What's New Archive

What's New - December, 2003

(Click here to go back to the Archive index)

Wednesday December 31, 2003

Talking with Taleweaver

Wow, I get the last ramble of the year! Cool!

Tonight I’ve been thinking about how fast this past year has slipped away. There’s been a lot that’s changed for me, both professionally and privately. I was offered a job at a cross stitch shop in the spring, and I was thrilled.

When I found out the boss was grooming me for the manager position with the intent to open another store in another location, I was beyond words. I was flattered and honoured. I even quit smoking! (It’s not pleasant to buy your cross stitch fabric from someone who smells of cigarettes.) Over the course of the year, I learned a lot. My boss became my friend, and I met my boys’ benefactor who we jokingly refer to as Saint Jackie.

After three years of nasty fighting, my ex-husband and I, and my current partner, have gotten to a point where we can at least be sincerely civil now. It’s a weird feeling.

In the fall, I was offered a job at my Community Centre, at a higher rate of pay than my last contract there. Now if I could just get the Community Worker position…

The spring held yet another first for me; my book A Thousand Shades of Feeling saw publication! The thrill of holding your book in your hands goes beyond words. There really is no easy way to describe it. It is one of those moments in time that the world should stop, you know? Just to allow you to savour the moment. Nevertheless, your work isn’t done there, and the world really does keep moving.

I hope that your year has been one of growth for you, and I hope that this next year brings us all peace and success, no matter how you measure it.

  • You Looked At Me By Amanda Calkins posted on The Royal Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Turning Tides By A. K. Naten posted on The Athenaeum (Beyond Uber Alt)

Tuesday December 30, 2003

The New Year is almost upon us. I enjoy New Year's Day but not for any kind of reflective feelings about surviving another year. I like what we eat that day.

For the longest time we always had ham and black-eyed peas plus assorted other veggies on New Year's Day. Eating black-eyed peas for good luck is a Southern thing and I've always respected it even when I lived far away from family. Mike and I would go so far as to buy a can of black-eyed peas and eat a spoonful on New Year's Day just so we wouldn't jinx ourselves. Weird I know, but it's hard to break the habit of a lifetime.

But the last four years we've ditched the ham dinner and instead cook a huge Mexican food feast. This idea was inspired by my grandma who was born in Mexico and makes the best cheese enchiladas and tacos. She's not as spry as she used to be so now I get to be the chief enchilada and taco maker. My cheese enchiladas aren't quite as good as hers yet but I keep plugging away. The tacos are easy so I've achieved success with those already.

But what about the black-eyed peas? Never fear. My mom found a recipe for Mexican style black-eyed peas. It's pretty good and fulfills our need for that shot of luck for the new year.

Y'all have a safe and fun New Year's Eve and a relaxing New Year's Day.


  • She, My Home By Coleskilla posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • The Camp Reunion By Kim Baldwin posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "Kerry is full of nervous anticipation as she nears the place that harbors her most precious growing-up memories: the all-girls camp where she spent every summer until she graduated college. She didn't realize it back then, but it was also the place where she met the woman she believes is her soulmate. The question is, will the object of her long-held crush attend the upcoming Camp Reunion? And if she does, can the chemistry that bonded them as best friends be rekindled into something more?"

Monday December 29, 2003

I have had a totally lazy couple of days. The holidays are good for that. Unfortunately my house looks like I've been lazy. I must buckle down and become the domestic goddess once again or we'll be overtaken by clutter and that's no fun at all.

Let's see...any news to relate? Hmm...The Athenaeum has been collecting suggestions for Favorite Christmas Stories. Check them out if you get a chance.

You can still vote on the Academy Challenge #10: Do You See What I Hear.

And in not so fun news, Jules Kurre will be closing her web site on January 6, 2004. Be sure and let her know how much you've enjoyed her fiction.

Small update today but it's a good one.


  • You Looked at Me By Amanda Calkins posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "A short story on love and life."

Saturday December 27, 2003

I hope everyone's holidays are moving along smoothly. Mine, surprisingly enough, have gone quite well. I made it through Christmas Day although most of my time was spent in kitchen limbo. You know, when you're kitchen helper number one and get stuck in the kitchen cooking for hours and hours. Then the time comes to eat and it takes a fraction of the time to eat the food that it took to cook the damn stuff. And, of course, you've got the additional clean up time which adds to your time in kitchen limbo. As a result, my big family holidays operate on a weird sort of time scale.

Let's see...today we finally went to see Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Of course, being a big ol' geek, I liked it. I'm kind of sad to see the trilogy end though. Now in terms of geek movies I've got very little to look forward to each year. Okay, Spider-man 2 is coming up. And I hear they're making a third X-Men movie so there's something. I can't look forward to the third Star Wars prequel though. The first one was a little bit boring and, I'm sorry, but... midichlorians? Whose bright idea was that? Someone spank George Lucas for that. And don't get me started on The Clone Wars. I can't believe that Amidala would fall in love with someone as whiny and geeky as Anakin Skywalker. Again, spankings are in order for that travesty.

And the final item in this incredibly random ramble, Ceri Murray aka Muzza has a brand new web site. Check it out if you get the chance.


