Sunday, August 31, 2008


Ok, if you know about as much as I do about PCs, don't bother reading any further. I am about to ask for help with a computer problem because I don't even know where I should be going for help on this (and I am living in a house full of Mac users...)

The other night I closed down my PC, everything working just fine. Opened it up in the morning to find that - although I could get my usual connection through the LAN line - I couldn't connect to the server. But then, neither could the other wifi users in the house usibng the same account. We were all without a working server for at least 7 or 8 hours. Then the server solved its problem for everybody else - but not me. Other people can use exactly the same LAN connection, no problem. But my computer just tells me "Cannot connect to server". I can't get to the internet using Firefox, or Internet Explorer, or Outlook Express. I can, however, Skype, and Microsoft happily downloaded the latest update patch.

I tried disabling all firewalls and virus protection, still no joy. I uninstalled or disabled the latest downloads. Still won't work.

What the x#@!! is going on?

Friday, August 29, 2008

When they learnt that they can't?

I read the site Malaysia Today today. I usually don't, but I did today. Anything unusual in that? Yep, because it was supposedly officially blocked.

Says Thestaronline: "The controversial Malaysia Today news portal was blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) because its editor ignored many warning letters, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said.

“When they publish things that are libellous, slanderous or defamatory, it is natural for the SKMM to act against these websites whenever necessary,” he told a a press conference at Parliament lobby yesterday.'' ... “We do not intend to curtail people’s freedom or right to express themselves. Everyone is subjected to the law, even websites and blogs,” he added. ....
It was reported that all 21 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country had been ordered by SKMM to block the controversial website.

Sigh. When will they learn?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alien words in our prose

Something written by a talented young Malaysian author, Preeta Samarasan, resonates with me.
She said:
“Schoolchildren studying literature in the colonies had to navigate Cockney speech patterns, imagine for themselves what toad-in-the-hole might taste like, picture moors and bogs and fens and determine the emotional significance of each of these landscapes. Now we get to tell our own stories, and this requires your dealing with my rubber estates and char kuay teow and cursing in Tamil. In the long run, this will be good for all of us. A little cultural immersion never did anyone any harm.” {See here for the full article and reference.}

Good on her. And she's absolutely right.
As a kid growing up on an Australian farm, there was no end to the things I read that I had to imagine, as they were never explained by the author. Why, after all, would a UK writer think she had to explain the tube, or hares, or galoshes or ices or kippers or gorse or fells or (English) muffins? Why would an American writer bother to expand on what the deck of a house was, or the trunk of a car, or clapboard, or (American) muffins, or what pumpkins had to do with Halloween - and what the heck was Halloween anyway? All these words were as foreign to me as, say, gesundheit, roti canai, bwana, merde or halal.

And I went on reading and learning and understanding with very little help from a dictionary in those pre-internet, pre-TV days.

Preeta doesn't believe in putting Malaysian words in italics because they will be foreign to non-Malaysian readers. And why should she? Those British writers didn't italicise "fens" because I didn't understand what a fen was.

As a writer of fantasy words which have their own vocabulary, I prefer not to use italics for words which are not foreign in the society I am writing about. It's silly. And I try not to use words unless the context makes it clear - or will do in time - what they mean, because I also prefer not to have to have an appendix of foreign words.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Who won the Olympics?

If we are talking about countries as much as individuals, then it was Jamaica, Mongolia, Georgia and then Bahrain....

If you want to know why, check out Justine's blog.

Jamaica won 6 gold medals, 3 silvers and 2 bronze and they have a population of 2.71 million. So, in Jamaica, for every 246,727 people, one won a medal. If the USA had achieved that ratio, then they would have won 10 times as many medals as they did.

However, it is the GDP per person which is particularly telling.

There is apparently a physical reason why Jamaicans are good sprinters though...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Planned villainy - or how to freak out your dad

We have been chatting about villains on the comment section of the last blog post. And coming down on the side of a more nuanced villain rather than the totally dark evil overlord type.

I think 4-year-old grandson has also been giving the matter some thought.

Yesterday, a series of misbehaviours led him to being given a serious time-out in his bedroom. As his dad marched him upstairs, lad protested indignantly, "Daddy, you are ruining my plan!"

