Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Internet Freedom

Rochelle Weber--Author, Editor, Professional Grandmother Freedom of speech on the internet is as vital as freedom of speech on the street. Please do not allow Big Business to turn the Internet Highway into a toll road upon which only the very wealthy can afford to travel.

As am a first-time author, about to be published by a brand-new e-book publisher, I am very excited about the possibilities of e-publishing. If we had to pay for preferred space on the internet in order to reach our readers, we could not do business. The costs of paper, ink, equipment, transportation, warehousing and the overhead at stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble has made getting published in print an extremely difficult prospect. The internet IS the future of publishing--as long as access remains free.

Actress Alyssa Milano discussed this topic in her blog, which included a link to Move On, a grassroots organization that offers opportunities to speak out on subjects such as this. The Bush Administration and their cronies in Congress are trying to remove our fundamental human rights, including the right of free speech. It is vital that we do everything we can to stop them. So, please go to this link: and sign the petition. Let Congress know that it is vital to maintain free access to the Information Superhighway.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Inara's Grand Opening Week

After months of waiting it finally arrived! Inara Press is now a fully going concern. We had help celebrating our opening week. Suite Magazine featured us in their Suite Escape Lounge Yahoo Group so we had a full week of chats with Inara authors. Of course, we all logged on and supported each other throughout the week. We’ve all communicated before through our own Yahoo Group, but I think that with posting excerpts from our books and answering questions about subjects ranging from where we get our ideas, to our individual writing processes, to what our offices look like, to whether we believe in and afterlife and if so what it would be like—we’ve gotten to know each other even better and grown closer. The Inara authors and staff are truly like a family and that certainly showed in our posts this week.

This was my first experience with an author chat, and I got so excited about it, I ended up having a 96 hour manic swing during which I slept a total of about 12 hours—not all at once, and not very well. I even had minor surgery during that time and didn’t even sleep during the surgery, despite the fact that they supposedly sedated me. That, however, is another whole story.

I want to thank everyone who participated—not only my fellow Inara authors and friends, but the new friends I made during the chats. It was truly heady for a truck driver’s daughter to hear the kind of feedback I was receiving from the excerpts I posted. I cracked up when our Marketing Director described Rock Bound as “a cautionary tale of the future” in a press release, but I thought, “well, of course she’s going to make it sound really good—she’s trying to generate sales.” However, when my editor and her husband both chimed in and told everyone that it was really good, I began to think maybe I got it right. My editor wrote: “Everyone, Rockbound is a really good futuristic that takes a hard look at some of the issues plaguing us today.” I couldn’t help but wonder who she was talking about. ;-) The rest of our authors also had good things to say about the excerpts. So I will hopefully have at least eight sales. I’ll let you judge for yourself. There is an excerpt from the beginning of Rock Bound on my webpage,, but I’ll add another tidbit here:

Rock Bound

Chapter Two

Processing the Prisoners

Set Up: After the US is taken over by a dictator, people congregate on the Mall in Washington, DC, to protest. The optimistic atmosphere is destroyed, however, when troops open fire on the protestors. Annie Peterson is led away in shock after her husband is killed and her baby is taken from her. She never notices Jake Johnsrud’s sympathetic glance as they are led away in opposite directions. The prisoners are taken to the Armory in DC to be processed, where they are crowded into a carvernous room with exercise mats on the floor in lieu of beds. Annie and Jake each bond with the people with whom they share their mats.

By the second day in the armory, rumors began circulating that the prisoners were being sold as slaves. Although slavery had been outlawed in the United States over 200 years ago, this was no longer the “land of the free and the home of the brave” in which they had grown up.

“I don’t get it,” Vivian said when the rumor reached the four women. “What sort of work is there for slaves to do? Even the farms are so industrialized humans aren’t needed the way they were back in the 18th and 19th Centuries.”

“Yeah, and where would they be sending us? All of the inhabitable parts of the Earth are already settled,” Crystal added.

“Well, wherever it is, I imagine we’re in for a rough time,” Annie agreed.

They didn’t have to wait long for answers. An announcement was made over the A-V system in the drill hall. The face of a general appeared on the view screens that hung on the walls around the room, and his voice boomed out of speakers in the ceiling.

“You have all been found guilty of treason and as you know that’s a capital offense,” the General announced. A buzz of conversation started but was chopped off as he continued. “But we have an alternate solution. We’re ready to begin mining operations on the Moon. If you choose to go to the Moon, you’ll be indentured to the Luna Mining Corporation for a total of ten years. Then you may return to Earth, if you can pay your way back.” The guards all laughed at that, as the murmur resumed among the prisoners.

The guards then began escorting groups of twenty prisoners out of the drill hall to a classroom where they were met by a colonel and a couple of sergeants. The officer sat at the teacher’s desk and the sergeants passed out contracts and pens to the prisoners, then stood at the sides of the room while the officer explained the terms of the contracts to them as they sat at student’s desks.

There was no question in Jake’s mind as to which alternative he would take. Ten years wasn’t that long, and with his skills, perhaps he’d be able to earn enough money once his indenture was up to pay his way home.

“I doubt anyone in this room has ever done any mining,” Jake pointed out to the colonel. “What else can we do up there?”

“We’ll train ya,” the colonel replied. “You’ll mine when you get up there.”

“How much is a ticket back?” another man asked.

The colonel laughed. “More money than you’ll ever have again.”

“Then why should we sign these papers?” Jake asked.

“Because treason’s a capital offense. Which part of that don’tcha understand?” the Colonel replied.

“Where do we sign?” Pete asked.


Annie and the other three women listened to the colonel in silence. Then Annie tentatively raised her hand.

“Excuse me, sir. What if we just aren’t strong enough for mining operations? Are there other positions we could fill when we get up there?”

“You women are being transported as doxies. You’ll service the men.”

“Service how?” Annie asked timidly. She thought she knew the answer, but couldn’t quite accept it. The guards were grinning at the sides of the room.

The colonel leered at her and answered, “However they want you to.”

“Women have done worse things to survive,” Crystal muttered as she signed her papers.

“Ten years isn’t so long,” Vivian agreed, and signed her name. Like Jake, she took it for granted that she would be able to return to Earth when her term was up.

Angie sat for a moment, staring blankly at the paperwork. Then she began to laugh hysterically. “First you rape me and then you ask me to ‘service’ more men? I’d rather be dead!”

“That’s what you will be if you don’t sign these papers,” Crystal hissed at her.

She began to sob. “I can’t, I can’t.” She slowly pushed the papers away. The colonel nodded to the guards standing near the doorway. Crystal and Annie, sitting on either side of Angie were both holding the sobbing girl, but the guards pried her out of their desperate embraces. Angie was taken away and the other three women never saw her again.

Well, it was prostitution or death. Annie supposed she could endure ten years as a prostitute. She imagined the women would perform other services as well, such as cooking and cleaning for the miners. She had joked when she got married that it was quite appropriate that the music of Here Comes The Bride was actually the march of the prostitutes from an old Wagnerian opera. Besides, maybe once she paid her debt to society, she would be able to find Bobby and get him back. She agreed to the sentence and signed the papers before her without reading them. After all, she already knew she was being screwed.