Friday December 26, 2003

Today's updates. Enjoy.     Mjay

Wednesday, Dec 24, 2003


I've been thinking lately about traditions, ever since my seven year old (Shandon) had to do an assignment for school. It got me wondering what traditions I've handed down to my boys. Tonight we went driving around our community to look at Christmas lights, then came home so the boys (between my partner and I, we have three of them) could open one gift each. Of course they all enjoyed the gifts they chose, and as I write the two youngest are in bed ... not sleeping. I was raised in the Native tradional way, and we loved Christmas. I remember my mother and I would bake for weeks before the big day, freeze most of the goodies, and then put our feet up at night. I remember the chaos involved in putting up the tree, stringing the lights and finding all those little hooks. I remember we would have homemade gifts more often than not. Warm sweaters, and freaky-coloured socks, squares for the quilt/blanket that is still under construction to this day, and a variety of doodads for my Dad's workbench, slippers for my brother, and ... ahhhh, memories. I hope that you take some time to think about the traditions you keep at your house, and be sure and pass at least one down to your young relatives, whether they be your children, your nieces, nephews, cousins or grandchildren. May you all have a peaceful, joyous and loving holiday. And if you find yourself alone this holiday season, remember that none of us are ever truly alone. You have your friends here at Beyond Uber to keep you company!

  • Coming Home By Patty S. posted on Dragon's Quill and Ink (Beyond Uber Alt)

Tuesday December 23, 2003

I'm going to cop out on my ramble today because I don't really think you want to be treated to a ramble about the joys of three days of gall bladder problems. Trust me. Not a fun thing. So, in place of my ramble I'm including this bit of filler I recently read in The Oklahoma Observer. It's cute and, let me tell ya, I can so relate....

A woman is renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk's office. Asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation, Emily hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job, or are you just a...?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped Emily. "I'm a mother."

"We don't list mother as an occupation...housewife covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high-sounding title like "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."

"What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it, I do not know. The words simply popped out. "I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words.

Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters (the whole darned family) and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it).

"But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7 and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model (six months) in the child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another mother."

Motherhood...what a glorious career. Especially when there's a title on the door. Send this to another Mother you know. Whether a stay at home Mom or a career Mom, we should all carry this title.

Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations" and great grandmothers Executive Senior Research Associates"? I think so! I also think it makes aunts "Assistant Research Associates".

Well, I won't be chatting at y'all for the next couple of days so have a great holiday! Oh, and here's something nice to look forward to tomorrow. Taleweaver is going to be handling the Wednesday update for a little while so be sure and drop her a thank you e-mail.


  • Clonefic Part 1 By Phantombard posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "(44 pages, part 1 of 3, Revised Version). The TV series, Xena Warrior Princess gave rise to a number of memorable characters. First are Xena, the Warrior Princess, and her soulmate, Gabrielle, the Amazon Queen. Perhaps the most popular variations on their characters are Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas. Beyond these four archetypal figures stand Annie and Mattie and the Clones. The episode settings imply that Annie and Mattie are contemporaries of the Clones, with all four living in modern times, but the souls of Xena and Gabrielle seem to reside with Annie and Mattie. So, what of the Clones? Who are they, really? Are they merely simulacra, or the closest things to Xena and Gabrielle in the modern world? Consulting "Bring In The Clones" for their backstory leaves some gaping holes and suggests some answers. It is from those answers that this story grows. The story demands a more plausible history for the Warrior Princess and the Bard of Potidaea. Previously, all we knew about Xena and Gabrielle came from the TV series. Their adventures were dramatized by the production company from translations of scrolls found by Covington and Pappas. Only now can the truth be told, by those individuals who can lay claim to it in the first person. Meet the real soulmates. (Revised Version 11/30/2003, original contest version, 2/27/2003)."

Monday December 22, 2003

Ramble...ramble...what the heck should I ramble about? Let's look at the word "ramble" shall we?

1. To move about aimlessly.
2. To walk about casually or for pleasure.
3. To follow an irregularly winding course of motion or growth.
4. To speak or write at length and with many digressions.

Hmm...the fourth definition seems the most applicable to what we do here at BU. A problem arises, however, when one has nothing to ramble about. Yep, I am rambleless. My last few rambles have been mostly complaining about the holidays so I can't do that anymore. Umm...cursing would be good about now but I won't subject you to that.

Dum de dum...let's see...any news out there in fiction land? Trish Shields has just released Inferno through Baycrest Books. And KG MacGregor has signed with Cavalier Press to publish Malicious Pursuit.

Have y'all voted on the Royal Academy of Bards' Bards Challenge X: Do You See What I Hear?

Well, that's my ramble and I'm stickin' to it.


Sunday December 21, 2003

Guess what? I'm off the hook for rambling! This one is a Guest Fan Ramble from a friend of mine.

First off, I would like it to be known I did this because I was asked, but I made the deal with Tamara that she would be required to post anything I wrote, those were my terms to help her out and write this, so this one is all me.

Updates and rambles, we read them daily, but do we ever think about how they come to be? Who sets this up? Who picks the bards? Well four days a week it's Tamara.

She volunteers her time and energy in contacting and organizing these updates. And when she can't get a bard to come forward and ramble she creates one herself. You know I always wondered about Tamara, but now I know, because I am lucky enough to call her my friend. Saturday we were chatting and she told me she had no guest bards lined up for today and that she had no idea what to ramble about . She said I should guest ramble. Right, like what would I talk about?

Well later on it hit me, I'll talk about Tamara. The little glimpses her rambles provided left me intrigued. What's she like beyond Beyond Uber? I figured I cannot be the only one out here who was curious as to why some straight woman (mind you very bendy) would be doing all these updates for fan fiction. You know when I first heard of her my partner and I were both like "how straight can she be reading all of these stories and doing these updates?"

You know what, she is straight. And as many of us have now gotten to know her, she really is who you see four days a week. She has a great husband, who is as interesting and as intelligent as she is. Add her two sons and you have the family and a great one at that.