Dad, taken aback, asks, "What plan?"

Son replies, with perfect 4 year-old seriousness, "My plan to be bad until I'm five!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How do you like your villains?

Over on Jenny Fallon's blog the other day, she had a link to this article on villains at io9, a bit tongue in the cheek, which postulates that one of the reasons movies like The Dark Knight have done so well over the summer season (in the northern hemisphere) is because they have decently wicked villains.

The writer, Charlie Jane Anders, then gives a comprehensive list, with comments, of how good villains are ruined by script writers:
1) They get redeemed.
2) Too much information.
3) They become analogs of real-life nasties.
4) We see too much of their world.
5) Too many defeats ...
6) ...or victories
7) The villain that's a reflection of the hero.

I can't really comment because I am not much of a movie goer. What I really liked about the article were two comments towards the end:
  • Good villains make great stories. A truly chilling villain makes the hero seem more important because the stakes are important, and the hero's actions matter.
  • A good villain has some kind of political message, but it's subtler and woven into the storyline's subtext.
I actually don't feel that it is possible to extrapolate much of what Anders says into a comment on the written medium. Book villains, I feel, are much better fleshed out. In a film it's OK to be thoroughly villainous; in a book the reader often wants more - why is the villain like that? Where is he coming from? How does she see herself? Readers want more subtlety than film goers. Am I right?

I do agree that too obvious an allegorical portrayal of a real life villain can be a real turn off, as can a miraculous redemption. If you don't agree with me on this last point, try watching Hindi movies. Omigod. The utter rotter who has done despicable things to hero and heroine throughout a cinematographic marathon, suddenly turns good at the end? Or says, oops, sorry? Yuk. Or rather yuk unless done by a truly great writer.

I just looked back through my reading list for the year (on the bottom left sidebar of the this blog), and one villain stood out as the bloodiest I have read in a long time: Karen Miller's Hekat from her Godspeaker trilogy. Not for the faint-hearted, the first book details the origins of Hekat's villainy very well indeed. In fact, Hekat's descent from sympathetic to hateful is brilliantly done.

More subtle by far, and perhaps even more chilling as a result, are the trio of villains of Marcus Herniman's Arrandin Trilogy: Emperor Rhydden, his sycophantic and conscienceless henchman and the Archmage. In a way I wish they'd had more scene time and a bit more background detail.

So how do you like your book villains? Who are your great villains of fantasy and why?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Purple Prose

Once, during a workshop I was giving, one of the participants indicated they didn't know what I meant when I mentioned "purple prose." I gave the standard sort of answer:

Purple prose is another way of saying that the words and phrases you are using are too much for your subject matter - too colourful, too ornate, too baroque, too flowery, too exaggerated - and probably far too many such, as well.

Romance writing in the past lent itself to this kind of bad writing: her heaving bosom, his tumescent organ (or throbbing manhood), the aching void in her heart, their doomed love...

One self-published book, of which I read the first page, had no less than eighteen adjectives referring to colour (not just purple!) in the first two relatively short paragraphs, so that the reader thought they were sinking under the weight of a paint box. You know the sort of thing: Storm-grey clouds, indigo smudge of her eyes, crimson and russet leaves shining in the liquid golden rays from the molten orb of an autumn sun, etc etc. Guess what: I was not tempted to read on.

But my grandson has developed the art of purple prose speech to a fine art with the use of an expression (produced on average once a day), to provide me with a wonderful example for my next workshop. Such a conversation usually proceeds something like this:

My daughter (in the garden) : It's time to go inside now.
Grandson: No, I don't want to.
Daughter: We are going in right now, darling.
Grandson: No! I'm not going to!
Daughter (scooping son up): Oh yes, you are.
Grandson (sobbing and struggling): You are ruining my life!

He's not impressed when we invariably crack up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The reason we went to Virginia Beach

...was to attend the Polynesian Culture Association's festival of music and dance, in which Daughter No 1 was participating.
In the pix below, the three children of 3 of the dancers (that's grandson in the middle) suddenly realised that was Mum up on the stage and wanted acknowledgement, which was rather cute.
That night, sitting around the campfire talking, I discovered that two of the drummers were fantasy readers and staunch members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, so I am now fascinated by the idea of attending the huge Pennsic which was 14,000 or so participants.
Wow. that makes the SF Worldcon look minute. One day. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Life is simple when you are under five

Grown-ups just complicate things.

