Pocket Full of Words: Holly Lisle’s Blog

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Something Fun: The Whole First Chapter of the Longview 1 Audiobook
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Enter the Death Circus Audiobook

I’ll have the full audiobook available from my own site in a few days. The audiobook is over two hours in length (nice for a few days of short commutes), and for early purchasers, I’ll be offering it for less than what such audiobooks usually go for.


Questions are welcome, of course. :D

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The View From Fifty-Four: Writer On A Mission
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Writing was, and is, my passion.

Vision, Passion, Mission

Vision, Passion, Mission

I worked at my fiction from the time I was twenty-five until I was thirty-one without ever making a dime, and never begrudged a minute of that time. While I was writing, I was happy. I was creating. I was learning to write better. I was finding my stories and my voice. I was discovering a life-long love.

When I was thirty-one, I sold my first novel, and experienced the realization that I was home.

In that moment, I knew my purpose in life.

I was born to write fiction, to create worlds and characters and stories—and every crazy, dangerous, scary, heartbreaking, and wonderful thing I’d done in my life had been building up to that moment when I could roll what I loved and desired, feared and hated, lived and remembered, into stories that people who shared my same passions and dreads could read.

More, I found my mission.

I knew I wanted to be able to help other writers know what it felt like to come home to their lives’ purpose, to get their fiction into print, to get paid to do what they loved in the world, to turn what had been an impossible dream into “This is my real life, every amazing day!”

I have a vision.

Mine is not a grand vision of a whole world changed by what I love. Mine is a little vision, but it’s mine.

  • I want to live in a world where readers can buy stories they love directly from writers whose work they love, and who can directly, one-on-one, help those writers keep their careers alive, and keep writing the fiction they love, where the commercial publishing issues of sell-through or book-to-book increases cannot interfere with this human-to-human connection.Where the reader will always be able to ask her favorite writer, “Can you tell me a story?” And where the writer will be able to say, “Yes, I can.”
     
    The potential for this world now exists, but it isn’t fully realized.
     
  • I want to live in a world where writers can wake up every morning to write their fiction first, because that is what they’re being paid to do directly from the people who love what they do.
     
    Where motivated, passionate writers can afford to feed themselves and their families, can afford to create better lives for themselves, because their readers happily buy their stories and ask for more.Where every writer who is willing to work hard to perfect his or her craft can connect with the people who value that writer enough to pay to read what he or she does…and who will recommend the writer to friends who share the same loves and passions, and who will love this writer, too.
     
    The potential for this world exists, too—but too many writers don’t realize that what they love is within their reach, or know what they have to do to reach in.
     
    This is a problem I have solved for myself and know how to teach other writers to solve.
     
  • I want to live in a world where writers from anywhere in the world who want to write for a living can do so, regardless of previous education, regardless of pressures from family or society, and in doing so bring joy and laughter, comfort and courage, to the people who share their community, their understanding, their world view. And who can, by reading the works of these writers who share their world and lives, know that they are not alone.The Internet makes this world both reachable and creatable, and I am working right now to build my small part of it.
     

Since 1991, I’ve been feeling my way toward building my part of this world I want to live in.

I made mistakes along the way. I went in wrong directions, forgetting that every person who wants to live a better life has to work to do it, and has to be paid for that work—and that the only way any writer can fully realize his or her dream of writing full-time is to get paid for doing that.
 
I was the first person who jumped in front of the ‘do it for free’ bus I once recommended, and my family suffered for many years because of that.
 
When I realized that if writing was going to be my work, I had to work for money, I put together a little writing shop, and invited other writers to create work for readers and writers and publish it there—but while I did pretty well for a few years moving nonfiction for my writers, I couldn’t do anything for their fiction.
 
And keeping up with the expanding platform and the books on it turned out to be more than I could handle while still keeping my own writing career going.
 
I tried to create Rebel Tales as a way for writers to connect directly to their readers with serial fiction, and got my ass handed to me by a thief pretending to be an editor.
 
