Today’s mail…well what can I say? You can’t make this stuff up.

The first letter arrived in a yellowed business envelope. There is the rusty profile of a paperclip along one edge, but the paperclip itself is long gone. Typed on creme-colored business stationary is this:

Dear Mr. Hughes,

Thank you for allowing us to review your manuscript, Modern Disasters. The entire acquisitions board enjoyed your fanciful reports on the fictional sinking of the Titanic, crash of the Hindenberg, and the Japanese attack on our forces stationed in the Hawaiian islands. We feel, however, that your chapter on what you call The Great Depression comes across as unrealistic and, if you’ll pardon the term, depressing. Likewise, your report on the horrific atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima smacks too much of pulpish science fiction.

Furthermore, we should point out to you, sir, that we are strictly a publisher of books of non-fiction. While you do an admirable job of presenting your stories as historical facts, we would still not be able to place it within our catalog. (The art department, however, is very impressed with your staged photographs and manufactured documents.)

Speaking for the acquisitions board, we found your work, for the most part, highly entertaining. We do consider ourselves a gang of roguish louts. We suspect, however, that the reading public in general may find this work of poor taste–particularly given the current state of national mourning over the loss of the Apollo 11 astronauts.

If we may be so bold, we suggest re-writing certain chapters (see enclosure) and submitting the manuscript in a year or two to one of our sister publishing houses–one specializing in fiction.

While we are sad to have to pass on this imaginative work, it simply is not for us. We wish you the best of luck, and thank you for providing us with a welcome distraction from our usual stodgy nonfiction submissions.

Yours sincerely,

Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.
Senior Editor
Bierce Publishing

Huh…so that’s what happened to the Lindbergh baby.

The next piece of mail arrived written in the usual crimson ink on the usual rag paper. It reads:

Dear Sirs,

We appreciate you replying to our last missive but we regret to inform you that once Events are Set in Motion, they cannot be so easily stopped. The firehouse has been eliminated. The scissors have been buried. The badger has been released. We cannot undo this.

We will, however, temporarily suspend activities until we receive your signal.

Please do not keep us waiting long.



Is it Friday already? This week went by kind of quickly. I suppose that’s not a bad thing, although as a freelancer weekends don’t mean the same as they used to. Still, I tend to keep my weekends open unless I’m going through some major crunch time (like last weekend) so I guess it’s significant to me that it’s Friday.


It’s actually a pretty busy day today. Book-wise I’m just doing some touch-up work to the Universal Studios Monster book so that can go to the printer on Monday. I’ve got materials for the 2nd edition of a Doris Day book arriving in the old Inbox, but I won’t be doing much with that until next week. I need to get cracking on a special insert for the SFWA Bulletin that will accompany the copies being delivered to the Nebula Awards Banquet in a couple of weeks, and I have a few TumbleTap projects that are being moved to the forefront. Then there are some personal writing projects that are getting attention today, and some personal business which, if it works out well, I’ll be reporting more on next week.

Fingers crossed. Wish is luck, people.


A couple of links today. First, here’s the latest link to Kathryn Kristine Rusch’s continuing project: The Freelancer’s Survival Guide. This week’s topic is Illness. How do you, as a freelancer, cope with your work schedule and being sick? It’s a fair thing to consider. Speaking for myself, it depends on my Inbox. If I have a light day, yeah… I’ll sleep in for a day. If I have a heavy schedule, I dose myself up until I can function, somewhat, and bite the bullet. I don’t get paid sick days. I need to keep working. Ms. Rusch addresses this quite well.

The second link is to this week’s column at This week I review Michael Jasper’s A Gathering of Doorways