant style in Mughal India (and to this current day).

Not much chatty to report...plans proceeding apace for combined Cliff/Sherman birthday party this coming Saturday, as well as preliminary plans for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre Cabaret and Speakeasy.... (I dislike Valentine's Day intensely, so every year I throw a party designed to give me and my friends something else to do. :-) Since I come from Chicago, having it be the St. Valentine's Day Massacre party was an easy step. I encourage all of you to copy the idea -- maybe someday *this* will be the predominant way of celebrating the holiday, rather than with Hallmark cards.

3:25 -- Well, did some research on airfares -- I can recommend Expedia (find them through Yahoo). Miss Kevin tons so am going to try to scrape up the money to go visit at the end of February. Would go sooner, but too busy with other commitments. Read about half of Agnes Grey, but that's really all I accomplished. Sleepy...hope I make it through this class. Hmmm...not much else to report. Going to take in "Emotion Triumphs Over Form" for teacher to look at -- was very definitely in a non-writing mood. Down to 9 mail messages!

Good morning! It’s a…

Good morning! It's a gorgeous day today -- not that the weather has been nearly as bad as what my friends in Chicago are experiencing, but it has been rather cold and rainy (yes, I like rain, but I prefer warm rain, which doesn't seem to happen out here. And thunderstorms, also sadly lacking) here. Today is bright and crisp and spring-like, and while it's way too early for spring, I can enjoy it anyway (and pretend :-).

Fairly satisfying day so far. Woke up early and came in to campus -- managed to work for an hour before my first class, and put together a synopsis of "Dreams" for my fiction class later today. Also printed out a copy of the entirety (148 pages and counting) and put it on reserve at the library in case anyone is completely enraptured by the synopsis. :-) Hmm...in case you're curious, I think I'll post it here. Warning -- it'll likely change a fair bit more before final publication -- it needs to at least double in length. And it's not really a synopsis -- more of a teaser. :-)

Synopsis of Dreams by Lamplight (working title)

This novel is told from several major points of view, switching between them. It's probably easiest to give you several separate synopses, from each major character's point of view. Aside from the personal level, it is also a tale of political conflict, so a brief history of the two main countries involved in this first novel (it will probably be a trilogy eventually, involving at least one other country) is probably in order.

The tale starts in Ranek, and moves back and forth between that country and Liella. The countries are very loosely based on India and Pakistan, and the setting is based on the Mughal era in our own history (a time of maharajahs, decadence, luxury and slavery). It is a fantasy novel, though without many of the characteristic elements of fantasy -- no elves, no dragons, no wizards. Instead, it is intended to be more along the lines of the magical realist tradition -- with folk tale and myth and everyday miracles and the presence of multiple gods blending (hopefully) seamlessly into the storyline.

Ranek -- the southern country, ruled by a mad Maharani (queen), Genea. A land of poison and intrigue, of sweltering heat and months of monsoon rain, of great luxury conjoined with leprosy, plague and poverty, where the "auction block was one of the gathering places of the city, where the rasas and their servants mingled with filthy beggars and holy men, immaculate Keshtiri fabric brushing against running sores and truncated limbs." A plethora of gods rule over the land, and it is the home of...

Radhika -- a young girl whose memory has been stolen, sold into slavery and trained as a high-class whore, a geisha-equivalent. Though rather bewildered at the beginning, she quickly resolves to escape. Not as easily as she had hoped, after some years she does escape to the north with the help of...

Daniv -- ambassador from Liella. A man somewhat out of his depth in the intrigues of the court, he would much rather spend his days working with the soil on his estate, yet his noble position and affection for King Nolan have sent him south to investigate the murder of Queen Kierstena and dance attendance on...

Genea -- mad, bad, and totally unpredictable. A woman with insatiable appetites and immense power, she keeps her rasas (princes) on their toes, especially...

