Pocket Full of Words: Holly Lisle’s Blog


Thank you for voting on the Suzee Delight Cover Art

The comments, both positive and negative, were tremendously helpful.

The raw test for COVER 3 won votes by a massive amount, but as I noted, that was NOT a finished cover. It was a rough draft.

My overall changes have addressed the following issues:

  • No text over Suzee’s eyes.
  • Brighter skin tone—she can’t be mistaken for a vampire anymore.
  • Changed art style so she no longer has hard black sketch lines on her face
  • Bigger title with emphasis on SELLING and SUZEE DELIGHT
  • Science fiction background
  • All critical text is readable at the size of 66×100 pixels.

MANY comments on the impressions people got from looking at the picture of Suzee, though, picked up exactly what I hoped to convey with that image, so I knew that, at least, had to stay.

Here’s the story sentence for THE SELLING OF SUZEE DELIGHT:

The most famous courtesan in Settled Space murders five senior administrators of the Pact Worlds during a private summit held in her palace, and the results of her confession and the bidding war to win the rights to her execution entangle the Longview and its crew, and threaten the power balance of human space.

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I’ve done three possible covers for SUZEE DELIGHT. Posting them below, and would very much appreciate a vote on the one you like best.


Cover #2

Cover #3

Suzee Delight Cover Art Poll
Which version of the Suzee Delight cover do you like the best?


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The Selling of Suzee Delight: The Captain’s Dinner

Turns out there has been treachery and evil aboard the Longview, with the spy revealed today. I’m happy with what I got—have written more than four thousand words since my last check-in.  I’m at 14,452 words out of a planned 20,000, but the story is once again running a bit long on me.

I’ll definitely be able to finish both the first draft and the cover art between now and July 31st, the deadline I set for myself.

However, the revision and formatting are going to take longer. I’ll have to do them as I work on HTWAS.

Still, as long as I have the first draft finished, I’ll be ready to pick back up with the How To Write A Series Expansion on schedule, finish up the first HotSeat and Q&A, and start in on Module Two.

A reminder on the HTWAS Expansion if you’re following along or know a fellow writer who want’s to join—the day I start into Module Two, the price of the class goes up. If you have friends who want to take this, let them know now is the time to get the course.

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Past the Halfway Point on “The Selling Of Suzee Delight”

I wrote 2004 words, and have now completed more than 10,120 words of the story, so I’m past the halfway point.

Today Kagen, after finding himself dumped from the Longview, located a strange temporary job in the City of Furies processing protests from famous people regarding the trouble in which Suzee Delight finds herself.

And Melie, still Two Gold, uncovered encrypted transmissions to and from the Longview, and tracked them to a passenger room on the ship and to a location on the planet below that has been kept out of the planetary index.

So its going well, and I hated to quit, but I have to do site stuff.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and to seeing what happens next.

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Snippet #2 from Longview 2: The Selling Of Suzee Delight

I was planning on posting a snippet yesterday, but REAL LIFETM intruded, and while I got all my words, I never made it back to the blog. I got all my words again today, so at the the moment, Suzee Delight is sitting at 5888 words out of a planned 20,000. More than 25% done.

Here’s the setup. The famous courtesan Suzee Delight is confessing to five murders before Pact Worlds judges, and both legal and illegal datastreams of her confession are going out into space, jumped through the origami points that connect the worlds of Settled Space to an audience of billions.

Charlie, who is the mandatory Pact Covenant Observer and enforcer of Pact regulations on the treatment of convict on the Longview Death Circus, is watching BOTH streams on side-by-side flat screens (not as cool as holoview, but much more practical for tight spaces). I’m bringing you in mid-interview…


NOTICE: This material is copyrighted, unchecked raw first draft, probably buggy. Please don’t post typos or corrections (I do my edits at the end of the first draft of the project and will not see your comments when I revise). This material may not survive to publication. Do not quote or repost anywhere or in any format. Thanks.


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 and used their positions of trust to attempt to enslave free human beings.”

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

Most of Settled Space would see the raw version. Most people living on Pact Worlds would only have access to the official version, which had little enough truth in it.

Left-side Suzee said, “I failed my government, my educators, my selectors, my trainers, my clients, and my profession, which is 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. Charlie had been lucky enough to be born homely and lacking in any discernible entertainment skills, and also infertile—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 tremendously high suicide rate in the D-3 Pact Covenant Observer career field had saved her from that fate.

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.”

Charlie didn’t hear Suzee’s final words, however.

She was out the door and shooting herself toward the Longview’s Bridge, screaming “I need to speak to the owner, I need to speak to the owner now!” at the top of her lungs, over and over.