Her rambles reflect her better than you think. Her incredible sense of humor is always visible and if you look you will see her compassion and intelligence throughout as well. And for the record Tamara is really as nice as she comes across.

She also has a delightfully wicked side that doesn't crop up very much. But if you are on any of the lists in which Tamara belongs to you know exactly what I am referring to. She is a large fan of cats and their abilities. And she makes hair trimming experiences much more fun.

So let's all remember once in a while to say thanks these to folks that do all of these updates for us. Not just Tamara but all of them, even the different update lists. I know I rely on them and obviously you do too, because you're reading my ramble.

Also a note to all of you bards out there. When you get that very nice form letter from Tamara about rambling, do it, ramble and send it to her. First off we all love the bard rambles and it has introduced me to a lot of you, so the exposure should be worth something. Secondly Tamara can use the break. And for the rest of us readers, go read, but don't forget about feedback, it's only fair. They spent the time to write it we can spend the minutes it takes to comment on it.


Okay, now you've got proof that I always do what I'm told. I promised I'd post Elisa's ramble no matter what and I did. Even if it is a trifle embarrassing. Hey, thank Elisa for rambling. I really had no clue what to ramble about today and she did me a big, big favor.


  • Part 2 of Wild By Kim Pritekel & Alexa Hoffman posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)

Saturday December 20, 2003

I'm slowly but surely getting everything done for these steenkin' holidays. Can you tell I'm ready for it all to be over? I am. How sad, huh?

My orgy of cookie making is over. My mom helped, which was great because alone I probably would have taken twice as long. Calvin is not the best helper. He likes cookies. A lot. In fact it's probably the word he says the best, next to "bubbles" and of course "mommy" and "daddy". So when the cookies are cooling on the table he likes to get right up there and grab a few. Unfortunately he's not discriminating and grabs them even when he really isn't hungry and the hot ones get dropped really quick.

But I'm done with that and cookies have been doled out. I've resigned myself to the fact that out-of-state friends are going to get their presents late. And the final few people on my presents list are going to have an Amazon.com Christmas. Yep, I'm going the easy route and giving gift certificates. I love getting gift certificates but I know most people see that as a cop-out. Well, I'm copping out this year, baby, and I'm proud of it. I'll be done and that's all that concerns me at this point in the game. Next year I will be more organized but this year is a total wash.

Okay, on to less gripey subjects.... Ooh, I saw a good movie yesterday. It's called Bubba Ho-tep. It stars Bruce Campbell as a geriatric Elvis Presley and Ossie Davis as a fellow nursing home resident who also thinks he's John F. Kennedy. The two must work together to defeat an evil soul-sucking mummy who's knocking off denizens of the nursing home where they reside. If you get a chance, go see this movie. Bruce Campbell is hilarious and it's just good old-fashioned fun.


Friday December 19, 2003

Today's updates. Enjoy.     Mjay

Thursday 18 December, 2003

Update by Peggy

Counting down to the holidays, enjoy today's selection of fine reading.

  • Second Chance at Forever By xfbard [alt/semi-uber/unfinished] posted on The Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    Gabrielle Channon is a fiction writer who meets with Agent Xena Demakis while doing research for her latest book, the chemistry between them is immediate, however, Agent Demakis seems a bit hesitant. It is up to Gabrielle to draw the striking Xena out of her self-imposed exile and open her up to a new world of romance.
    Along the way they hit a few bumps in the road, all of which may lead them to a chance at a life that is filled with happiness.
    Chapter 1 of a ongoing story.

  • Echoes of the Night, part 9 By Mavis Applewater [alt/uber/unfinished] posted on The Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    Whispering Pines series, the Captain disrupts Anna and Catherine's plans for the Holiday and Shawn meets an intriguing stranger.

  • Pathfinder, part 9 By Windstar & at3 sparky [alt/original/unfinished] posted on The Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)

Wednesday December 17, 2003

Great news! It's time for a Guest Bard Ramble. And we've got us another virgin rambler so give her a warm welcome.

OK... I've been asked to ramble lol... ain't got a clue what to ramble about so if it sucks... sorry. You know, I've been coming to this site religiously since it opened so I was well pleased when I was finally asked to ramble. I'm not sure if many of you even remember me now, it's been years since my last story was posted.

I started writing when I was really young because it's always been a hobby of mine. In 1997, when I was 17, I posted my first story, Away from Home. The story I'm most well known for, I think, is Young At Heart, which was my first venture in Uber/Original fiction in 1998. It took me over a year to write and I've been working on the sequel ever since and all I've written is about 5 chapters. I've been suffering from writers block and it's totally doing my head in.

A lot of people at first found my stories a little confusing and it was funny getting email off people saying you spelt "color" wrong or "favorite isn't spelt with a u." It was only after I told them I was British they realised we spelt words differently. I even had a lecture about a 16 year old having sex because it's illegal. In the end I put in the disclaimers that the last was different over here.

I have finally started to work on a new story though. Unfortunately it hasn't got a title yet so I'm posting it as Untitled at Present, which I hate doing. All the instalments will only be posted to my list at groups.yahoo.com/groups/Muzza_s/ (shameless plug) so if you want to be kept up to date feel free to join... This story in a way is sort of autobiographical... not in the sense that what's happening in the story actually happened to me (wish it did) but it uses a lot of my background knowledge and some of my experiences as the foundation for the story. I've been in marching bands since I was 4 and people tell me to write what I know... band is what I know. So if you find that sort of thing interesting, or even if you don't, then go ahead and read my story and send me feedback.

