Image: The Blue Flower of Happiness, from
June 1996


New Home Pages In June

Regular visitors to this site may have noticed that the first three index pages have been redesigned this month as full screens, not independent floating GIFs. My apologies to everyone with 2400 bps modems.

I'm a terribly ham-handed designer, and my s erver, Interport, doesn't support imagemaps, believe it or not, but I took this step after receiving one too many comments that the previous homepages were starting to look a little tacky.

One review even called this site "Web Retro." Oh dear.



Win A Free Poster!

Reading large blocks of text onscreen can make your eyeballs swim like little fish.

To break up all that verbage, I've added cartoon dingbats to each of the stories, except for Fireworks and Soup, for which I can't think of anything suitable.

Ply me with suggestions! The best idea will win a 24" x 36" poster version of this site, sent anywhere in the world.



Paying For It

One of the best things about the Internet is that a writer doesn't need to spend a lifetime waiting for an established publisher to tap her on the head with a wand and give her readers. Technology allows writers to go straight to the readers themselves.

But in circumventing traditional publishers, I've also missed having the services of a good fiction editor. The fact is, major publishing houses don't do much editing any more, either. And as a journalist, I know how important an editor is. J.D. Salinger's short stories were terrible before he met up with the New Yorker's fiction editors, and sublime afterwards; Maxwell Perkins reportedly did so much work on F. Scott Fitzgerald's books that he should have been credited as a co-author.

A good editor midwifes a story, shapes it, kicks the writer in the butt, points out gaps and contradictions and self-indulgences the writer never sees. A good editor allows a writer to be more ambitious, knowing she that if she attempts amazing things an d fails, someone will catch her.

That's why I've actually engaged a professional editor to hack through the stories and make them better. After considering about a dozen candidates who replied to an ad with the Editoral Freelancer's Association, I chose one man and one woman. The firs t professionally-edited version of a story, Charlotte's Mirror, will appear on the site July 1st.