1 Nov
          Does anyone have any good news they can spare? Cause I could sure use some. Lately its been work, eat, sleep, and rejection. (Scifi.com just rejected one of mine.) No word yet on Darkside from Baen, on the agent who asked for the rest of it or the one I've just queried, on my story at Writer's of the Future that I should have heard back from by now, or on my sub at Ideomancer. The Lottery people are ignoring me--heck, I can't even win free french fries at Taco Bell. And still, I keep writing and buying lottery tickets, and somehow find the two strangely connected.

Nov 2
          Don't panic, but nothing happened today. I mean absolutely nothing. For all intents and purposes, it could have been yesterday, or a yesterday two and a half years ago. Oh, little things here and there change--it's fall, moving into winter now. (The tree is still laughing.) There's different movies playing down at the cinema. My hair is a little longer than it was two weeks ago, but other than that I could easily step from this day into any other in recent history and be up to speed on events in an instant. Maybe this is like the movie, Groundhog's Day, and I'm doomed to repeat this day over and over again until I get it right.
          Wait a minute--today is Marsha's birthday.

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   M A R S H A !!!

          Okay, so almost nothing happened today.

 Nov 3
          I so want to believe in God and magic and aliens from outer space, but so far all three have let me down. That's right--no miracles, no fortune telling, and no close encounters of the third kind. (Hey, who needs anal probing anyway?) What I'm really afraid to find out is that the world is as mundane as it seems, and that nothing happens for a reason; it just happens. And if that's true, and there's no divine plan or higher power guiding our destinies, then I am where I am and it's all my fault. No matter how hard I try this is the best I can muster. Now that's depressing. Better to blame it on bad karma, bad luck, or an alien conspiracy. You know, something I can deal with.

Nov 4
          If you ask the Powers That Be to send you a sign that signs are, in fact, real, and they don't send you one, is it a sign that signs don't exist, or that they do? Okay, so I've been eating way too much leftover Halloween candy.

Nov 5
          GVG has nothing on Andromeda Spacesways. (Well, that's not quite true. Gordon still sends me nice, polite, personal rejection letters, even though I've only met him the one time, and in spite of the fact that he hasn't even come close to accepting anything of mine.) Still, his turnaround time can't even compare to AS's four-hour response. 
          The guy must have had his finger poised over the Slush-O-Matic Form Letter Rejection Button, just waiting for the "ping" announcing incoming mail. Undaunted, I submitted another story to them. Hey, at they rate they can go through my entire repertoire in about two days. 

7 Nov 
          It's bad enough getting rejection letters, but now I'm getting them for someone else's work. That's right, an agent just sent me a rejection for a novel that I never wrote. (They also sent me one for the novel I did write, but that's another piss off.) Somewhere there's some poor schmuck wondering where his response has gotten to. 
          I wish they had at least gotten his address right on the rejection letter. That way I could have contacted him. Although I suppose that would be a new low in rejections in itself. "Dear Mr. Jones, You don't know me but the agency you submitted your novel to has rejected it, and with a crappy form letter to boot. Maybe they were too ashamed to tell you personally, so they sent it to me first."
          You know, Charlie keeps telling me that anyone who reads the first twenty pages of Darkside will love it, and he's right. So far all of the agents I've sent it to have told me they really liked it. They just don't want to represent it.

9 Nov
   Apparently the more a publisher likes your stuff, the longer it takes them to reject it. I've mentioned that Andromeda Spaceways rejected the first story I sent them in under four hours. The second story came back in seventeen, but with a nice long note attached. My third story has been with them almost three days now. Maybe they're sending someone all the way from Australia to apologize in person for rejecting it. 
           And the nice folks at Ideomancer (thanks Amber) got back to me on a piece of flash fiction I sent them with some suggestions for a rewrite. Which still doesn't mean they'll take it, but it's one step closer than I was before. This has been the week of almost-but-not-quite. I hate it when I have to juggle all these balls at once, especially when they're those razor-spiked glass balls filled with tear gas.
 

