My NewsgroupMy newsgroup was a public forum hosted by sff.net, that began back in 1999. Wow. It was a wonderful place to gather. Fortunately, it's not gone -- simply moved to a place where more of you can find it! If you miss the newsgroup, contact me on facebook and I'll give you the "key.". You can use your web browser ("To My Newsgroup") or follow the instr
Like live journals, newsgroup messages (called posts) stay where you can read them and are organized into conversations( called threads). Sff.net does maintain an archive of past posts, if you're curious.
1. Is it really you posting on the newsgroup?
This question always makes me smile. Yup yup yup. It's me. Julie E. I drop by several times a day, in fact, schedules, storms, etc. permitting. I love the company and conversation. So if you want to ask me a quick question or tell me something, the newsgroup's the place. I also post my most recent news there, whether about new books or events.
2. Do I have to post something to participate?
Certainly not. Quite a few people never post. They prefer to be "lurkers" and read what's there. That's fine. It's nice if you introduce yourself, because I'd like to meet you, but not required. On the other hand, drop into any conversation of interest. The more the merrier!
3. What should I ask?
You'll notice from the posts that just about anything goes. People in this newsgroup are wonderful sources of information. Don't worry about asking something you feel must have been asked already. It doesn't matter. The older posts are periodically archived by sff.net, for one thing, and I guarantee others will have the same question.
I love to answer questions about my work, by the way (btw), so don't hesitate to post them. If what you say contains any plot points, please put the word SPOILER in your subject head and leave space at the top of your post, to protect those who may not have read that book yet. Oh, and please do this when talking about TV or film, as well as books. You never know. (Plus I tend to record and watch later, so I’m likely not to have seen it yet.)
4. Are there rules?
Only of courtesy. Think of the newsgroup as my home and you've been invited to drop in for conversation with some friendly people you've never met before. (With children present.)
5. If there are no rules, is it safe?
Of course. Firstly, sff.net is a marvel, and I’ve never heard of anyone who posted having spam or other nuisances follow. Secondly, I’m there as moderator. (When I'm away, I arrange to have someone else with the keys watch the place.)
If a conversation heads in a direction that might make anyone uncomfortable (quite rare), either I or someone will mention salmon puffs as a sign to take their discussion off the newsgroup. Why salmon puffs? Because that’s what I was taught to offer at family gatherings if politics/religion/currentevents/etc came up. It's hard to argue around a yummy gooey mouthful.
So yes. My newsgroup is a family-friendly, positive, encouraging place to hang out. No worries, mate!
6. Should I start a new subject every time?
If you reply to an existing post by hitting "reply all" or "reply group," it will automatically put your reply under the same subject heading. A few of these produces a thread, so a conversation is recorded under one subject. Threads are fine, but if you are going to change the topic drastically, it's best to start a new post with a new subject head, so everyone interested can easily find it. Not everyone reads them all. (Well, I do ;-)
7. What are those weird words?
I really do try not to use acronyms and abbreviations, but it's difficult to avoid. Here are some of the more common. Don't hesitate to ask for an explanation if something is posted that makes no sense whatever. I’m probably confused too.IPU - Imperial Patience University. A group of people dedicated to making me (and now other innocent authors) write faster, or at the very least, post snippets of work in progress. They are tenacious, clever, and charming folks, despite their tendency to bellow "arrroOOOO" at the hint of new words. Leading to the term snippet hound. I believe membership entails being incredibly "patient." A requirement I seriously doubt.
GEV - Great Editorial Voice. Me talking to myself. Don't worry. I don't really have a split personality, just a split work ethic. Part of me remains the businesslike professional editor and nudges at me to work, get real, all those things. Plus, sometimes I use the GEV to express things that sound dumb when I say them [GEV - in other words, she talks about herself in the third person when embarrassed.]
LOL - Laugh Out Loud. Or Lots of Love. Depends on context and the time in Norway. There are variations. ROTFL - Rolling on the Floor Laughing.
VIOLA! - Not an acronym, but now the catchword for anything creative and fun produced on the newsgroup. My dear BF (Biggest Fan) keeps the best of these on her site. www.angelfire.com/scifi/viola/
Writerly Stuff - which isn't an acronym either [GEV - she's easily distracted]. This is the subject head I use to post things about the craft I hope will be useful to other writers. [GEV - or show a little too much about this writer.] There are many other writers on the newsgroup who kindly post information as well. Variation: Editorly Stuff.
Lady of the Grey Tower - One of the perks of hanging out with talented scribes is when they let loose, magic happens. Thus It's evolved that when I'm to be on the road, away from the newsgroup for any length of time, there may well be a party of scintillating imagery around the Grey Tower (aka where I "live"), me being the "Lady" of said establishment and others taking on the persona of their choice. I've a trunk with dear little legs, a dragon named Spot in the basement, and various odd things happen when I pack or unpack. So if you see this going on, enjoy! (If you visit Mondolithic Studios, which you should, look for a work of glorious art called "The Lady of the Grey Tower." The name's not a coincidence. A lovely compliment from a dear friend.)
8. What's involved with your contests?
I try to run some type of contest as often as I can, especially when the weather's a bit gloomy. Most are small writing contests. A few may be trivia questions or riddles based on my books. Some are for the first person to spot a new book or its reprint, information I find very helpful. Sometimes they are simply "next lurker to post a first message" contests. The prizes range from wild applause to sneak peeks at new covers to autographed books.
9. What's a snippet anyway?
Quite a while ago, I wanted to test a phrase from a work in progress. So I posted it as a "snippet," from the word my family uses for a little taste or a small bit of fabric used as a sample. Well. Snippets are now the preferred food of Snippet Hounds, who oddly all seem to belong to the IPU. Hmmm. Suffice to say, it is my pleasure to occasionally post bits from my upcoming book. The word "snippet" in the subject head is also in case, as some readers, you'd prefer not to read anything in advance. It's grown into something quite lovely, since several of the talented writers in the newsgroup kindly post snippets too. Did I mention I'm an alumnus of the IPU myself?Posting a snippet. You are welcome to post a sample of your work anytime. As a rule of thumb, they should be Pg-13, because there are youngsters and folks like me reading the newsgroup, and short is better than long. If you want critical comment, say so and folks will contact you off the newsgroup. Be prepared for enthusiastic howls. Lest you think posting a snippet is only for fun, however, keep in mind that I'm there (an editor) as well as at least two other editors who lurk, so you do have a chance to casually show your writing to people who may indeed notice when anthologies roll around, or when you meet in person at a convention.
Birthday Snippets. Rather than embarrass myself by forgetting birthdays (though the newsgroup has an adept Birthday Fairy who does keep track), I instituted the newgroup practice wherein the person having the birthday posts a snippet. How smart was that? [GEV: she can be smug, you know.] (If they aren’t a writer, then a photo, or recipe, or movie review. Anything at all). It brings a happy chorus of congratulations – and occasionally more snippets. This turned out to be more clever than I expected, since there are several wonderful and famous published authors on my newsgroup who post snippets on their birthdays for all to enjoy.
I can’t think of much else at the moment, other than it’s best not to crosspost, which means to post to more than one newsgroup at a time. That gets hard to follow and messy. Do check out the other authors with newsgroups at sff.net. You'll be pleasantly surprised who you find!