Both of these projects of mine were before Amazon and other online bookstores opened up their platforms to indie authors. Amazon and other platforms created much larger access for writers than I could ever offer. They are one of a number of pieces now in place that can allow me to expand my vision, my passion, my mission.
 

I have strengths and weaknesses that affect what I can do with this vision, this passion, this mission of mine.

  • I know how to find the best people on the internet, both readers and writers. Some of them hang out here, and have for years. Some of them hang out in my old Forward Motion writing community, now owned and run by my friend Lazette Gifford. Some of them hang out in my new—well, newer—writing community on How To Think Sideways, which has been alive for about seven years now.
     
  • I know how to show them how to change their dreams into their reality. What they love is what I love—and for the writers, what they want to do is the same thing I wanted to do. I did it without college, without funding, and without assistance from the government, and I know that to succeed, other writers don’t need those things either.
     
  • And I know how to write good fiction, how to revise it, how to make it hang together so that readers want to read more.
     
    Those are my strengths.
     

On to the weaknesses.

  • I am only one person, and I’ve now used up more than half my life, no matter how optimistic I might choose to be about how long I can hope to live. My great-grandmother lived to be 103, and when I was twenty-four (and she was ninety-four) I looked at her and thought, “I need to be doing something that I can still do when I’m her age.”
     
    That was the origin of my New Year’s Resolution to finish my first novel before I turned twenty-five.I made it, and I made it here, and as long as my mind stays sharp, I can do this until I die. And I intend to.
     
    But in the last four years, I’ve had a brain tumor scare and a cancer scare. So far, the symptoms turned out, after expensive testing, to be from benign problems.
     
    But one of these days, they won’t be. I can’t do everything. And I don’t have forever in which to build the world in which I want to live.
     
  • In my HowToThinkSideways.com writing school, along with pros who are sharpening skills and intermediate writers who are close to breaking out, I have thousands of “baby writers.” 
     
    Many of these folks are going to become the great voices in fiction for the next fifty to seventy-five years. But right now they’re brand-new, and struggling to find readers.
     
  • I want to help them find readers—but I need to help them find THEIR readers. I need to help them find the people who will love what they do, who will help them discover their voices, and who will, when they start publishing, find and buy their first stories, and their later stories.  
    People who will value them for their writing, will pay them to keep writing, will love what they do and spread the word to other readers who will ALSO love what they do.And I don’t KNOW their readers. But you do, or someone you know does, or has a cousin once removed on his mother’s side who’s uncle reads exactly what this person writes. 

I want to recruit people who share my purpose, my passion, my mission…my vision.

I have some of my core people already.

My web developer, Dan Allen, understands what I’m doing and why. He knows this mission, and like me, he sees why it matters. He’s on board to build the infrastructure that will make it fly. And he’s in this for the long haul.
 
My amazing moderators know the mission, and in the forums every day, they are now—and have been for years—helping writers figure out new ways to use my writing courses. They help people adapt processes that I use myself into processes that work for brains wired far differently than mine. And as we move forward, they’ll be putting together writing challenges, and using new forum features to help writers make their fiction better.
 
Even while we’re on the crappy forums we’re stuck with until Dan finishes turning a battered, ancient database into a well-oiled machine, they’re on the boards every day. They are magnificent.

I’m still missing some core people.

I have two service providers who are also HowToThinkSideways students, and who created special offers for my writing members, so that they could get better prices on getting their books edited and formatted.

  • I need more folks like these.
  • And I need readers for my writers.

As part of my ongoing mission to create an online writing school that teaches writing dreamers how to become writing professionals, I’m adding a service for readers.

http://ReadersMeetWriters.com will introduce READERS WHO SHARE MY VISION to writers who are working to become professional writers, and who are trying to find their readers.