12 Nov
          Characters in fiction generally have to be smarter than real life people. That's one of the common criticisms that constantly plague writers -- "That's unbelievable. No one would do that." Today I saw two men neatly attired in business suits move a six-foot placard that said, "Wet cement. Please use other door" which was blocking the exit, and then proceed to walk through the wet cement, realise it was wet, and turn around and walk back. I couldn't write that and get away with it.

13 Nov
          Charlie just sold his novella (and excerpt from his book A Democracy of Trolls) to Fantasy and Science Fiction. Keri is putting the final touches on Circle of Death (book four?) for Imajinn. And we're all eagerly anticipating Karin's Warchild, which should be out in April? (It darn well better be, or I'll be begging her to email it to me in private.) 
          The lovely and talented Amber (Hey, it never hurts to suck up) just informed me that Ideomancer is going to print my short story, Sweet Dreams. And my short story, Naejin, based on characters from the novel of the same name, made the first cut at Andromeda Spaceways. (That'll learn me not to be such a smart ass.) Of course, now I have to wait until February to find out if it makes the final cut. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that my poem, The Fright Before Christmas, is up at Strange Horizons (along with Angela Board's wonderful story, Forget Me Not).  I still haven't heard from Writers of the Future yet. Hopefully that's a good sign. 
                   Maybe they should change the expression to: Good things come to those who whine. 

14 Nov
          I think I'm out of touch. Well, that's not exactly true. I have lots of touch left, I just don't know what to do with it. Maybe I'm out of step? Doubtful, that. I'm a drummer and have pretty good rhythm. Out to lunch? Nope, haven't eaten all day. And I'm definitely not out in left field--too cold and rainy. Maybe I should just get off my rocker and go to the gym. Yeah, that's it. I better get going, though, before I run out of time. (I know I have a bag full of time here somewhere. Now where did I put it again...

16 Nov
          Sleep? We don't need no stinking sleep. I can get by just fine without, thank you very much. So what if I have a cold in my kidneys, my left ankle hurts like hell, my left eye is infected so that I look half demon, and I sprained my right thumb taking my freaking socks off. Sleep is for Nancy Boys. (I know, I asked one and he agreed.) 

17 Nov
Brain fuzzy. Can't think. 
Sleep? No, sleep bad. Work good. 
Must find life. 
Write? No write -- work. 
Family? Steve think he have family. 
No matter. No time for family. Only work. 
Family bad. Work good. 
Time for work.

20 Nov
          Today was a lazy day. I got up around the crack of noon, spent an hour reading my email and checking out the usual websites, and then went to the gym for a few hours. Pen came home and we had dinner, and then I had a shower. (I tell you, the woman's a saint.) I really should be writing, but I haven't really had a chance to relax for a while and I plan to take full advantage of it. I just finished Jim Butcher's new book, and now I'm enjoying Lynn Flewelling's laterst. Besides, Pen's got the heat cranked up to Slightly Less Than Hell but Hotter Than Purgatory, and it tends to make me sluggish.

21 Nov
          I talked with Karin last night on IM until 04:30. The two of us watch way too much TV; it's a wonder we ever get any writing done. I did manage to write another 650 words on Darkside 2 last night though, and plan on finishing off the chapter today. Still, I think staying up until the wee hours of the morning defeats the purpose of having a "lazy day." My mind's still fuzzy, or at least fuzzier than usual. Someday I'm actually going to have to try going to bed early. Yeah, right.

22 Nov
          We saw Harry Potter last night, and it was just as I imagined it would be. I thought there were a couple of slow spots, but then there were in the book also. I heartily recommend it.
          I wrote another 600 words on Darkside 2, although why I'm bothering with a sequel to a book I can't sell is beyond me. I can't decide whether I'm an optimist or a masochist. Maybe I'm both, I'm certain I'm going to sell the first book, but in case I don't I'll have at least have two of them so I can be miserable in stereo. (Oooh, that's scary because it actually makes sense to me.)

