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COUSINS | North End Taxi | SomeWhen Over the Rain Clouds
The Twelve | Living History | Flapjack | FIDOnet's Writing

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That I have been bitten hard by the Writing Bug would no doubt entertain some of the teachers I had in public school.  Too many of them would remember my tenuous relationships with Mister Punctuation and Miss Spelling (we were NOT on a first name basis).  There was one teacher, however, who saw promise and encouraged it: Diane Huey.  Thanks, Diane.

Now, some of you know my writing from my monthly COUSINS newsletter, geared towards those of us who descend from or are related to Robert Pιpin and wife Marie Crκte (they married in Quιbec City 4 Nov 1670; go here  for more on them).

Some of you know my writing from reading the many pages of this website.

Some of you, I am hoping, will one day soon know me for my Alternate Universe Fantasy novels.

Some of you may even know me from when I drove a taxi cab for Seattle's North End Taxi from 1981 through 1992, where I co-edited the North End Taxi newsletter with Nate Johnson.  On a particularly slow day in the the cab, I purchased a fantasy paperback.  It was SO different from the cover and back-cover blurb I decided I could write a better one.

The first draft, composed entirely on the job, between paying fares in 1984, was 97 handwritten pages in a spiral-bound notebook.

In 1992, I was an unwilling participant in a lemonade-making experience: I was rear-ended while waiting for the red light to change by a lost child of the disco who was certain the cab driver was going to run the light.  Thus ended my O-so-lucrative cab driving career (she says with tongue firmly in cheek).

With a fused right wrist, I found myself enjoying the high life of a Social Security Disability recipient.  Those of you who also receive disability need no explanation.  If you don't, there is no explanation clever enough to fully convey how much fun it is not.  It can keep a roof of sorts over one's head and something quite like food on the table...with a little help from the local food bank.

Having time enough at last, I worked on my 97-page opus between family history forays, test drove a literary agent who recommended I change the narrative of my story from 1st to 3rd person.  I did and the story ballooned to nearly 250,000 words.  A line-edit done by a dear friend (Thank you, Fang), trimmed it down to a more manageable 125,000 words.

From there, I submitted it to Tor, Marion Zimmer Bradley (may she rest in peace), Ace, and Baen.  Their rejection slips were most kind considering how bad my synopsis is.

On October 5th, 2007, I submitted my 23-year-old manuscript to Amazon.com's Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  Though I did qualify as one of 5000 entries, that was about as far as it went.  Mind you, because of my ham-handed editing --so they'd get the very last line in Chapter 1-- I was surprised that I'd made it as part of the first 5000

In June of 2008, I submitted my manuscript to Kegedonce Press --on the recommendation of a fellow I met at a speaking engagement (Thank you, Richard)-- and am now waiting for their decision.

The working title of my 23-year-old text-child is SomeWhen Over the Rain Clouds    It's a 137,697-word-long Alternate Universe Fantasy wherein three Seattle cab drivers wake up one fine sunny morning morning after a particularly rainy November night in a world where the use of magic is commonplace.  For more info SomeWhen Over the RainClouds, please click -->here<--

Originally, it was meant to be just one book, however, despite my best efforts, it isn't.  As of March 2009, besides SomeWhen Over the Rain Clouds,  There are two other books, tentatively titled Sorry, No Refunds and Soul Survivors, that chronicle the continuing adventures of my three cab drivers, the story wrapping up in Soul Survivors.   However, a couple new sub-plots leaped out at me as I did some research for the third book that strongly suggests there may be a 4th book.

In and around writing this currently three-book story, I tinkered first with The Map, as it is written that every fantasy book must have at least one map of where The Story takes place.  Being curious and a cab driver (you can take the driver out of the cab but you cannot take the cab out of the driver), I expanded The Map to include it's pertinent continent, and then the neighbouring continents, followed quickly by a world map, concluding with the solar system the world occupies.  This tinkering led to a historical timeline some 2100 years long, which--if a publisher buys the story and the Muses are kind--will enable me to write many stories set in my alternate universe, including at least one hard Science Fiction book.

One of the biggest helps in working out the solar system was a book that, up until today, I thought was available only through the good folks at Writer's Digest.  It can also be found at Amazon.com.

(And yes, if you should purchase a copy of The Writer's Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe, I do get a small percentage of the sale, and I thank you, most graciously, should you choose to do so.)

For books like The Writer's Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe, please click -->HERE<--

(In case anyone was wondering, I have Wish Lists at both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca)

My first successful short piece --successful as in "it stayed short"-- is The Twelve, a 1553 word story originally written for a short story contest on a Seattle-area BBS.  The only two rules for that contest was that the story had to start with "It was a dark and stormy night" and could be no more than 1500 words long.  After tying for 1st place with it, I removed the 1st line and smoothed some rough edges out and shopped for a publisher.  One magazine I submitted it to said it was far too big a story for them, one magazine said it was too main stream, another said it was just too far out there, and the 4th said it read like a novel outline.  Then a friend asked if he could print it in his e-zine (the now defunct Teaparty; October issue [Keenan, where are you?]).  After that, its home became my website.  And, it may become part of a short story anthology; watch this space.