When you are less than five and you want to find out something, you just go look, no matter what the other guy thinks.

Grown-ups really do complicate things.

When things don't go right, why not throw away the pesky stick that doesn't work, pick up the ball to drop it in the hole?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Virginia Beach

Today was the first long day in charge of 4 yr old grandson all day. Can anyone tell me how a 4 yr old can still be energetically running around at 8 o'clock at night - without a nap all day - while grandma was ready to give up about 3 p.m.? Experience versus youth, and guess what, youth wins. Sigh.

We went camping in Virginia Beach over the weekend. Here's some photos of the camp site in the lovely First Landing State Park on the coastal forest/dune vegetation (oak trees; and Chesapeake Beach just after dawn. Being me, I was interested in the birds (terns, gulls, willets, plovers, pelicans, sandpipers, cormorants and a snapped Osprey overhead.)

The afternoon on Sunday I spent writing at the picnic table in camp while the others went to the beach. I was visited by blue jays and cardinals, grackles and robins and mocking birds and this squirrel peering at me...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Heart of the Mirage Review


You can read a lovely review of Heart of the Mirage over at fantasybookspot

Here's part of it:

Glenda Larke has written a very enjoyable and utterly compelling story that unflinchingly probes into the psychology of a person who has been robbed of her family, her people and her culture. Ligea’s origins have been stolen from her; her heritage has been denied her - a crime that is compounded by the fact that she has been raised by the very person who has killed her family. Larke has obviously been inspired by real events, mainly the Disappeared Ones of Argentina and the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Australia, a fact that imbues Ligea’s story with a deep-felt resonance.

Characterization constitutes the novel’s greatest strength. It is Ligea’s character that drives the plot and Larke takes the time necessary to build up Ligea’s personality as well as the events and experiences that prompt her to question herself and her values, thus making the manner in which her character evolves plausible. When it comes to characterization, Larke’s work reminds me very much of Robin Hobb. Like Hobb, Larke uses a first-person narrative and she takes the time necessary to build a quite complex character. And like Hobb, Larke is never shies away from revealing bare the less savoury aspects of the protagonist’s personality. Ligea is in many ways not very likeable. Throughout a large part of the story, she comes across as arrogant, self-centered and cruel, but as Larke slowly reveals the forces that have shaped her one can’t help to feel for her. Likewise, the experiences that cause her to change and mature as a person ring absolutely true.

Heart of the Mirage is a very strong novel that offers a multi-facetted and deeply flawed protagonist as well as a well-paced and deeply compelling story about betrayal and identity. Larke has a fluid prose that often emphasizes sensuous detail and if she sometimes veers towards the overly descriptive then this is a very minor complaint.

Many thanks to Trine D.Paulsen

Friday, August 15, 2008

Quote of the week

"In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations."

--Sen. John McCain, speaking on television about the invasion of Georgia by Russia.

More from Denvention Worldcon

Worldcons are not just about panels, of course. [Pamela Freeman, Brandon Sanderson, Karen Miller, Margaret Bonham, Patrick Rothfuss on a panel entitled: "The Return of the King: the novelist's fascination with monarchy.]

There are so many good things ...

The bid parties. The Hugo Awards. Meeting people. The room parties. The Masquerade. Chatting in the green room. Chatting in the bar. Chatting to writers, readers, publishers. The fan parties. The readings. The kaffeeklatches. Did I mention the partying?

For someone like me, living in a place where there are no other writers like me, where the opportunity to meet up with my editor or agent or beta readers or fellow writers is as rare as being able to read all the books I'd like to, a con is almost a necessity. And boy, did I revel in it. And I met so many interesting people I'd never met before, but had heard about or whom I had read. And they are all people who like to talk about reading and writing and books. Paradise.