  • These are readers who are dedicated to helping the writers who are going to become the great voices of fiction for the next fifty to seventy-five years,
     
  • Who want to read good fiction and who are willing to support the careers of the people who it by buying their work…
     
  • And by recommending their work to others…
     
  • Who are willing to pitch in on crowdsourcing final manuscripts, for example, to make sure broke beginning writers are able to put out high-quality, non-buggy fiction even when they’re just getting started…
     
  • Who are willing to help split test things like cover art and cover copy (basically, you’ll just go to pages linked from a Want To Test? page and click around, browsing what interests you and ignoring what doesn’t).
     
  • Who are willing to get involved in helping the writers you’ll someday love BECOME those writers.

Dan and I will have to build this, and my moderators, and volunteer readers and writers, will have to test it.

As Dan and I work toward building a better online writing school, I’m going to ask you what you want, either as a reader or as a writer.

I’m going to use this site to talk to you about these things, and ask you to test various site features and let me know what you think about them. I’m going to ask for your opinions. I’m going to ask for you to help me find the people I need to make various parts of this vision of mine work.
 
I’m building this thing so it will outlive me. I want to know that writers will still have a place where they can learn what they need to know to build lives, feed their families, and reach their dreams doing what they love. And I want that place to still have some part of me in it. To go on doing what I love when I no longer can.
 
I don’t know how long this place can last.
 
I don’t know who else besides me this vision, this passion, this mission speaks to.
 
But if this matters to you, please tell me here. And tell me WHAT matters to you, and WHY.

The view from fifty-four is a wonderful view. It is watching my dreams made real in the world in the lives of writers who reach their own dreams.

Thank you for joining me for all these years in making this happen. Please help me make the vision clearer, the mission stronger, the passion more loved, more respected, and more cherished.

 

 

Join the Readers Meet Writers Brainstorming team and get Founder Benefits

(Link opens in a new tab/page so you won’t lose your comment)

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Cool free stuff for you during my Birthday Week
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I turn 54 this week.

I’ll have a post on that in a couple days, but for today, I have some presents for you.

Today (Monday, Oct 6, 2014—through Monday, October 13, 2014)

Readers:

For every fiction book you buy from my shop for $5.99, I’ll give you one $2.99 book free.

Astute readers will have already noticed that there are 8 books for 5.99, and only 6 for $2.99.

So if you buy more than SIX fiction books, you also get your choice of ONE of the following:

  • Character Clinic,
  • Plot Clinic,
  • Language Clinic,
  • Culture Clinic,
  • World Clinic,
  • Page-Turning Scenes.

To get them, set up a HELP DESK ticket. Title your ticket HAPPY BIRTHDAY! FICTION.  (You can copy and paste the ticket title) :D

Copy and paste your receipts (including purchase dates) from my shop, Amazon.com, or B&N, and let me know which books you want.

Writers:

If you buy one BIG COURSE from the Shop:

You get one Workshop from this list:

  • How To Write Dialogue With Subtext
  • How To Beat Writer’s Block
  • How To Motivate Yourself

Or both workshops from this list:

  • How To Find Your Writing Discipline
  • 7-Day Crash Revision

AND: 

One course from THIS list:

  • Character Clinic,
  • Plot Clinic,
  • Language Clinic,
  • Culture Clinic,
  • World Clinic,
  • Page-Turning Scenes.

To get them, set up a HELP DESK ticket. Title your ticket HAPPY BIRTHDAY! NONFICTION.  (You can copy and paste the ticket title) :D

These offers are also good for purchases made ON OR AFTER Friday, September 5th, 2014.

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How To Write A Series Expansion: Module Two Kick-Off Chat–Course Questions and Story Brainstorming
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Skip forward to 1:28 on the video. The start is me wondering why no one is in the classroom yet, and trying to figure out if I had something set incorrectly.


In this unusually small How To Write A Series chat group, we ran out of lesson questions almost immediately, so we moved on to story brainstorming. This was a lot of fun, and I hope you get some pointers on developing your own series from this Question & Answer chat.