Menna -- a woman who by virtue of her wit and courage has risen to the position of prince, and must now walk a precarious line to maintain that position -- or lose her head. She grows increasingly troubled by the insanity of Genea, and her friendship with Daniv eventually leads her to a traitorous offer of alliance with...

Liella -- the cool northern country, whose monotheistic people still grieve for the loss of their queen, recently lost to a southern poison. Nolan is determined to avenge his wife's death, and is stirring up his people for war. Of course the war is entirely for honor and vengeance -- it couldn't possibly have anything to do with economic reasons, or the machinations of the gods, one of whom controls...

Amesty -- a young poet and singer, accompanied by Arjun who loves but doesn't understand her. Raised in the house of Am'kele, the god of love, she falls further and further into madness herself.

That's it. Sound like fun? It is -- I'm enjoying it immenseley. Very frustrating at points, of course, but nonetheless, fascinating. I don't remember if I've talked to you guys about this -- I was very stuck on this novel for a while. Grad school has, as I'd hoped, unstuck me, and given me lots of cool new ideas for it. It has also turned the darn thing from a slim novel to the beginning of a trilogy -- ah well.

Good class this morning -- still discussing Hemingway. I really liked a story of his called "The End of Things". "Cat in the Rain" was also pretty good...not going to go into detail about them 'cause I'm a bit talked out on Hemingway right now. :-)

So the plan for today is a) write 3-5 new pages on the novel for 2:30 class (not essential, as I do have some new material I can use, but it would be good to write more, of course), b) do some research on ancient Indian poetry, as I want to use some in the novel. Originally I was going to write my own...but I don't know that I can really simulate the style I want very well. We'll see., c) write the new Sizzle story. This set of photos centers around a garage, oh excitement. :-) Oh, and try to get through a bit of e-mail -- it's starting to pile up again.

That's about it for now -- off to work. Have a good day, y'all.

12:30 -- This is too, too funny. The Sexuality Pet Shop Sketch

1:45 -- Have a copy of my book? Want to help publicize it? Try writing a review of it, and submitting it to various magazines, etc. Here's one good site -- the INDOlink book reviews. Thanks!

Hello, everyone. …

Hello, everyone. Nothing exciting in my life to report (bought a tablecloth and some napkins and a pillow today, oh excitement (actually, it was strangely satisfying. :-)). Instead, I think I'll type in something I just read....I bought a book of love letters today, and some of them are just gorgeous. It's impossible to avoid the thought of Valentine's Day (how I loathe that holiday), so I can at least indulge it in literary fashion. Hope you enjoy...

Alfred de Musset to George Sand (1833)

My dear George,
I have something stupid and ridiculous to tell you. I am foolishly writing you instead of telling you this, I do not know why, when returning from that walk. Tonight I shall be annoyed at having done so. You will laugh in my face, will take me for a phrase-maker in all my relations with you hitherto. You will show me the door and you will think I am lying. I am in love with you.

Alfred de Musset

(I admit it, it's true, I'm a hopeless romantic....)

Hiya! Lots of web page…

Hiya! Lots of web page stuff today, mostly working on my stories page. Added a few stories and a pile of reviews. Enjoy!

Not much else new -- finished the Eddings and am planning to get back to the Windling collection. Had a good Modern Fiction class this morning, and I can feel my rather prejudiced views on Hemingway being twisted. :-)

Going to try to get more work done -- an interesting note -- apparently Backdoor BBS has violated my copyright (assuming that all this isn't public domain, which is an other argument entirely) and published a CD-ROM for-profit with my material. Bad company. Will have to see what, if anything, can be done about it. Looks like they're chraging $65 for the CD -- they can surely afford to pay the writer something...

2:30 - Added a bunch of funny stuff to the Amusing section of my home page. Fingers tired. Going to go eat something, read a little. Pretty close to done with updating web stuff -- which means I soon must dive into the stack of mail. :(

Hey, guys. Not so much…

Hey, guys. Not so much to report -- I did manage to finish that Sizzle piece, finally, and it looks like I might be getting some more work from them, which is good, 'cause my finances are somewhat tight this year. I've had a lot of trouble getting the interviews in place for the Puritan piece -- not sure yet if that's going to happen or not. We'll see.