Ok to finish off I'm gonna make a recommendation... It was my birthday on the 12th of December and I was supposed to be going out for a meal with my parents. My mother cancelled on me so me and my dad went for a Chinese meal... just after we had finished my mother phoned and said she still wanted to come out for a drink... So we got to the pub and she informed us that she was looking forward to the meal because she hadn't eaten all day... we didn't have the heart to tell her we'd already eaten so we ordered again... Talk about completely stuffed.... I thought they were gonna have to roll me out of the pub. So my recommendation to you is never eat more than one full meal a day... no matter how much they pay you.

Hopefully I'll be asked back to ramble again one day and I'll see you then.

(aka Robyn Jones or Muzza)

All of Ceri's stories can be found on-line at her discussion group or at The Athenaeum. I've read the first part of Ceri's new story and it looks like it's going to be a good one. She really does want some feedback on it, however, so I encourage you to join her group if you're interested in helping out a young bard. Please thank Ceri for rambling. She did a fantastic job for her first time and I know you'll be seeing her rambling again.


  • Vanilla By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "The second story in what became a small series of short stories that I've come to call my "desserts", sequel to Chocolate. It's New Year and Sarah plans on spending it alone, she just has one shop left to visit."

  • Ice Cream By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "The third story of my "desserts", follows Vanilla. Preparations are made for a very special evening, but will she dare to go through with her plans?"

  • Ginger By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "The fourth short story of the "desserts", follows Ice Cream. A new neighbourhood can offer quite a few surprises... if you're a cat."

  • A Ladyhawkeüber By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "A very short über-joke, sprung from the "what if we'd write a Ladyhawke/XWP über" question."

  • Part 1 of Turning Tides By AK Naten posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "Love is rarely perfect... sometimes it seems impossible. A young woman leaves her troubled past, determined to start a new life in a new city. When she becomes hopelessly entangled with a domineering, emotionally embattled individual, she doesn?t know if it?s a dream come true, or her worst nightmare. Chapters 1-29 posted in 5 parts, total of 55 chapters when complete.

  • Flash Point By KD Bard posted on The Athenaeum (Beyond Uber Alt)
    This is a corrected version of this previously posted story. It also has an expanded ending.

Monday December 15, 2003

Well, it's been one full day with the tree up. Much to my surprise Calvin has not developed a destructive obsession with the tree. He spent a little time this morning pulling off random ornaments and losing their hooks. As the day progressed and he grew more used to the tree's presence, he was content to point and touch. I'm not so sure the presents are going to fare as well. Espcecially the presents with bows on them.

Our Christmas train that we put around the tree every year has not been quite so lucky when it comes to escaping Cal. He does just fine when it's running around the track. Okay, occasionally he'll put his foot in the path of the train causing it to derail. But the train is most vulnerable when it's not moving. I'll walk by the tree and from the corner of my eye spy Cal sitting by the train like some mutant giant baby from a 1950s B movie. The train and its stuffed toy occupants are strewn around the track. The fake coal car housing the batteries is open and the batteries have all been removed with one usually ending up in Cal's mouth. I must have hunted batteries a couple of times today because he likes to cart them around and drop them at random points around the house.

Ah well, I shouldn't complain. I should be thankful Cal isn't a cat. I hear they're murder on Christmas trees.


  • Part 1 of Wild By Kim Pritekel & Alexa Hoffman posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "Zac Mitchell returns after six years on the rails to her life in the woods in Maine, only to discover the young girl that occupied her mind and kept her sane has grown up. Abel Cohen, a 19-year-old college student, who remembers when she played at her parents' summer cabin as a child, finds that perhaps an old childhood ghost isn't a ghost at all."

  • Love by Life By Red Hope posted on The Athenaeum (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Coming Home By Patty S. posted on Dragon's Quill and Ink (Beyond Uber Alt)
    Taleweaver says, "As I stare down the ripe old age of 35, I bring you a very moving tale penned by Patty S., (who I hope I can still call a friend) about death, rebirth and promises kept. It comes with my highest recommendation! When you've read the story, might I recommend you use the author's email link at the top of the story and let her know what you thought? I know she would appreciate hearing from you."

Sunday December 14, 2003

The tree is up! It went so fast with everyone helping. And Mike running to Dollar General for batteries and taking Calvin with him made it move along even more quickly. Cal was fascinated by the ball ornaments and just could not keep his hands off the things. And he has an annoying habit of eating boxes, which drove me absolutely insane.

This is the first year Duncan didn't poop out on me. He actually stuck with me to the bitter end although we didn't put all of the ornaments on the tree. Next year we'll need a bigger tree 'cause I've got way too ornaments for our small one.

But it's done! And I don't have to think about the damn thing anymore! Well, until it comes time to put it away but I'm not gonna worry about that right now. No sirree.

Super short update today but it's a good one. Have a great Monday!

p.s. Only a few days left in The Royal Academy of Bards Bard Challenge #10: Do you see what I hear?

  • Rude Awakenings By D. Jordan Redhawk posted on her web site (Beyond Uber Alt)

Saturday December 13, 2003

I still don't have my tree up. I intended to do it today but we got about two inches of snow and staying inside just wasn't an option. Now I know that's not a lot but for where I live it's about all we usually get and it's enough to sled on and to build a snowman.

So that's what we did today. Since snow is such a rarity in Oklahoma most people don't own sleds. Cardboard boxes and plastic tubs make fine sleds although they do have a tendency to fall apart after about the thirtieth trip down the slushy, muddy hill. We lucked out, however, and found a hardware store selling plastic sleds for $5 and $9 respectively.

