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Lazette M. Gifford

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Featured Book
Testimonies
by Richard French

The third novel in a series called "Witnesses", "Testimonies" begins with these words: "The stories of a free people aren't always smooth and orderly." Never mind what ..  
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Welcome to Lazette Gifford's Newsletter. In this (hopefully more frequent) newsletter you will find news on my latest publications, word on what I have been involved in elsewhere, and even occasional stories, chapters and articles. I hope that you enjoy the reading!
Newsletter Dated: 2/4/2004 3:14:51 PM

Subject: The State of the Writer Report, January 2004

Now available! Honor Bound

***
From the cover blurbs:

A talented writer with a gift for worldbuilding... CJ Cherryh

Blood, bullets, knives, explosives and a genderbender twist---with a healthy dose of heart. Works for me. Jane Fancher

Lazette Gifford writes edgy, make-you-think tales -- tough people in hard, strange places facing big trouble. And these two stories are some of her best -- excellent through and through -- Holly Lisle

***

Honor Bound is a small, magazine-like chapbook comprised of two novelettes. It is available through Yard Dog Press (http://www.yarddogpress.com/honor.htm) and amazon.com.



January is a few days past, and I thought I should get my next newsletter ready to go out. So far, 2004 has gone very well. I've made two short story sales, and my chapbook has been released. Having cover quotes from three of my favorite writers -- Jane Fancher, Holly Lisle and C.J. Cherryh! -- is a great way to start out any year.

My focus this year has changed somewhat. I have new things to take care of, new duties and new worries. But I'm happy to say that the changes have not been as drastic or troubling as I feared they would be.

Forward Motion is moving along very well. We've gained about 1500 new members since NaNo in November, and many of them are finding their way into the crit pages, asking questions, joining in at chat, etc. This has been an extremely good group who are obviously interested in writing and not trolling for trouble. In fact, there have been fewer problems in the last few months then I ever remember. The moderators have been wonderful in helping to revise some of the forgotten boards. I think the site is doing very well, and it's a great feeling.

The two year novel class I'm teaching is going well, too. We're about to move into character development and planning. I'm looking forward to seeing how some of the others usually create characters and see if what I offer helps anyone. We have divided up into genre groups now, and I can see that there is going to be a lot of help given between members. It's a great group.

Back to School for Busy Writers is giving me a little trouble right now. I need to get it better scheduled and have people turn in the work well ahead of time so that I know it's ready to go. Prior to this I've just trusted both them and their computers to cooperate. A disaster has left me with an open spot in February that I'm working on filling right now. Lucky for me that I had an idea for a strange class already in my head and got most of it mapped out yesterday. It's going to be a lot of writing that I hadn't planned on, though.

Vision, as always, is a little behind. I think it's just a curse. I'll have to sacrifice some dust bunnies or something.

I am caught up on all the Double Dragon Ebook publications work. At the moment the submissions are closed, and that's good. I need a little break to get caught up on other work.

Writing?

Well... it's been odd. I've been purposely going slower than usual this year because I gave myself a goal of half a million words -- half of what I've written in the last two years. I want to get a lot of the material I've stacked up edited and submitted. In that respect I've done very well. I have edited, at least a little, every single day this month. That's a record for me. I'm working on Muse, and I'm about ready to put together the submission package. I haven't done this in a while, at least not for a print novel submission.

I have been so caught up in working on Muse that I've pretty much dropped everything else in new writing for the moment. I am determined to get the new material written for Muse, and everything edited. I am going to do a submission package and get it out before the first week of March.

Farstep Station keeps calling to me, but I'm holding off on jumping back into it. I hope to do some more short story writing as well soon. But first I have to get Muse done. I am making myself stay focused on it, which is good... but difficult for someone who is used to working on multiple projects. The only thing that saves me is that I have a lot of nonfiction writing to do at the same time -- Back to School material as well as the two year novel course. I have about 63 pages of material on the novel stuff, and a publisher who might be interested in a finished project, so it is definitely getting counted in new words now. (grin)

I've had two story acceptances this month and one poetry rejection (held over from a submission last year). I did get my two submissions out for the month, but it wasn't easy. I need to start working sooner on that for next month. Of course, if I do this right, one of those submissions will be Muse.

Total new words for January was 46,603. Edited page count is 115. I need to get the second number up higher, but I'm still doing pretty well. Two submissions, one already accepted. So, goal wise, I'm hitting pretty much right on line.

Of course, January is always the easy month. Let's see how I'm doing around May...

And February's Fiction is... An excerpt from my novel, Dacey's Dream, Book 4 of the Dark Staff series:

***
... Something else moved through the streets of the city. Something...

Something *near.* The stone pulsed painfully bright again, and with a start Dacey saw a shadow move no more than ten yards away. It came straight at him, moving with an awkward, lopsided gait; not so much like a man, but rather like a creature that would have done better on four legs instead of two.

Gods, a *wyrdbane* -- a creature caught between human and magical animal. He hadn't thought it possible that such a thing could be created without another mage, and he knew that there wasn't another in all of Dodano, and perhaps not even anywhere else in the world.

Kept coming at him...

The creature leapt over the half burnt wall before Dacey could no longer doubt it had hunted and found him. Could he hold it at bay long enough to reason with it, even without words?

Dacey leapt out of the recess and at the creature, startling it back a step while it yelped in surprise. And in that moment Dacey saw this thing in the full moonlight. Half man -- the shape of the face, and the eyes, he thought -- but the hands had turned to claws and mottled fur covered his face, his arms. The mouth opened in a snarl to show a flash of sharp fangs as it growled and sprang back at him.

Dacey darted through the ruins, putting debris between him and the monster. He had never learned to fight, and he wore neither armor nor weapon -- as though any mage could bear metal. He could say no spell of protection or attack. He had no hope of survival at all except for his wits.

And why survive, he wondered as he slithered back away. He had hoped to find a man doing the killings -- an evil man, yes, but one still hungry for more magic that Dacey could have at least held out as a temptation. However, this *thing* had tasted too deeply of the wrong wine, and it would never be reasoned with again. It would not understand an offering of magic. It wanted only blood.

Dacey stopped, panting for breath, uncertain where to turn. It came around the charred wall, and in the moonlight he could see the claws brown with the blood of others it had killed. It reached for his heart now.

Dacey threw his cloak into its face and ran again.

The creature snarled, ripping the cloak with those long claws. Then, with a growl of animal anger, it came after him... the lopsided gait too quickly giving way to the quicker pad of four paws against the stone pavement.

Dacey had nowhere to run that would offer safety on a moonlit night, and especially not to someone they already considered as foul as the creature that followed him.

No choices left...

With a feeling inevitable acceptance, Dacey ran toward the guards' post by the palace gate. At least if he died, he would do it with his soul untarnished, and save some other innocent from the inhuman claws of this foul creature. This *thing* that snapped at his feet had been his last hope... and now he could only lead the creature to its own demise and die saving the city that despised him.

***

Dacey's Dream, along with the other books in the Dark Staff series, can be bought at Double Dragon Books (http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.asp?ISBN=1-55404-099-X) and Fictionwise.com











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