How To Write A Series Class

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My Letter on the Open Internet to Chairman Wheeler
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We have a chance right now to speak up on either sanctioning or protesting the creation of second-class citizens on the internet. I chose to protest.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dear Chairman Wheeler,

As someone who built my first personal website back in 1996, and who built my first internet business about ten years later, I’d like to suggest that the Internet is the most valuable source of information and understanding on the planet.

My writing students take my classes from all parts of the world, and from every continent except Antarctica—and I’d happily give a free writing course to the first guy stationed down there who asks, just to get the bragging rights.

I’m a small business owner. I have about ten to fifteen thousand students, with between five hundred and a thousand active in my classes at any given time. I don’t add massively to the GNP or the GDP, and am unlikely to.

But I do add something, and it’s more than I was able to add when I was an RN.

Like tens of thousands of other Americans, I’ve found a way to offer my skills—in my case, in writing fiction and teaching others how to do the same—to a broader audience than I could have ever hoped to reach at any time in human history.

And, as with all other small businessmen and businesswomen working online right now, I am able to do this simply because no one has chosen to encourage roadblocks that would slow me down.

Or my students.

And this letter speaks to the situation of many of my students. Writers are overall not a rich bunch, and statistically, income for writers skirts the poverty line pretty tightly when it stays above it at all.

I ask that you work to maintain the current Internet structure of steady overall improvements that permits these folks to stay online and interact with other writers—to learn the skills of a paying trade, and by doing so, to learn how to better their own economic status. And to do this without the barriers imposed by being designated second-class citizens, relegated to the cheap seats in the Internet’s magnificent theater of the mind.

Once a “slow lane” is created with a baseline that—once set—will be ignored because it can be, service providers will have little incentive to improve that base standard and upgrade the overall network. The folks in the cheap seats will fall farther behind as “fast lanes” get the lion’s share of improvements.

And this will bury a lot of my folks, who are just squeaking by as it is, or who are on Internet that is barely acceptable as their current baseline because they live in areas of the country poorly served by broadband.

My students are of all races, all religions, all economic strata. A lot of them are single moms and single dads, retirees, kids in college, professional writers with barely-there careers trying to improve their work to reach a broader audience…and all of them are folks who hope to make their lives better than they are now.

I’m doing everything in my power to help them succeed.

I ask that you do the same.

Sincerely,

Holly Lisle

Novelist, writing course creator.

http://hollylisle.com

http://howtothinksideways.com

 

You can submit your own comment to the FCC, and I ask that, if this matters to you, you do. (link opens in new tab)

Your comments are welcome below.

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Super-Snippet: The Selling of Suzee Delight—all three scenes of CHAPTER ONE
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Tales from The Longview, Episode 2: The Selling of Suzee Delight

Tales from The Longview, Episode 2: The Selling of Suzee Delight

All rightee. Deep breath for me, here. Just got finished putting THE SELLING OF SUZEE DELIGHT, Tales from The Longview: Episode 2, up on Amazon.

It should go live tomorrow at some point, and when it does, I’ll send out notices.

I love this story. I cannot believe how much I love this story. It kept shifting and changing on me, getting bigger not just in length, but in what it means to me personally. In the end, after more revisions than I’ve done on a story in years, because my editor (a.k.a. my husband Matt) is a cruel genius who’s superpower is the ability to say, “You know, you never really showed me why X did Y…”

With X being a character or scene that I hadn’t thought completely through, and Y being the part of the scene I’d fudged, and Z, the variable we’re solving for in this little equation from Hell, equalling 10,000 words. :D

Yes. By the time I finished it, the story was over 30,000 words.

And I love it, I love it, I love it.

So. Here are the complete first two scenes for you. And yes, this is a LONG post. :D

ADDED LATER: Scene 3. 

Just because.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Transcript: Suzee Delight — Preliminary Death Sentencing Interview #1

 

Danyal Travers, SPORC Capital Offenses Interviewer, Cheegoth:

Prisoner, you have stated your professional name and ident. For the record, who are you?