The $5 sled was round and horribly difficult to control. The first time I went down the hill I used that one and I ended up going down backwards and I almost pitched out of the thing. As it was I leaned far enough to one side to run my gloved hand and coat sleeve through a nice patch of muddy slush. The $8 sled was more sled-like in shape and was a much faster and safer ride.

It was a lot of fun even if I did poop out before Mike and Duncan and spent some time in the car reading my book and getting warm. And now we're set for the next snowfall because our cheap plastic sleds stood up to the pummelling and are still intact. Bonus!

Then we headed home and Mike and Duncan built our traditional snow demon. Yes, we here at the Hodge Lodge aren't content with an ordinary snowman. We must craft a truly terrifying snow demon complete with icicle horns and inflated surgical gloves for hands.

It looks like tomorrow I'll be good and put up the tree. That's the plan anyway. There's no snow in the forecast so I'd say there's a 90% chance it'll happen. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


  • Christmas Special Delivery By Lois Kay posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "Sam and Jody have invited their friends and family to celebrate Christmas with them, at Murrook Farm. But do all the guests that show up have an invitation? Some of them are a little...unexpected. Others are struggling with...things, to be able to...make it at all. But they all have one thing in common: they want to be home for the Holidays, to celebrate a special Christmas together."

Friday December 12, 2003

Today's updates. Enjoy.     Mjay

Thursday 11 December, 2003

Update by Peggy

Small update today.

  • Comic Book Life By Zee [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    Remy probably holds the record for the worlds longest crush.  When she was 6 she fell in love, now as an adult her life through comics may just give her a shot at the object of her crush.  That's if she can survive television production, midgets, and wondertits... um, just read the story.

  • The Meeting By Hermes [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    This story describes the meeting of two women from totally different lifestyles who find their lives are joined and that they are fated to face lifes dangers together. One is being condemned by her family for what she is and the other is condemned by outsiders -the people she trades with- because she doesn't live her life as they think she should. As the title indicates, it is only the beginning of their new life together that is described here. I leave it to the readers to decide if there should be a continuation.

  • Comic Book Life By Zee [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Athenaeum (Beyond Uber Alt).

  • Anna's Christmas By KG MacGregor [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Bard's Corner (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Hidden Agenda By Mavis Applewater [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Bard's Corner (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Home Stretch By Mavis Applewater [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Bard's Corner (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • The King's Frolic By Mavis Applewater [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Bard's Corner (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Briar's Creek By Mavis Applewater [alt/uber/complete] posted on The Bard's Corner (Beyond Uber Alt)

Tuesday December 9, 2003

Let's see...I'm ramble-less tonight. How are y'all doing? Got your holiday shopping done? You do? I don't. And I'm starting to feel the stress. Normally I like to be done by now but I'm not. And my tree isn't up. And I still need to make my cookies that I give to friends and co-workers. *sigh* Did I mention I'm feeling the stress?

Anyway, let's see what newsie bits I can come up with for y'all....

Regal Crest Enterprises, a franchise of Renaissance Alliance Publishing, has started up an announcements list at groups.yahoo.com/group/RegalCrestNews/. Regal Crest Enterprises publishes work by Carrie Carr, Melissa Good, LA Tucker, Georgia Beers and many other outstanding authors.

Cavalier Press has added Verda Foster and BL Miller's Crystal's Heart and Verda Foster's The Chosen to their line-up for a Spring 2004 release.

You can now pre-order S. Anne Gardner's For the Love of a Woman from Limitless Dare 2 Dream. And also available for preorder from these fine folks is Vertigo's Caution Under Construction.

And speaking of Vertigo, she's got a brand spankin' new look to her web site. It's really nifty so check it out when you get the chance.

I think that's about it. Y'all have a wonderful rest of the week and be sure to keep your holiday stress levels down.


  • Anna's Christmas By KG MacGregor posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "In this very short holiday vignette, we revisit the characters of the Shaken series. Anna Kaklis has a whole new perspective on Christmas this year, as she takes stock of the impact five-year-old Andy has had on her life with Lily."

  • Damage By Sparky posted on The Bard's Corner (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Damage By Sparky posted on The Athenaeum (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Flash Point By KD Bard posted on The Athenaeum (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "This is the 17th story in the long running Billie and Cat series. The series began with The Commitment."

Monday December 8, 2003

How many of you watch those home improvement shows? You know, like Trading Spaces or While You Were Out. They're pretty fun to watch and my mom is addicted to them. But the thing I wonder about while watching is how the heck do they stay so clean?

We've been living in our current house for less than a year. When we purchased it there was a lot that needed to be done and, being poor and cheap, we decided to do the majority of it ourselves. So when I say I'm mystified as to how these folks stay clean, I'm speaking from experience.

I don't know about you but when I paint it gets everywhere. You would never catch me wearing nice clothes and my good shoes that's for sure. I mean, there's a reason I wore the same pair of jeans and one of three different shirts when it was working on the house day. I'm messy. Get me near an open bucket of paint and a roller and I guarantee you within fifteen minutes I'll have dripped some on my head, smeared streaks liberally on my forearms and possibly have sat in it.

Maybe it's because I'm not using the proper paint roller technique but I also come away with paint spotted glasses every time. And if I get paint on my hands, which I invariably do, I don't reach for the handy paint rag, I wipe it on my pants. My paint pants looked like I'd been on the job painting houses for at least four years there was so much paint encrusted on them.