25 Nov 
          I had to run off a bunch of photocopies at work tonight. That's when I realized how old I am. I really miss the smell of the old mimeograph machine. I remember in public school they used to have it hidden away in this tiny closet of a room, and the teacher would send me to crank out copy after copy of God knows what. I have to wonder now if being in a confined space like that with all those chemicals was such a bright move. Come to think of it, I was a pretty hyper kid, and it tended to calm me down some. Hmmm...maybe that's why Mrs. Castleman requested all those copies of War and Peace. 

26 Nov
          One more day and I'm off until Friday at midnight. We had the kids this weekend, not that I ever got to see them. Sometimes the only way I can be sure I have kids is to check my bank balance, although believe me, balance is a misnomer. The word balance insinuates that I walk a fine line between actually having money, and not. 
           Ryan (the computer gremlin who lives in our basement when he's not staying at his mother's) borrowed my shoes for work because he forgot his. Now the soles are all caked with smooshed french-fries. (Those are probably the same ones they put in the Happy Meals.) Chantel spent the day at the spa getting detailed,(Hey, I'm a guy--that's the closest analogy I can come up with) and Pen finished her Christmas shopping. (Yes, you can all hate her now.)

27 Nov
          Well, I'm back from the dead. Or at least back from work, which amounts to the same thing. It's work, eat and sleep. Not that my life is uber-exiting on my days off either. It's mostly exercise, writing, and TV, with maybe the movies thrown in as a treat. I don't even have any friends, except for my on-line compadres. Hey! I'm pathetic. When did that happen.

28 Nov
          I haven't heard back from WotF on my recent submission there yet, but they've posted their third quarter winners and I'm not one of them. I'll take that as a subtle hint. And of course there's no word on my submission to Baen. I'm scared to death they're going to pull the same stunt as last time: "Submission? What submission?" That's a tough pill to swallow after waiting nine months or so. (One of those big oval pills that get stuck in your throat halfway down and make you burp up iron all day.)
          I can feel a depression coming on all ready. It must be that time of year. I hate when that happens. I should be writing, but I'm using every excuse not to. That's never a good sign. I have these great ideas and images in my head, but lately it seems a struggle to get them down on paper. Oh, and by the way: Misery does not love company. Not unless company comes with a pizza and some chocolate, and say--a publishing contract. At least I have Ad Astra to look forward to.
          On a positive note, Steve Nagy just sold his short story The Hanged Man of Oz (my all time favourite of his) to an anthology being put out sometime in 2002 by Tor and HarperCollins. Way to go Snagy!!
          And in case anyone else missed it, it was the lovely and talented Kate Bachus' birthday on Nov. 24.

HA P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   K A T E !!!

29 Nov
          Well, I've managed to write maybe 200 words on Darkside 2 in the past three days. At this rate they'll have to publish it posthumously. Hey, I leave nothing unfinished, even if I have to come back from the dead to do it--which, come to think of it, is pretty much what Darkside is all about.
          It's a dark day: freezing rain, ice-covered roads, everything is cold and wet. Not exactly what I need to draw me out of my depression. All it would take now is a couple of rejection letters to add the icing to the cake. Hmm...I better start whistling happy tunes before the monsters come out. Then again, I wouldn't mind kicking a little monster butt right about now.

30 Nov
          Tonight is a Blue Moon, a night when the Full Moon appears twice within the same calendar month. Magick practitioners consider the Blue Moon to be a goal moon where you set specific goals for yourself. 
          Just as a note of interest, the Black Moon occurs when there are two New Moons in any given calendar month. It is believed that the second dark moon is a time of great power within the spiritual world, and any magick worked during this time is especially powerful.
          And now for something really strange. When I wrote Darkside, many of the events were staged around the occurrence of the Blood Moon--something I thought I'd just made up. It appears however, that there really is a Blood Moon, and that the Wiccan's observe it in October, right around the time frame I wrote of in Darkside. Cool, eh?