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.

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The Selling of Suzee Delight: The start, and a snippet

Along with other work today, I got the first 1480 words written on Tales From The Longview #2: The Selling of Suzee Delight.

As with the first story in the series, I’ve started with the main character, who in this case is the First Courtesan of the Court of the Diamond Dome, a pleasure palace on the small Pact World of Cheegoth. She’s in trouble.

Here’s a long snippet from the scene I finished today.

NOTICE: This material is copyrighted, unchecked raw first draft, probably buggy. Please don’t post typos or corrections (I do my edits at the end of the first draft of the project and will not see your comments when I revise). This material may not survive to publication. Do not quote or repost anywhere or in any format. Thanks.


Preliminary Death Sentencing Interview #1


Danyal Travers, Official Capital Offenses Interviewer, Cheegoth:

You have stated your 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, the Selectors removed me from my 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, when I was twelve I was   renamed Sweet Silver and placed into Advanced Arts and Pleasures. Along with my physical and entertainment training, I began learning languages, courtesies, and what the Pleasure Masters refer to as Polite Observational Skills.


Interviewer (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.


Interviewer: 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 four 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.


Interviewer: 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.


Interviewer: You murdered the Chief Pact 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 of them could tell what you were doing to 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.


Interviewer: 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: 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. In every encounter I have acted on my training, and I have done exactly what that training has dictated I do.


Interviewer: You’re saying that you acted on your own—that you murdered the five Pact World 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 had 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 eliminate personal property and rights for anyone classed B1 or lower, and make slavery mandatory on the Pact Worlds.


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


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


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


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How NOT to Be an EVIL MARKETER: Marketing help for fiction writers

The How NOT to Be an EVIL Marketer chat went well today, after the usual rocky start. This time the poll and the link to the free Boot Camp/Ugly Baby sign-up page that I’d set up in advance didn’t show up, and I had to rebuild them live. No pause once you’re live.

But here’s the workshop:

And if you’re not already a member, here’s the link to the free membership sign-up, and here’s the link to the replay of today’s workshop and the downloadable slides and printable worksheets.

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Replay of Manuscript Editing Chat With EJ Clarke

The HowToThinkSideways.com Writers’ Boot Camp has added a new membership benefit.

We already had a fantastic benefit with discount and extra services for members in need of ebook and manuscript FORMATTING.

We now have an Editing and Proofreading benefit/discount.

Manuscript Editing and Proofreading with EJ Clarke and Holly Lisle

If you prefer to watch on YouTube, HERE’S THE VIDEO LINK (opens in a new window).

This is exclusively available to HTTS Writers’ Boot Camp members, but membership is free.

If you’re not a Writers’ Boot Camp member, you can join here.

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From “The Selling of Suzee Delight”

Shower song… figured out the tune and a handful of the words while I was standing in the shower, and where it will fit in the story while I was doing my first five sets of squats.

Adding it as a story note here so I don’t lose it.


The Blood runs north and the Fire runs south
And the ships that sail to the rivers’ mouth
Carry the dead who have gone before
To the Lady of Justice and the God of War

And those who sail these rivers two
Were brave and fair and very few
And carry a grace we never knew
And the white ships sail them home


ACAPELLO (just so I don’t forget the tune when I actually have time to finish writing this)


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Things Change—How to buy your life back one piece at a time

For a few years now, friends and colleague have been suggesting that I might want to hire someone to manage my websites for me.

I’ve always been hands on, I’ve always done my own sites, and the idea of giving up any control was—is—probably always will be terrifying.

But I’m working on a course right now that keeps getting bigger, and dealing with site problems over on HowToThinkSideways.com that were getting in the way of this class as they got in the way of a previous workshop and an ongoing bunch of writers learning to market their own work that I’ve been scrambling to keep up with.

And I have stories to write.

And the clock keeps ticking. Something had to give. Every time I pushed too hard, migraines reminded me that I was a breakable part of the equation.

So I’ve hired a site manager for HowToThinkSideways.com.

For now, at least, I’m keeping this site for myself—it’s big, but it’s simple. Not really any moving parts anymore. A lot of articles, a bunch of blog posts.

I want to be here more often—want to have the time to talk to folks again, and play with my stories and my writing.

I don’t know if or when that will become a daily thing again. I’ve just now bought back one piece of my life, but there’s a lot still standing between me and being able to just teach and write fiction.

I’m happy to say, though, that I’ve finally started making the choices I have to make to get back to being just a writer. Not a writer/web designer/site technician/graphics artist/software installer and maintainer/…whatever.


That’s where I’m heading again.

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