Suzee Delight, First Courtesan, Court of the Diamond Dome, Mariposa Pleasure City, Cheegoth: What I am was chosen for me when I was nine years old, when the Educational Selectors discovered that I could sing and dance and play musical instruments and draw pretty pictures—and when they also discovered that my aptitude for science and mathematics was even stronger than my aptitude for the arts. Wishing to suppress my mathematical and science interests and to encourage my entertainment abilities, my Selector removed me from the General Consumer cohort, named me Tawny Girl, and placed me on the Introductory Arts and Pleasures track. I was trained to be a consort.

Because I exhibited superior skills and ability to learn and equally because I was obedient, when I was twelve I was placed into Advanced Arts and Pleasures and renamed Sweet Silver. Along with my physical and entertainment training, I began learning languages, courtesies, and what the Pleasure Masters refer to as Polite Observational Skills.

Danyal (interrupting): Spying.

Suzee Delight: I’ve heard it called that. I do not think that is the correct word. My training teaches that as a consort and courtesan, my service to my profession must consist of equal parts information gathering and recording on my clients, and the providing of entertainment and pleasure for my clients.

Third voice: Suppress that, Travers. That does not go into the public record

Danyal: I’ve deleted that. Prisoner, please continue.

Suzee Delight: By the age of seventeen, I had learned so far beyond the rest of my Pleasure cohort that I was moved into Masters training in Arts and Pleasures. At that time, I was renamed Suzee Delight, and for the past six years I have been the First Courtesan of Diamond Dome. I have served at the direction of the Pleasure Masters, and at the pleasure of my clients.

Danyal: While the information you have given is true, it does not answer my question. Who are you?

Suzee Delight: I’m sorry. I don’t understand your question.

Danyal: You murdered the Administrators of the five most populous and powerful Pact Worlds. You did so during a seduction dance performed for all five men at once, using a knife that you could not possibly have had, hidden beneath your costume and… on… on…

(The sound of the interviewer taking a deep breath is followed by a long silence.)

(Audio resumes.)

You killed all five of them before any one could warn the others. Our holos show that you never hesitated, that you never missed a step, that not one of the men had any inkling of his danger or made any move to protect himself when you killed him.

Suzee Delight: Yes. I am a remarkable dancer. And I killed them quickly because I wished to be merciful. I had always considered them dear friends.

Danyal: Prisoner, I want an answer to the question I asked you. Someone planted you in the Diamond Dome, someone gave you the order to kill the Administrators, someone gave you the knife, someone put you up to this. Who are you really?

Suzee Delight: You are mistaken in several ways. First, I am not a who. I am a what. I am the product of my training. Every moment of my life since I was tested at the age of nine has been recorded; every action I have taken with every man and woman who has paid for pleasure from me is available to you in full holographic detail. Second, in every encounter with every client, I have acted on my training, and I have done exactly what that training has dictated I do—including the encounter for which I am now here.

Danyal: You’re saying that you acted on your own—that you murdered the five Pact Worlds Administrators because your whore training required that you do so?

Suzee Delight: I am a courtesan. I don’t know what training whores receive. My lifetime of training as a courtesan required that once I learned and verified the truth about my old friends and longtime clients—Radiva Kels, Stannal Bregat, Nethamatnu Ha, Soth Smithe, and Kiero Chenzwa—I had to stop them before they could commit the crime they planned.

And the only way I could stop them, because of the enormity of the crime they were planning and how close they were to committing it, was to kill them. They were going to legalize sla—

Third voice: OH, GOD! Delete, delete, delete! Stop the interview, get her out back to her cell, and delete that entire last bit.

(The sound of someone pushing buttons while warnings sounded, and then a long pause.)

Danyal: Prisoner, we’ll resume this interview at a later time.

— * —

 

 

Suzee Delight

I lied to Danyal Travers. I know exactly who and what I am.