We also had to scrape a lot of particularly hideous wallpaper from walls in several of the rooms. This wasn't so bad in the the living room but most areas had wallpaper three layers deep. Yeah, lots of fun was had scraping wallpaper while I was seven months pregnant. And when you're scraping that much wallpaper gouges are gonna happen. What do you do to fix those gouges? Apply some drywall mud. I'll let you in on another secret. An open bucket of mud and me: same thing as the paint. Fortunately mud washes off easily.

This wasn't something I had to deal with while refurbishing my house but sewing is featured in quite a few of these shows. Uh-uh. No way. Tamara don't play that. You're looking at the only person in her junior high sewing class who didn't finish the stuffed animal project. As a matter of fact I think that sad, earless dog is still in a bag somewhere in my mom's attic. Never fear. His ears are with him in the bag they're just not attached.

And then there's the skirt we had to make second semester. I finished the hideous shirt we had to make *and* wear to school once it was completed. That little psyche scarring experience planted the seed in my head that maybe it would be a good idea *not* to finish the skirt. After all, if it's not done you don't have to wear it.

I was so talented I could make procrastination look a lot like work and I managed to pull off a B in the class. So trust me when I say if one of those designers decided to stick me in the room sewing pillows or slipcovers or window treatments, they'd be sorely disappointed when none of them were finished.

And while I don't showcase this fact here at Beyond Uber, I have a potty mouth. I especially have a potty mouth when doing things like home repair. They'd have to cut most of my bits out or else sprinkle the show liberally with bleeps as I cursed while dropping the paint roller or commented on how *bleep*ing ugly a particular color of paint was.

In fact I'd probably fit right in at the Osbourne's house on any given evening. Hmmmm...Trading Spaces with the Osbournes.... Where's that e-mail address?


  • Endgame By Meghan O'Brien posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "Delaney, a self-confessed cad and committment-phobe, meets a woman she shouldn't play. However, it's also the one woman she can't resist."

  • Damage By Sparky posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "Jay Rollins is a crime tech at the Johnson County Crime Lab. She faces some of her most difficult challenges, professional and personal when she gets called in to help with a muder in her hometown of Lawrence, KS."

Sunday December 7, 2003

I'm always interested in what makes someone want to write and post their work for complete strangers to read. To that end, I've snagged a newbie to the bard scene to ramble for y'all. Enjoy a peek into the motivations of JS Connolly.

Hmm, well I'm just going to go off the cuff here so if I lose anyone I appologize. Let's see...well I started writing my last year of high school...the effect of my first very big crush on a little Latina girl at my school. It was painful of course so a lot of anger and sadness poured out of me onto the pages, but I don't regret the experience because it opened up a very big door for me to get my feelings out when talking about them was too painful. And I stilll remember her quite clearly in her little black mini skirt so that memory always puts a grin on my face, he he.

Except for one short story I was mainly writing poetry, and poetry is still more natural to write for me...it must be the hopeless romantic in me. Throughout college I would write at least one poem a day...the walls of my room were actually covered with them. It wasn't until after I graduated and was looking for my first job that I wrote my first story on my dad's old IBM. It wasn't the greatest thing ever written but it really gave me an incredible high when I finally finished it...who nees drugs, ha....

I still have that story actually and have tried to work on it upon occasion. And I have part of a novel I hope to finish one day that I think is rather good. One of these days I will finish it, and that will be a big high and also a very difficult day since the characters are very close to my heart. But if they start talking to me again I will listen...that's what a writer does and should do.

I could get all cliché and say I write to reach people and as cliché as it is, it's true. I have a great need to express myself this way and if in the process I can make someone feel less alone or give them a distraction from whatever life is throwing at them at the moment then that just adds to the high I get.

Well I can't think of anything else to say so I guess this is the moment for shameless self promotion, lol. I just started posting a story to the Academy of Bards and it's linked here as well at BU, called Opening Doors. And I do have an e-group at jensliterarylounge where I have a bit more of the story. I'm working on the next part of it at the moment. I also have some poetry there for anyone interested.

So did I miss anything? LOL!

Jen aka J.S. Connolly

Great job rambling, Jen. Now y'all do realize that if you want to be ahead of the game on Opening Doors all you have to do is join her group. Two more chapters are included in the files section there and I know she's always willing to hear feedback. Thank Jen profusely for rambling. She was a tad nervous but stepped up and rambled like an old hand.


  • Endgame By Meghan O'Brien posted on her web site (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Damage By Sparky posted on Sparky's Site (Beyond Uber Alt)

Saturday December 6, 2003

Hey, how the heck are you? If things are just so-so for you right now, this should cheer you up—a ramble from the one and only Zee.

A Ramble

Maybe it's Pavlovian training from my days in college but it's hard to go on and on without a topic. But Tamara told me to go nuts so I shall try.

I suppose I will ramble on and on about writing. I mean I could go off on how much I hate my job and how it sucks the life out of me on a regular basis. Despite all that, you should know that the reason most of my stories get written in the first place is 'cause I work late nights, and after a certain time at work there just isn't anything to do but hang around trying to stay awake and wait for an emergency to happen. So I started writing as a way to keep my sanity and to stay awake. If any of you have read my story 'Past is Present' it was written mostly at work.

Hmmm, what else shall I ramble on about? Well, how about a portrait of me as a writer and what makes me tick. Well, I'm really shy, and in person I rarely say more than two words, but for some reason I can go on and on and on (well, you get the point) when I'm writing or chatting with a buddy online. I'm a tad insecure; I work too much; some days I sleep too little; some weekends I drink too much. When I had cable I liked to stay up late at night and watch adult swim on the Cartoon Network. I'd rather play video games than gamble although I once walked by a slot machine and put a quarter in for kicks and won 25 bucks. I also have a cat that looks like a Holstein. All in all I think I'm a decent human being and I'm okay with my hypocritical days. As a writer I tend to write Romance or Horror. How's that for extremes? I don't know why just those two genres; it just works out that way I guess. I do have in mind a sci-fi story that I'm going to start on when I finish up 'D'Artagnan'.