I shared a panel with Robert J.Sawyer and had dinner with the Orbit US team; I found myself chatting to Elizabeth Moon about snakes and the environment; with Jim Frankel, Tor editor about all sorts of things; with Carol Berg about how to deal with a noisy husband when you want to write; with reviewer and fan writer Cheryl Morgan about all sorts of interesting stuff; with Kate Elliott about her new novel and her husband’s job as a forensic anthropologist and writing and reading and..; with Phyllis Eisenstein about collecting books; and with writer David Coe about covers and writing in general. My room-mate Donna and I had dinner with Gary K.Wolfe and Amelia Beamer of Locus Magazine, novelist Kate Elliott, academic Farah Mendlesohn and David Hartwell of Tor/Forge Books, who had just won a Hugo for Best Professional Editor. Kendall turned up to my reading; other fans brought along books for me to sign at various times, and Sarah and Andrew - who weren't attending the con - came all the way into Denver to buy two sets of the Mirage Makers. How cool is all that?

I am already wondering just how I can possibly get to Montreal next year without breaking the bank. Never mind, the year after Worldcon is in Melbourne! Start saving folks...

Oh, and I know why obesity is a problem in USA. I got served the largest slice of cake I have ever seen in my life. That thing is sitting on a full-sized dinner plate.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Denvention panels

One of the things that people do at a sf/f convention is go and listen to the panels. There are plenty of them to choose from, and the problem is often which to choose because there are a large number of them on at the same time.And there are several different reasons to choose to attend a particular panel. After all, who could resist a panel that included Connie Willis, George R.R. Martin and Lois McMaster Bujold and (if I remember correctly) Larry Niven, all talking about how they started reading SF and what their early influences were? Or one (top pix) with Joe Haldeman, Connie Willis and Mike Resnik? The title of that one was: "The Best Convention Panel Ever", but they spent most of their time talking about "The Worst Convention Panel Ever", and similar disasters instead. It was a laugh a minute. Then there was the panel on "Making a Living Telling Lies" with Jo Walton, Jay Lake, Connie W., and Bill Mayhew.

So the first reason is simply for listening to the greats of sf/f talking about what they do best - writing - and their influences.

The second reason is for information. Want to know about agents and what impresses them? Or listen to Brandon Sanderson talk about the last Wheel of Time novel? Or learn about the reality of space drives? Or dinosaurs? Or a world without fossil fuels? Or the Future of Libraries? There were panels on all those things.

My three panels wavered between great fun and...not so much. As I thought, the birds and dinosaur panel would have been a bit of a disaster for the audience if they'd only had me to listen to. As birders, David Coe and I sort of faded into the background and let the experts on dinosaurs take over. They were much more informed and I ended up learning quite a bit.

The panel on kicking off a story by using the myths of our cultures was interesting and ranged all over the place, taking in everything from 'have we had enough of King Arthur?' to cultural appropriation (.e. should writers use the mythology of another living culture, especially if they are going to alter it for their own purposes, or if it is still part of the religion of that people. Short answer: No. Exception: if you really know and respect the culture, enough to ensure that you won't offend, then - sure.)

The panel on writing in spite of one's environment was fun. A small and interested audience added to the debate, and the panel - all of us very different in how we approach the same problems - was a good mix.

Unfortunately, I never seem to get to enough panels because there is always so much other stuff going on - more about that next time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Charlottesville

In the inimitable way that members of the Noramly family have, I spent 2 extra hours waiting in the plane on the tarmac at Denver airport while a baggage compartment door seal was re-glued. I kid you not. They had to wait for the glue to dry.

Luckily it did indeed dry, and apparently stayed glued until we arrived in one piece at Dulles.

And in time for me to get the connection to Charlottesville. Not in time for my bag, though. Never mind, being met by elder daughter, whom I had not seen in 11 months, and greeted by huge hug on arriving at her house by grandson, made up for that. Even Skunky the cat - who hates strangers with a passion and remains hidden for days when someone comes to stay - shot into my bedroom as soon as she realised I was around, and ankle-rubbed like a maniac wind-up toy until she was greeted. She has hardly left my side since. I guess she remembers that I don't go off to work in the mornings and am therefore available for frequent cheek rubs and chin chucks. It is nice to know one was missed...

Luggage arrived this morning. It had been searched and there was a neat note to tell me so.

Denvention report will come soon, with photos.