A courtesan is a whore with a good education, and what I am is the best-educated whore in the Pact Worlds—and the most famous one. I’m Suzee Delight, and from my original songs and dances and my Paint Beautiful Pictures as Suzee Delight Senso series, on through my instructional pleasure moves and positions, and right up to to my studio-recorded personal full-Senso sessions with famous clients, my mass-appeal products sell to more than three billion men and women across Settled Space. The Pleasure Masters make a great deal of money off of me.

As for who I am…?

Well, I’m the woman who, as a little girl, wanted to be a scientist and design custom nanoviral augmentations for GenDaring on Bailey’s Irish Space Station.

When, during my Wish Conference back when I was nine, I told my Educational Selector that I wanted to leave the Pact Worlds and become a citizen of Bailey’s Irish so I could make tiger people and pony people, he should have let me go.

Now—because he didn’t—I’m going to destroy the whole poisonous, corrupt Pact Covenants system and every power player in it.

The five great men who had entrusted me with their pleasure and privacy had come to the Diamond Dome to make use of me… but also write law—to modify the final language of the Covenants of the Pact.

They had a clever plan to become even richer and more powerful, though at the expense of the people they supposedly served.

And that’s where I come in. The life I wanted to live was taken away from me when I was nine.

In truth, it was taken away from me when I was born, but I did not find out that I was an Assisted child and that my government would choose my life path for me until my ninth birthday.

My life—the life I wanted—was over a long time ago. My execution—if that is where I end—will be the conclusion of my long humiliation and pain.

But if I die, I’m going to bury the people who did this to me right along with me.

How?

It starts with my comment during my interview about me being nothing beyond the thing their training created.

I put that into the interview with Danyal Travers because I knew the new Administrator of Cheegoth was listening in, as were my Pleasure Masters, the Educational Selectors, and everyone else in the whole corrupt Personal Skills and Educational Tracking and Optimization system.

By stating categorically that my training required me to kill my clients once I knew and had validated that they were planning to commit a crime against the Pacts of the Covenant, I sent everyone responsible for my education back through every bit of it from the day I was old enough to toddle into General Consumer training at the age of two.

While they task ever more resources into dissecting those stored holos and figuring out where I came up with my justification for murder—and at the same time put more resources into searching for outsiders who might have somehow implanted in me a trigger they could use from afar—I have both the time and the means to contact an old client who promised to help me out should I ever find myself in a situation where I had to do something that was both right… and criminal.

 — * —

 

Charlie

 

Charlie, the Longview’s mandatory Pact Covenant Observer, sat in Passenger Room 5, her Longview quarters, and on split screens watched what was being billed as the holocast of the century, presented by ever-smiling Danyal Travers, who had been covering the story for days. Each of Charlie’s two screens showed a different datastream of the same event.

On the left screen, she had the official Pact Worlds coverage of the public confession and sentencing of Suzee Delight, First Courtesan of the Diamond Dome, superstar goddess of a thousand Sensos—some actually suitable for general audiences—and reputed simultaneous murderer of the Administrators of the five most important Pact Worlds.

On the right screen, she had the raw, siphoned, underground version of the same feed. If Charlie’s Pact Worlds controller ever discovered that she watched unofficial feeds of anything streamed from the Pact Worlds, he would recall her and drop her citizenship level to F-10: Permanently Unemployable, Sentenced to Minimal Survival Assistance Only.

However, as long as she was assigned to the Longview and had Passenger Room 5 to herself, she was safe. If she did her job and made sure the Pact Worlds received a steady stream of money in exchange for their sentenced criminals, she could hope to remain aboard the Longview, where she was treated better than she’d ever been treated in her life, for at least a couple more years before she received mandatory rotation orders.

Charlie’s only objective where her controller was concerned was to remain unremarkable—to do an average job, turn in average numbers, and in all ways be an invisible cog in the Pact Worlds’ massive machine.

So she was content that the Longview, rumored to be the most profitable Death Circus franchise in Settled Space for its owner, only managed to stay in the middle of the pack where its profits on criminals bought and sold was concerned. How its owner made his other money was officially none of her concern.