Finished In Our Time, the Hemingway collection of short stories. Interesting, and I really liked a few of the stories. It was a bit confusing though, since at times he seemed to be following one character, and other times diverged wildly, so it was always unclear whether Nick was in fact the same Nick (for instance). I'll go into more detail on this in my journal once I talk to Tom (professor) about how he wants them done.

A slow day today, mostly cleaning my room and getting my finances back in order (the delay on the government check caused an unholy mess). All fixed now, I think. In a couple of days I should know whether I can afford to take some time in late February to visit Kevin in Chicago. I'd also like to spend some time with Lisette -- her mother died recently, and I've been feeling guilty that I couldn't be with her. She's coping, but still. Also reading chapters of Eddings' Belgarath, the Sorcerer in between work -- a very light, pleasant read. Nothing actually new, since he told us all of this in history form before, but it's interesting reading it in narrative (and interesting seeing how he can milk an entire other book out of it :-). Glad Sherman lent it to me, since I probably won't buy a copy.

My schedule's going to be a bit funny this semester, since if I take this Writing Poetry class, I won't have class on Wednesday's until 4:00. Feels a bit odd, but it's probably good for me. Since I have 9:30 classes Tuesday and Thursday, I'll stay in the habit of getting up early, which means that Wednesday will be a good day to do things around the house. Anyway, I'm just babbling, since I have nothing exciting to say, so I should probably go back to reading, or maybe head in to campus a little early. Talk to y'all later...

3:55 - Got to run to class -- just wanted you to know that I've added a new story and some reviews to the stories page.

Yikes. Sorry for the…

Yikes. Sorry for the long delay -- I knew it had been a while, but hadn't realized how long! I didn't write much at the beginning of last week, because there really wasn't much to say -- after Kevin left to go back to Chicago (his advisor decided to move *back* to Chicago, argh!), I spent a while moping, cleaning my house, and reading a lot. Basically settling back in at home after being away for so long.

Then I was gone over the weekend down in L.A. (Buena Park, actually) for ConFurence. Lots of fun (I generally enjoy cons), and I sold five copies of my book, got to spend a fair bit of time with old friends (Peter and Steve) and finally met Elf Sternberg (ref: recommended erotica page). He's much as I pictured him -- cute and friendly and extremely vivacious. We ran a couple of panels on writing erotica, which went quite well, and I attended some other panels (the one on children's writing had some useful marketing tips (eg., you have to write your story in sets of four pages -- but keep in mind that you may lose a couple at the beginning for credits, title page, end sheets)).

Perhaps the most fun at a panel was when Elf started us brainstorming on a plot line. We ended up with a generation ship, a young female avian protagonist, her family lost in a major accident along with many other crewmembers, second generation, she's a navigator (just finished schooling/training) and one of the few left after the accident so there's pressure on her to mate and reproduce, she's fostered out to a feline family, and possibly falls in love with their female daughter (bringing up all sorts of lovely issues :-). She may also be indirectly responsible for the accident -- or at least blame herself for not being there. We agreed that we'd each write the first chapter of a novel based on this plotline, and they'd all send them to me and I'd put them up here -- we'll see if anyone follows through on this. :-)

Classes started today -- not sure what I'm taking, but probably at least Modern American Fiction, Writing Poetry and Early Music Ensemble. I'm also tempted by Writing Fiction and Asian American Lit (both meeting at the same time!) and auditions tonight for Midsummer Night's Dream (a Noh production, which should be interesting). I don't really act, but I do love Shakespeare, so maybe I can fake it... If I do try out, I need to prepare a comic monologue by rehearsal time -- or do a cold reading. Short on time, so I'll probably go with the cold reading. Or I may just go home after class -- still pretty tired from the Con, and I really probably don't need to commit to another major activity, much as I enjoy theatre.