Another short piece, 535 words on historic re-enactment, written after an historical reenactment event, goes like this:

The real magic happens after the Public leaves.

Dressed in their 19th century clothing, re-enactors ride herd on children who are still mostly dressed in their 19th century clothing.  No child goes unsupervised.  Most of the majority of the visible camp gear would not be out of place in the mid-1800s.

Children rounded up, dinner is served from kettles and skillets over crackling camp fires, often simple fare of beans or stew.  And as the westerling sky colors with the setting sun, candle and lantern light appears below while stars twinkle on high.  Parents bed down younger children, snatches of lullaby waft through camp co-mingled with the solitary strains of fiddle, parlour pipe*, recorder, guitar, and banjo.  Feathery wreathes of smoke encircle the camp; small winged insects encircle candles and lanterns.

The night deepens.  Stars fill the sky like they never quite seem to at home, as a large central fire is kindled round which musicians and dancers gather.  Small groups gather at individual camp sites; gentlemen take their ease with cigars; working men light their pipes, quaffing glasses and mugs of cheer. 

Older children are found, taken unawares by exhausted sleep, in colorful bundles of calico, corduroy, and sweet smiles.  Covered gently with blankets, they are left where found.  Laughter bubbles up here and there from gently lapping pools of conversation.  Couples stroll into the deepening dark for a few stolen moments of private time.  Some bid others a good night and take to their tents.

When the moon rises, and the central fire has burned down to a slow wheeze of red coals, the musicians lay down their instruments, dancers collect their cloaks and wraps, and by ones and groups, disperse among the tents.

Tents glow amber with candle and lantern, some darken after a few moments, others are simply dimmed.  A light wind brings a silken susurrus from the flags flying over some tents, and a leathery soft flap of canvas on canvas.  From a camp fire round which a half dozen men sit, comes the silvery chime of crystal on crystal . . . the faint, hollow rattle of camp fires being banked comes from over there.  A parent says gently, "Time for bed, sweetheart."  Another log is thrown on the fire with a merry crunch-crackle in counterpoint to the low rumble and purr of male voices, all punctuated with amused laughter.

And after the gentlemen have smoked the last cigar, working men tap the ash of the last of the tobacco from their pipes, and take leave of their fellows, silence falls gently over camp, broken only by the sounds of sleeping, night creatures going about their night time business, and, perhaps, the late night winds playing in the forest.

Throughout the evening, the worst conflicts are those generally associated with overly-tired children, and are gently resolved.  There are no fights and little strong language.  Gentlemen tip their hats to the ladies, and the most often heard words are "please" and "thank you" in their assorted period appropriate forms.  No sirens.  No honking horns or thumping car stereos.  Without the intrusion of 21st century life -- sirens, honking horns, or thumping car stereos-- it's truly like stepping back in time.

Copyright 2002-2009 Lisa M Peppan

*a parlour pipe is an indoor version of the bag pipe

Going back a few years to 1999, there was this piece about a cat who owed my father (For people who don't have cats: you don't own the cat, the cat owns you.  People with cats you understand this.)

Back just before Mom and Dad got married, the lady cat at Daddy's house disappeared and they feared she had been gotten by any of the assorted carnivorous critters then living in the neighborhood.  So, they were surprised when she did return, looking very well chewed, about a week later -- and pregnant.  When her time came, there was just one really *BIG* kitten, with long hind legs, a little short tail, and black tufts on its ears; he was Momma Cat's last litter and it was like she knew it because she took care of that kitten longer than any of them said they'd ever seen a cat do.  When she finally weaned him, Daddy and Grampa (and Bridgie) tried an assortment of meats prepared in a variety of ways, but the one thing this kitten craved was flapjacks, thus Daddy named him Flapjack (Daddy was Flappy's human).  25 pounds, full grown, with unmistakable lynx markings, when he reached full growth, he was given a dog collar to keep any new neighbors from shooting him -- Flappy knew all the old neighbors.  He was a smart cat; in the picture taken of him in his new collar, he looks just like he was posing.

When Mom and Dad married, Flappy took a real shine to Mom, but couldn't STAND Mom's cat, Sam (aka Sam-kitty), a gert huge black and white alley cat with one and a half ears (I poked my wee little fingers in them -- regularly).  According to Mom, there were cat wars at the garage door where she was just *SURE* Flappy or Sam would chew through eventually.  But, Daddy had a friend who lived further out and since Hank and Flappy were old friends anyway, Flappy went to live with Hank.  No one knows for sure when Flappy died, though the last time Hank saw him, he was almost 20 years old and almost completely white, and trotting off into the woods like a Tomcat on a Mission, black ear tips and black tail tip bobbing jauntily.