I work pretty tightly with Sparky and Windstar online. We push each other to do better and I can honestly say that some of my stuff wouldn't be as good without their feedback. So I'm not one of those tortured writer types that holes herself up in a cabin in wilderness. Yes, sadly I'm no Hemingway, but I'm okay with that.

Another thing you are probably dying to know is that I am not a master of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I barely got a C in English, something that horrified my mother at the time since she use to be an English teacher. I once got 'Elements of Style' by Strunk and White as a gift. I swear that book is written in a foreign language. So a big 'thank you' to my beta readers whom I torture on a regular basis by having them fix my humble scribbles.

Hmmmm, you know this rambling business is hard. Okay, back to my cat that looks like a Holstein. Yes, she's a big cow kitty - honest. She's big, fat, and has white and black spots. She's made a few guest appearances in some of my stories. I wonder if I could add a picture... hmmmm? There's a cat near the end of 'Past is Present' and yes, it's based off of on my cat Andy. She was just tickled pink, let me tell you. Okay, she kind of yawned and then went back to sleep.

Well, I guess I'll stop now and let you all get back to your lives. If you're curious, I do have a web site that I share with Sparky and Windstar. Everything I have written to date can be found there. Here's the addy - www.geocities.com/at3sparky/


Another stellar first time rambler. And I have absolutely nothing to add here except if you haven't read Zee's work yet, fix that oversight right away. She's one of my favorite bards and I highly recommend her stuff. Please thank Zee for rambling and have a wonderful day tomorrow.


  • A Tale of Woe By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "A chilling story about the jealousy and wrath of the mechanical beast to serve as a warning to all - or maybe not."

  • Chocolate By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "It is the final hour before closing for Christmas when Sarah gets a desperate customer."

  • Faerie Folk By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson posted on Academy of Bards (Beyond Uber Alt)
    "At night the faeries sing the song of life, breathing magic into the forest and love into the heart of one young Brownie."

  • Just a Story By Callisto Wolf posted on Redhope.net (Beyond Uber Alt)

Friday December 5, 2003

Today's updates. Enjoy.     Mjay

Wednesday December 3, 2003

Did I ever luck out this week. I didn't have to ramble one bitty bit. Yep, you guessed it, another Guest Bard Ramble. This one is from Tonya S. Coley. Take it away, Tonya!

Hi All,

For those of you that don't know me, my name is Tonya, and I am a wannabe bard. LOL

I am honored to have been asked to ramble. When I was asked, I had no idea what I would ramble about. I asked a few friends, so here goes...

I found the Xenaverse in February of 2001. When I did, I felt like I had hit the mother lode. I would stay up all night reading fantastic stories. I offered feedback to my very first bard, Katia Ruiz, and we became good friends. One thing puzzled me, though. I didn't find many main characters that were women of color. So I said to myself, "Self, why don't you try your hand at it." So I asked Katia to read what I had started working on, and she did. She gave me good advice on how to make my story work. Then one day she said that I should post Murder by Association. I was terrified and thought she had lost her mind. She asked if she could post on her website, and I agreed. The rest is as they say "history". You have her to blame for my presence on the web. LOL

Now, I have my own website. It's called TeeCee's Place, and that is where you can see my work first on the web. We also feature poetry and stories by other bards. I also have an egroup called Da Playground. It's where I preview my work and get constructive feed. The ladies there are wonderful. They have supported me, encouraged me and been very patient with me. This past year was kinda rough, so the updates have been slow. They bitched and moaned, of course, but never deserted me. For that I am truly grateful. *VBG*

Well, I guess that I all I have to say for now. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday.


Ok Tamara, now that I finally did this can you call off the stalker? Oh yeah, thanks for posing for the pics that my site bitch Scorpio has up at my website. *hubba hubba*

Wonderful job rambling, Tonya. And yes, your stalker has officially been called back to her pen. You can rest easy now. And no thanks are necessary for posing. Let me know if you need more and I'll contact my stunt ass. Gotta book her well in advance you know. Hey, y'all be sure to thank Tonya for rambling and get on over to TeeCee's Place and start reading if you haven't read any of her work yet.


Monday December 1, 2003

Well, well, well...we're starting the month out right with a Guest Bard Ramble. And this one is from Meghan O'Brien. Nifty.

I have dozens of notebooks full of unfinished stories from when I was a kid. I've always had stories to tell, but as a child (and young adult), I generally lacked the motivation or drive to finish what I started. Most of these notebooks are stowed away in the closet of my old bedroom at my mom and dad's house, but I did manage to find one such example of my adolescent efforts at my place.

I suspect that I was about thirteen years old when I wrote this:

The air was muggy and damp, and I could feel drops of perspiration rolling down my neck and back, soaking my shirt. The cigarette I had clamped between my lips tasted sour. My hands were jammed into the pockets of my long trench coat. I pulled my hat off and ran my hand through my wet hair. I put my hat back on and kept walking. I stopped next to a paperboy and pulled out a nickel. I gave it to the kid and took the paper from him. I opened the paper and looked at the date, which I had forgotten again. July 17, 1943. The last time I had been aware of the day, it had been the 12th. I had to stop drinking.