For the Modern Fiction class, I'm supposed to keep a writing journal. I think I may keep it here to help motivate me to do it -- I get really lazy about such things. Feel free to ignore it entirely -- it probably won't interest most of you. If you are interested, the reading list for the course is:

  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
  • Will Cather, The Professor's House
  • William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
  • Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
  • Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek
  • Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
I've read the Pynchon, and I've been meaning to read the Ellison for a while (a very long while -- I think Kev gave me a copy not last Christmas but the one before, eep). I've reading some Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises), but not In Our Time, and the rest of the reading list is new to me (also read Morrison's The Bluest Eye). We'll see how it goes. I'm a little nervous -- I've been devoted to the Renaissance and Medieval period for so long -- modern fiction is a big gap in my education.

Guess that's it for now -- I have some time this afternoon, so will finish In Our Time (read half of it over lunch -- very quick read), finish the collection of short stories I'm working on (Black Thorn, White Rose), and try to write that damn Sizzle story. Had a bunch of computer problems in my attempts to work on it -- not sure what's up with that. If I have time left before class, I'll probably do a bit more stuff on this web page -- I'm quite behind. Ditto e-mail. Have a good week, you guys...

12:40 - Well, I didn't win the Celestial Story Contest (3), but I thought I might as well show y'all my entry any way. I had a lot of trouble with voice, perhaps unsurprisingly, in Lady Distressed.

Also got a funny piece of mail directing me to a neat new scientific advance -- a quantum computer that runs on coffee! -- Very cute, but I bet it'd be even better in tea....

1:05 - Added Course Evaluations of the Damned; Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books; What Engineers Do With Time on Their Hands; and If I Ever Become an Evil Overlord:.

Hey, everyone. Hope…

Hey, everyone. Hope your Monday's aren't *too* awful. I'm still on break, so it can't be that bad. Had a pretty good weekend - after Kev left, Karina stayed and visited a few more days, which was nice. She left yesterday, and I have to admit, it's kind of nice to settle back into real life again after the holidays. I had been feeling very itchy to start working and rather antisocial. I did catch up on some phone calls last night -- talked to David for a couple of hours, and hope to reach Lisette and Kirsten tonight.

Trying to deal with backlogged e-mail today, and finish the Sizzle story. I'm writing a little piece to go with the photos they have on file, and it's frustrating, because the photos are so obviously unrealistic, and very difficult to make into a coherent story. Oh well. Also need to try to reach some more people for the dominatrix article -- way behind on that. At least theoretically. Don't think I ever set a date with the editor.

Better et to work, but I thought I'd repost something here I just sent to the erotica workshop list, in case any of you were interested.

A challenge, a challenge! I'm going to try this, I think -- anyone else up for it? If you do, then mail your subs to Celeste at the address below (if anyone isn't familiar with her, Celeste twice weekly reviews stories from alt.sex.stories on alt.sex.stories.d. A very nice lady). I'm a little unclear if we're supposed to fit in all 20 words or only 10 - so I'm shooting for 20. The deadline is in just a few days. - Mary Anne

From: celeste801@aol.com (Celeste801)
Newsgroups: alt.sex.stories.d
Date: 11 Jan 1997 22:22:37 GMT

Note: I want to remind you of my Third Annual Celestial Writing Contest. The story can be of any length, but students (say, in an English class) should reasonably be able (and eager) to read it three times in one week. The purpose of the story is to combine learning with pleasure - that is, to teach vocabulary in the context of a creative sex story. The story should use all of the words on the following list. Preferably, it should use them in creative ways that enable learners to see their meaning in context, and it should use the words more than once - in fact, as often as possible without becoming silly. The story should not be obviously didactic - that is, it should be a story about sex, not about learning these words.