Monday, August 11, 2008

At Denver airport

After the fiasco of LAX and missing my flight, I arrived at Denver airport 4 hours before my flight - sailed through the ticketing and security in less than an hour, and ended up with more that 3 hours to wait!

So here I am, enjoying their free wifi...

Denvention is over, and I feel enormously sad about it coming to an end. I had a wonderful time. I made new friends, enjoyed meeting old ones, reveled in the knowledge that Australia will hold the 2010 worldcon (for which I now have a paid up membership!), talked books, listened to some great writers talk on a variety of topics, learned lots of new stuff. I will have some more to say in the days to come.

I am continuing on my journey stimulated and rejuvenated, dying to start writing again...

Next stop Charlottesville Virginia, where I will see my daughter again after 11 months or so, not to mention grandson and son-in-law.

To everyone who made my time at Denvention a joy - thanks. Especially Donna, my roomie. Sharing a room is becoming a habit for us, and long may it happen...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blogging delayed

Sorry folks; having much too good a time to blog at length, or indeed every day.

I will write a con report; promise!

Post for the Denvention con-goers who....

...attended the panel on writing in spite of the environment!

These photos were taken in Borneo: on offshore islands, on a fishing boat on the Kinabatangan River and at an expedition camp.

And this one was in a playground in the USA - while my grandson played.
All unstaged photos of actual working moments!
Anytime, anywhere.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Denver has a great street mall, with free buses on either side, no cars, and trees and seats down the middle. Lots of cafes and places to this place. It also has rain. Quite a bit of it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Today (Thursday) I have a reading at 10 a.m. I have this awful feeling that I will be the only person who will turn up.

Denvention so far has been great fun. Met people I have been looking forward to meeting for years, like Cheryl Morgan and Kate Elliott, old friends like Karen Miller and Jonathan Strahan and Donna Hanson, met lots of industry people like Jim Frankel and David Hartwell, listened to panels with iconic writers like Connie Willis and Lois McMaster Bujold and Larry Niven and Robert Silverberg and G.R.R. Martin, even met a couple of fans who actually wanted to talk to me, including a delightful couple of Colorado residents who drove in the city just to meet me (Hi Sarah, Adam!) - I mean, what else could you ask for??? This is a writer's fantasy - at least for a writer normally located in a place remote from the sf and fantasy scene...

And you know what? It has been raining in Denver, and I didn't bring an umbrella. Denver folk stoutly declare that it never rains for this long, ever...

The other disaster is that the party hotel won't allow the serving of alcohol. An Australian bid party without beer or wine??? You've got to be kidding.

The other nice thing was meeting someone who drove a long way from another state to see me again. He was only 9 or 10 years old when I saw him last...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


That says it all, really. I am spending the day here, it seems.

I arrived at 6 a.m. , to catch a flight at ten to eight. No one told me that if you have a paper ticket with United, it actually takes 4 hours to get to the boarding gate.

So I was well and truly Noramlyed. The next United flight was cancelled. So imagine how many people were scrambling for seats, and evidently people who didn't know to arrive at the airport early enough rate somewhere lower than cancelled flight passengers. I don't expect to get into Denver until 6.30 now.

And LAX is such a lovely place to while away the time...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Echo Park and Chinese Flower Tea

Pix 1: Having a bbq at daughter's on day of arrival...

Pix 2: Put a ball of this in hot water and you get....?

Pix 3: A pot of Flower Tea

Los Angeles...

I am in Los Angeles!

Not too bad a flight, if you exclude 9 hours sleepless in Singapore, and then having to crawl all over a luggage cart on the tarmac in the middle of the night because my luggage was supposedly a matter of a security problem and had to be searched (long story - after all, you can't possibly think Glenda could go anywhere without being Noramlyed somewhere along the line, could you? It was actually all a minor problem concerning a wrongly entered computer code, but somehow simple things have a way of escalating where one of the Noramly family is concerned and the luggage guys received a garbled message and...never mind).

To make up for all that, I was upgraded to economy plus (bless you, United) and had a lovely flight. Actually managed to sleep. And I had nothing to do with the lady 2 seats away who had to carried off by the paramedics in L.A., honest.

So here I am in L.A.! Met by daughter No. 2, on schedule.
Staying with her in Echo Park (yes, the Echo Park). Fly out to Denver tomorrow...