The other purpose for this page is that of an entry point for things related to writing.

In the early 90s, via the BBS hosting the writing contest, I discovered this thing called FIDOnet.  FIDOnet was a precursor to the Internet; instead of lists, FIDO (Commonly used to refer to FIDONet) was often personified as a dog that fetches messages for people, receiving treats or punishment as deemed necessary to get him to fetch for all the hubs in the net.  What the Internet now calls Lists, FIDO called Echoes, so named because posts to the individuals echoes were sent to every hub subscribed to the North American Backbone, kinda like certain canyons where a shout will echo...and echo...and echo...

Of the many echoes devoted to a plethora of topics, two caught and held my interest.  The first was WRITING.

WRITING was devoted to the discussion of all aspects of the art, craft, and business of writing, both fiction and non-fiction. It is intended for people who are actively, and not necessarily professionally, engaged in it.

The second was BARDROOM.  It came into being because keeping writers on topic is much like herding cats, and there needed to be a place to take off-topic chatter from WRITING, like poetry, theater anecdotes, and months-long pun strings.  It was a place where Nom de critters (like nom de plume, only different) were encouraged.  There were only two rules: (1) Be good.  (2) Play nice.

It didn't take long for me to decide these were my kinda people.  Some the taglines in my tagline collection came either from things said in the Tavern (Writing) or on the Holobeach (Bardroom), or from taglines used by the denizens therein.

And here we are, nearly 2 decades later.  FIDOnet is now all but non-existent.  Some members have moved on, some have passed on, others are out there wondering what happened to their FIDOnet gateway.  Hopefully, the latter will find this page.  If you qualify as "the latter", drop me an e-mail.  Or if you so desire, you can re-connect by going to a spiff little page set up by our own John Nieminen.  One of the lost ones we wonder about is Elvis Hargrove of Texas.  If you know Elvis Hargrove --or are Elvis Hargrove ("Hey, Elvis, long time no type!")-- drop me an e-mail.

I am the current moderator for the Internet-based Writing2.  It's an invitation-only mailing list, hosted by John "Icebear" Nieminen.  If you are a writer who doesn't seeks more than the obligatory "That's nice, Dear" and/or "It's a really great story!" from well-meaning friends and family, you might want to join us on Writing2.  We do our individual best to offer other list members constructive writing advise.  What we aren't is a mutual admiration society and work --or WIPs aka Works In Progress-- isn't posted just for the oohs and ahhs of it. 

Typically, a writer posts a short excerpt with which s/he is having difficulty, no more than 100 lines total without List Concensus, with specific questions like, "How well does Bit A foreshadow Bit B?  Does it give too much away?" 

Some of our members are published, most are not, so you don't need to be published to join.  We do, however, prefer that potential new list members know how to spell, can form comprehensible sentences, and have either a rudimentary understanding of punctuation or an interest in learning. 

Most of our current members have known each other since the early 90s --some go back to the 300 baud modem-- and, as such, we function very like a large boisterous family of talented creative people whose political and religious views are all over the map.  This is a polite way of saying we sometimes forget new that new members don't know how to tell who is kidding when.  We are an eclectic bunch and honestly mean well.  If this sounds like it might just be your kinda thing, or you want to know more, drop me an e-mail and we'll talk.

The late Rachel Veraa, a former member and moderator of Writing, put a list of websites for writers on her website.  These are the ones that are still on the web:
• Grammar and Style Notes: Jack Lynch's tips
• Jack Lynch's On-Line Literary Resources
• Library of Congress World Wide Web Home Page
• The Human-Languages Page
• A.Word.A.Day and other Word Links
• Word Play: links to word web pages.
• The Word Detective
• The Word Wizard
• Pedro's Dictionaries: Multilingual and special dictionaries has, unfortunately, gone 404.  This was brought to my attention, with a recommended replacement. 

Voice Nation Live's Ultimate List of Online Dictionaries: It contains an extensive list of dictionaries in about a dozen different languages.  Thanx, Olivia!

• Web del Sol:Literary page.
• Postmodernism Links
• NewsLink: A good collection of online newspapers and other news sources.
• The New York Times: A web edition, at last.Hungry Mind Home Page: An excellent independent book review.
• Salon: A high-profile online magazine of culture.
• Book Lovers: Fine Books and Literature
• Jane Austen Information Page: Includes Pride and Prejudice in hypertext.
• BookWeb Home Page: The American Booksellers Association home page.
• BookWire: Another nice site with tons of links.
• Star Wars Scripts
• Klingon Language Institute: Phasers on stun, folks -- they're serious.
• World Building for SF and Fantasy Authors.
• Art Deadlines: Calendar for submissions.
• Michael Nellis' Web Page

If you would like to make additions to this list, drop me some email and tell me about it.

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->page created in the wee hours of the morning 4 march 2004<-
updated 13 Jan 2010
Copyright Lisa M. Peppan