The deadline is January 15. I have already received one excellent entry and have the promise of another from a very good writer. Please feel free to take a shot at this. Here are the words (all taken from one of those SAT study lists): acerbic, adept, ameliorate, apocryphal, assuage, blithe, constrict, credulous, dilatory, egregious, fatuous, guile, hedonism, impervious, incipient, irascible, lethargy, mundane, prolific, redundant.

All 20 of these are words that intelligent people use when the context calls for them (Quite possibly I may have used them here in Celestial Reviews.), but most high school students have no idea what they mean. They are useful words; and if you write a story with them, at the very least YOU will probably learn some functional vocabulary words.

A few authors have commented that some of the words are difficult to work into a sex story. My advice is to consider the possibility of ironic usage. For example, my husband's irascible tongue has done some wonderful things to my clitoris; and we have spent some lethargic mornings in the sack. If you really cannot fit one or two words into the story, submit it anyway; a "10" story with only 8 words will fare better in my judgment than an "8" story with all 10 words forced into it. A couple of authors have told me that "acerbic" is not sexy. Don't tell that to the Ng sisters, whose banter in their stories is often pleasantly acerbic but still very sexy.

Okay, I’m much calmer…

Okay, I'm much calmer today. Mostly because my publisher, Dale Larson, is such a sweetie that he's wiring me a loan for the money I need. How many publishers would do that, huh? A big hand for Dale, everyone!

Otherwise, all is going pretty well. I finished two of the stories I had on contract for today (the ones for Jonathan which were appallingly overdue), and I should have the Sizzle one done by tomorrow morning. Was supposed to be done today, but I brought the wrong disk in -- oh well.

This morning was really funny - in retrospect. While doing dishes I managed to break one of Ellison's glasses, then later on I was so brilliant that I used a plastic colander to steam some potatoes (of course, the plastic melted all over the potatoes, the pan, the burner (and, of course, it was Ellison's colander)), and not long after that, I managed to burn a chunk of my hair. Yuck. Ever smelled burnt hair? Doesn't burn very fast, luckily, but it stinks horribly. Also managed to knock over a container of parmesan (very stale) while cleaning out the fridge. Decided that I really wasn't meant to be in the kitchen this morning. :-)

Anyway, best get going. Karina is waiting to drag me to the gym (yes, she actually exercises. And she's going to make me do it too. Help....) and then gotta go home and make dinner (probably leftovers, actually) and then get ready for a birthday party at Jodi's. Have a good weekend, everyone -- I'll try to check in. The plan for this weekend and the upcoming week I'm going to be trying to talk local stores in to carrying my book -- Valentine's day is coming up, after all.

Argh. Aaaarrrrggghhhh! …

Argh. Aaaarrrrggghhhh! Consider that repeated several times, please.

See, the people in the financial aid office (someone there, anyway) told me in Decemeber that I'd get my nice big student loan check on January 9th. Talked to them today, and it turns out that they won't give it to me 'til January 21st, first day of classes. Rent is due and I'm pretty close to broke, so I get to spend today hustling my friends for a loan. Argh argh argh.

*yawn* Morning,…

*yawn* Morning, everyone. It's too early. For some reason my body decided it only needed six hours of sleep, so I'm up at 7 again, and wanting to go back to bed. Oh well. Feeling a bit mopey. Kevin goes back to grad school today (Chicago, not Philly, because his advisor decided to move *back* -- it's a long story). Also, almost all the mail I got this morning was either routine or depressing. A list member (not one I knew well) on one of my mailing lists died, and it's only chance that we know about it at all. Wonder how many others just disappeared into the mist. Kind of a bummer.

Eh. Don't want to bring y'all down too, so I'd better go. Finished Pat's book, (excellent) and am now starting on an anthology of retold fairy tales by Datlow and Windling. Looks promising. We'll see.

On the good side, I'm finally getting around to making some updates in my pages that I've been meaning to do for a while. Watch for new things all over. I also wrote a couple more pages of Dreams yesterday -- first writing I've done over the holidays. I'm starting to itch to work -- enough lollygagging.