I was glad to reach my office. My head was pounding from the heat and I was exhausted. When I walked in my secretary was sitting at her own tiny desk. She looked surprised to see me. I grabbed some messages from her hand as I walked by.

And that's it... one of many great, unfinished epics. One of hundreds of stories that rattled around my head for a while before dying an unremarkable death on page two. We'll never know whether our hero (or heroine, as the case may be) will quit drinking, nor do we know the true nature of his (or her) relationship with the secretary.

Clearly, this is compelling stuff.

While I occasionally finished stories in those days, it wasn't a regular occurrence, and it generally had to be something I could do in one or two sittings. The biggest problem, of course, was that I wasn't trying to be a writer. Oh, there was a writer inside of me -- there always has been -- but having an interest in telling stories and possessing a little talent in that area isn't nearly what makes a writer.

Being a writer, I've found, is a lot of hard work.

I took a step towards being a true writer in college. That was when I began writing on a more regular basis, and even finished a number of stories that didn't get shared with very many people. There are two things I can thank for my boost in inspiration during that point in my life: sex and The X-Files.

My love of The X-Files led to the discovery of fan fiction, which eventually led to the wonderful world of Xena fan fiction. Reading fiction online -- especially lesbian fiction, Xena or otherwise -- got me thinking about writing again. I tackled a Scully slash fiction story as a junior, and while it stands among my great, unfinished works, at over fifty pages, it was my most noble attempt to date.

As for sex... by college, I was well aware that I was a lesbian. It was during college that I tried my hand at writing erotica for the first time. I'll confess that, at first, writing erotica was simply writing out sexual fantasies to share with an interested party, which was a whole lot of fun (and no matter how things turned out, I have to thank that party for starting me down the road of realizing that sex is a legitimate thing to write about... because it has led me good places).

I finally became a writer about two years ago. I have always lived with stories and characters and scenes in my head, and one day I decided that I was sick and tired of not doing anything with it. Since I was a kid, I had one life goal: I would write a novel. Two years ago, I decided that it was time to stop putting things off and start being the writer I knew I could be.

I wrote Infinite Loop, and it taught me how to be a writer. I finished that novel almost a year ago, on December 31st, hours before the New Year. In the eleven months since then, my characters and ideas continue to have an outlet because I continue to push myself to respect that thing inside of me that wants to tell stories.

It's a relief, because getting these things on paper is far more satisfying than just letting them fade away.

Everything I write is intensely personal in one way or the other. How could it not be? These stories take up residence in my head; the characters coexist with me; sometimes I hear the dialogue when I'm trying to sleep or concentrate on writing code. Nothing has made me feel better than to finally have learned how to share these things with others, and to know that people enjoy reading them almost as much as I enjoy writing them.

I have no idea how many characters or ideas died in my head or in a dusty notebook, mid-sentence, before I learned how to be a writer. I look at my recent characters and stories and feel grateful that they didn't have to suffer a similar fate.

Cate, from Dark Springs, came into my head as I mused about how much I wanted to see a femme chick kick some vampire ass. It would've been a shame to have forgotten about her.

Ritual began as a simple scenario in my head. I imagined a woman confronting her brother on her front porch after having him over for dinner. When I began writing, I knew only that she was angry with him, and that it wasn't the first time. I'm glad that I was able to let that scene play out, because it was good therapy in its own right.

I've always had a rich fantasy life (can you tell?). I've admitted to people before that when I have a fantasy, I tend to go all out... where some people imagine basic situations or actions, my fantasies have always had a full cast of characters, dialogue, and a level of complexity that's just... well, weird for a fantasy. The Gift began, I swear to God, as an idle fantasy. I'm still not certain why I decided that it deserved its own novella, but sometimes these things are just bursting to get out of me.

The most satisfying thing I've ever done is become a writer. Beyond sex and The X-Files, there has been another source of inspiration and encouragement for me. That, my faithful readers, is you. To everyone who has ever sent me an e-mail, offered feedback, or let me know that you've liked what you read, I thank you. The stories live inside of me, and it's my job to make sure they find their way to paper (or disk), but it's knowing that there are those of you out there who enjoy them that makes it all so satisfying. So thank you, truly. Shameless self-promotion: my website's at www.meghanobrien.com, and I can be reached at meghan@meghanobrien.com. Also, I now have an e-mail group that I'm finally starting to put to good use. You can find it at groups.yahoo.com/group/meghanobrien/. Please join...there's cookies and soda and new story previews for everyone!*

Meghan O'Brien

* Okay, I lied about the cookies and soda. But there are new story previews... I just put up a new one yesterday called "Endgame". J

Now that was a fantastic ramble. I have absolutely no more information to give you here about Meghan O'Brien. She covered it all beautifully. Oh, wait, here's one thing. I haven't read the new story posted at her group yet but Elisa gives it her "flawless" recommendation and if the Queen says it's good then it must be. So join Meghan's discussion group if you want to be among the first to read Endgame. As always, thank Meghan for rambling and have a flawless week.

p.s. Flawless is TM & copyright 2003, Queen Elisa Enterprises, Long May She Reign.
p.p.s. The December Lucia of the Month merchandise is up for your purchasing pleasure.

  • Brave By jh posted on The Athenaeum (Beyond Uber Alt)

  • Frizzle's Bad Day at School By Betty Harmon posted on Blondi's Writing Works (Beyond Uber Alt)
    This is a children's story by Betty Harmon (Changed Lake). "In this lovely tale Frizzle, the young dragon wakes up knowing that this day is going to be bad. He just doesn't realize how bad."