Monday, August 04, 2008

At Changi Singapore airport...

Here it is just part midnight. I have been here more than 2 hours and I have another 7 and a half to go. Sigh. I guess, though, if one must spend all that time in an an airport, there are worse ones to choose.

I spent the 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur on a 777 - Singapore Airlines - wide seat, loads of leg room...what do you bet I don't get that on United out of here?

Anyway, good news is that I am on my way to Los Angeles. And Denver. And Denvention.

Expect photos.

Bad news is that blogger is doing really, really strange things to my posts so you may never see this...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Mini Virtual Conflux Con...

Well, I've done my bit! But it is still on another 24 hours.

For my one hour take a look here. It is a bit incoherent, as Q and A don't always follow one another(I'm a slow typist...) but I think I answered just about everything in the end.

In fact you can even check out last year's here.

It was great fun, and I so enjoyed it. One hour just flew by; couldn't believe that it was over so quickly. My thanks to the organisers. Wish I was going to the real thing too!

Friday, August 01, 2008

The biggest surprise in the life of a published author...

[DON'T FORGET: Friday night or Saturday - your chance to chat: see posts for last Tuesday and Wednesday below.]

Most would-be authors aren't surprised to find out just how difficult it is to get published first time around. They've been warned by those who went before. Some have tens of rejections for a book before they get it accepted; others try ten different novels before they write the one that gets accepted. (And some of course will never make it.)

Once you are published, is it different with the next book (or next trilogy)?

Yes, it is. Just how different though, and in what way, depends on the particular author and publisher and the book(s).
  • If a writer has a solid seller or a best seller first time around, then there is usually no problem. They will sell the next book on the basis of a synopsis and/or book proposal. Indeed, they might sign the contract without having written a single word of the new book - and that will NEVER happen to a new (non-celebrity) author with no publishing history who submits a fiction proposal/synopsis for consideration.
  • If the sales for the last published book or trilogy were not so hot, it may be harder - almost as hard as a first time author. In other words, it is not the brilliance of the book being offered that is the issue - it is the sales figures for the last book. Not very fair, perhaps, but often true.
  • The great publishers and editors - and yes, they still exist - will "carry" a newly published author for a while, giving them a second or even third chance at publication when they have faith in the writing. In other words, they build their writers and hope their fan base will expand with each publication. (For a brand new author, though, you usually only get once chance to snag a particular publisher - which is why your MS has to be as faultless as you can make it before you submit.)
  • If an author is unprofessional in their work and behaviour, they may find themselves being dropped even though their sales are not so bad. The next book may be good, but an editor will feel that they aren't worth the trouble. And yes, I have heard of this happening. If you want to play the prima donna, wait until you are at the top of your league when you may indeed be "worth the trouble". Not that you should be proud of that, of course...
  • Sometimes poor sales are not the fault of the writing or the author. Horror tales abound (true ones too) about books that could never be re-ordered by book shops because of wrong ISBN numbers, about dreadful covers and awful back cover blurbs, about books never pushed because of inhouse problems at the publishers, about editors who left the firm at the crucial moment in the journey of a manuscript to published book and no one cared about your languishing baby, about imprints that died taking the book into oblivion before it had a chance. Or about the publisher who misjudged the popularity of your book, and ordered a large print run. It sold 10,000 copies (respectable for a new author!) but your publisher has another 20,000 unsold and your name is suddenly poison compared to an author who had a print run of 5000 and sold them all in the first three weeks. Any author who has been around for a while has at least one of these stories to tell about their life as a published writer! It happens. You learn to deal with it and move on.
  • The main advantage a published writer has over a newbie is this: they have a foot in the door because they can prove that they are publishable. They have the book(s) to prove it. (A self-published book does NOT say the same thing as a book published by reputable publisher. Sorry.)
So what's the biggest surprise an author receives after they are published? It is this: you write a book and your whole aim is to get an acceptance letter and then to hold that first published book in your hand and drool...and you think all your problems are over. What you don't know, is this: that moment is just the beginning. And life doesn't necessarily suddenly become a bowl of cherries. Just like any other career, there are good moments, great moments, and times when you break a tooth on a cherry pip. You shrug and move on. That's life and I love it.