Steve's Attic... or: Stuff That Didn't Make It Into The Books...

"The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance" (with thanks to Scott McElfresh for the suggestion)


"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

WELCOME TO THE ATTIC. Watch out for that low beam over there, and those cobwebs over in the corner, and sorry for all the dust and the mess (and the slow download), but hey, it's an attic, after all -- the place where all the stuff you don't use goes. Sure, I could have a garage sale (or wipe my hard drive) and it'd all be gone, but the sad truth is that I'm a packrat.

How did the virtual attic get so full? Well, the Emerson quote above is extremely apt for me. I'm infested with hobgoblins (either that, or I have an extremely little mind <g>, as I sometimes work inordinately at foolish self-consistencies in my books -- and I'm sure I sometimes miss the larger ones). When it comes to background, I can be anal-retentive. I'm one of those weird people who just love appendices in books. I read every word at the back of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and pored over the maps. Denise, on the other hand, doesn't have any interest in that kind of thing -- all she wants is the novel, not the background material.

Not surprisingly, then, I tend to put together a fair amount of stuff that, for one reason or another, never gets into the book. If that interests you, if you like poking around the attic of a writer's mind, you're in the right place. If not... well, you'd better click here to get out now before your allergies kick in.

Mind you, much of the notes and other material I've written for the books is gone forever. It's only relatively recently (with the computer) that I've has a convenient electornic attic. Much of the older stuff is simply lost -- mabe thrown out inadvertantly, or stuffed in a file somewhere for me to find a decade from now. For instance, at one point in time, I had an elaborate timeline for what I called the "Alliance Universe," where several of my early short stories and my first three novels took place. That's gone -- or at least hidden. I'd placed the stories in that timeline, and interlinking characters appeared now and again. I haven't written in that universe for many years now -- but if I did, I know I'd be going back, re-reading all those stories and jotting down the characters, all so I could reconstruct that history.

Let's see what we can find in this place...

Here's something that'll never see the light of day.... I was asked for input on the cover to a book once,, so I put together the image below. My editor and I thought it looked pretty nice, but it didn't fly in the cover meeting -- and neither did the title. Which is OK, mind you -- a cover (or title) exists to sell books, and if their cover and title will sell more copies, than I wouldn't say a word. But... it did mean I had to drag this up into the attic and lean it against the wall with several of the other illustrations I've done. I'll just put it over here...


Hey, look what's behind the SILENCE cover! The images below aren't exactly 'left out' -- my publisher's never seen them. I picked up Bryce, a graphic landscape program, and since then I've spent inordinate amounts of time (which should have been spent writing) puttering around with the program. The images look much better in higher resolution, but this should give you some idea of what Bryce is capable of creating... even with a rank amateur like me behind the controls.

The picture above is a scene from SPEAKING STONES (Avon Eos, March 1999). This is my interpretation of the new Black Lake that was created after Ghost slammed into Mictlan.

The above is the island AnglSaiye, which appears in DARK WATER'S EMBRACE (Avon EOS, March 1998) and SPEAKING STONES, viewed from the shore of the bay in which it sits, as the humans would have first seen it.

Here's another Bryce-rendered scene from DARK WATER'S EMBRACE: "The Rock, at the Black Lake", as it would have looked back in the time of the Miccail.


I have literal TONS of extra stuff for DARK WATER'S EMBRACE. I intended to have several appendices in the book, but was talked out of them. (For good reason, I suppose. Maybe.) For the most part, those now appear in the "Building A World" section of this site (another attic, but an organized and specialized one...). I did a few ink and pencil drawings of the alien character in the book and they're reproduced in that section.

I'd also planned to have pithy, short quotes from the journal of a long-dead character at the beginning of each chapter. However, halfway through the first draft, I abandoned the straitjacket of chapters for a looser structure. Plus, these little aphorisms kept getting longer and longer as Gabriela Rusak, the character whose journal was being quoted, became more important to the plot. Jennifer Brehl's editorial comments finally put the axe to them, suggesting that I combine and re-order the Gabriela sections. (And Jennifer was correct, by the way. The book's better with Gabriela's quotes revised and expanded.)

But I have all these nice aphorisms and no place for them to go. Except here. Let me blow the dust off them for you:


I don't want to become a mother. Not until children come with a full warranty and a life-back guarantee.

If you want proof that most pornography is written by men all you have to do is read it: "His rigid manhood penetrated her moist center, thrusting deep into the clinging folds of her heated flesh..."

What a bunch of utter crap. They have it all wrong.

Men don't penetrate women; women engulf men.

Trust is something you can't safely give to someone unless you can first give it to yourself.

And even then you can't be sure.

My mother, who (I found out much later) was rather more experienced in such matters than a teenaged girl would prefer to admit, once sat me down just before I went out on a date with the latest in a series of remarkably poor choices.

"Just keep this in mind," she told me. "Most of the people you're going to meet are obsessed with one thing. You're going to find that they're often not very good at it, either. Which means that you end up having to make a choice--to praise them for their passion, or criticize them for the actual performance. You can try doing both, but the fact is that passion is fire, and truth is water. Too much truth, and you'll put out the flame."

I nodded that I understood, and promptly ignored the advice.

I, of course, had assumed she was talking about sex. It wasn't until much later that I realized that my mother's insight was far broader than that small subject.

The kami who rule our lives often play a nasty variation on the old psychological test of "is the glass half full or is it half empty?" In fate's version, we are presented with situations that are ethically ambiguous, and we are forced to declare "This one is right; this one is wrong. This one is white; this one is black."

The only 'truthful' answer is that, hey, they're all gray.

I'd really wanted to include little graphical 'cards' at the end of each chapter in THE ABRAXAS MARVEL CIRCUS, especially since a Macintosh computer figured heavily in the plot. I also put together a page for each of the three sections of the book, using all the cards from each chapter. This was in the 'good' old days of B&W, two-bit drawing programs and no personal laser printers. I created everything in MacDraw, tediously working pixel by pixel in FatBits, and printed them out on the manuscript, on an ImageWriter.

The original plan was to use them, but then John Silbersack left Roc, and I got a last minute call saying that they couldn't/wouldn't use the graphics as is, and if I wanted them in the book, I could re-draw them by hand (much larger, so they could then shrink them down again to clean them up) and get them to Roc in the next three days. I argued that doing them by hand defeated the whole purpose, since I wanted them to look like they were done on a computer, and even if I could reproduce them on the computer in a larger format, I couldn't possibly do it on that kind of deadline. The return argument was, well, they were only decorations anyway, and Roc had bought the book and not the drawings, and they couldn't change the deadline, so... The end result was that AMC appeared without drawings.

If the book is ever republished, I'll try to get the drawings back in. In the meantime, if you have a copy, here are the drawings that were supposed to be in there. They're in chapter order, 1 to 27...

1: Dirk Gets Lucky

2: Taken For A Ride

3: Joan the Flower Man

4: The House On The Hill

5: Death With Chowder

6: Damp Dreams

7: Tarot Incognito

8: A Meeting With Relish

9: Dirk Gets Lucky... Really

10: The Prophet Harold

11: A Bowl WIth A Mind Of Its Own

12: Cuisines and Other Relationships

13: An Unlucky Moment

14: Concerto Coitus

15: Popped Questions

16: A Tossed Gauntlet

17: At The Old Ball Game

18: Kansas City

19: The Fool, Reversed


20: Far Ago & Long Away

21: Fate's Accomplice

22: Remains To Be Seen

23: Dirk Hits The Beach

24: Abracadaver

25: Weighing The Anchorite

26: The Attack On Fort Marvel

27: Every Now And Then

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