Unofficially…

…Well, anything she knew, she might be able to use to her own benefit. And she’d made it her business to know a lot.

Until she found a way to use what she knew, Charlie had decided that if she received rotation or recall orders, she planned to defect. Her defection details were fuzzy, but she was getting them together.

Meanwhile, however, she was in a position to make a difference for people the Pact Worlds considered fodder.

So she watched, tense, anxious, and at the same time hopeful.

Left-side Suzee said, “I am ashamed of my actions. I betrayed the trust of five men I loved, and used my position of trust to murder them because I envied them their power.”

Right-side Suzee said, “I am not ashamed of my actions. These five men betrayed the people they served. They planned to use their positions of trust and power to destroy the autonomy of the citizens they claim to represent.”

The cutwork on the official version had been skillfully done. Charlie couldn’t see or hear the blending between the segments that were actually Suzee’s words, and those that had been inserted.

Most of Settled Space would see the raw version, would know the venom in Travers’ voice as he asked her the questions, would see his eyes glitter as he envisioned her eventual fate.

Most citizens of the Pact Worlds, however, would only have access to the official version, which had little truth in it.

Left-side Suzee said, “I failed my government, my educators, my selectors, my trainers, my clients, and my profession as a courtesan—the highest calling to which any woman can aspire.”

Right-side Suzee said, “I accuse my government, my educators, my selectors, my trainers, and my clients for creating laws that make being a courtesan the highest work to which any woman can aspire.”

“Damned right,” Charlie muttered. “You tell ‘em, Suzee.”

Charlie had been lucky enough to be born homely and lacking in any discernible entertainment skills—she had been channeled into a low-level government job from which neither her intelligence nor her competence would ever elevate her. But her other government-designated career track had been D-3 Convenience Prostitute, and only the the shortage of PCOs caused by the higher suicide rate in the D-3 Pact Covenant Observer career field had saved her from that fate. The people she had to watch burn themselves to death on People’s Home of Truth and Fairness worlds haunted her. The executions she had to certify haunted her. She didn’t question for an instant the reason D-3 PCOs had the highest suicide rate of any career field in the Pact Worlds.

Her plan was to disappear from her job before it devoured her, too.

In front of her, left-side Suzee said, “Because I am guilty of five murders of men designated A-1, and because I freely confess that I committed these murders by intent…”

Right-side Suzee also said, “Because I am guilty of five murders of men designated A-1, and because I freely confess that I committed these murders by intent…”

Left-side and right-side Suzees both said, “I waive my right to trial in order to save the Pact Worlds the cost of such trial when the outcome is already certain, and instead elect to sell my death to the highest-bidding Death Circus, where my execution will be streamed for all viewers on all Pact Worlds. All Pact Worlds citizens need to be able to see me receiving the consequences of my actions.”

Charlie didn’t the hear Suzee’s last few words, however.

She was out the door and shooting herself onto the Longview’s passenger bridge transport, screaming, “I need to speak to the owner, I need to speak to the owner now!”

Shay, the owner’s representative, was on the bridge waiting for her when the passenger transport unlocked.

“Suzee Delight is selling herself to the highest-bidding Death Circus now,” Charlie shouted.

Both the captain and first mate looked back at the two of them.

Shay looked startled, then pleased. “Oh, that’s excellent. You and I will go to the owner’s quarters, Charlie. His condition is bothering him again, so he won’t meet with you personally, but you and I will talk, and he’ll watch us and relay suggestions to me.” She paused. “I’m assuming that you’ve brought this to me because you hope the owner will buy Suzee Delight’s execution.”

“Of course.”

“Because you want to be the one to witness it?”

Shay’s suggestion was as far from Charlie’s truth as it was possible to get.

But Charlie shrugged and nodded. “That… is as good an explanation as any.”

The corners of Shay’s mouth twitched. “You have good entrepreneurial instincts. Come with me, then. I’ll let the owner know we have an investment opportunity for him.”

 

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