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Kiss Journal

06/04/02

Well, it's been over 6 months now since I last updated this site (or even really looked at it, to be honest), and I've been feeling guilty about that, so I decided to pick up this loose end. Everyone's lives have changed to some degree since the fall, and I certainly was no exception. Without getting into all the sortid details, I became a first-time home owner back on November 20th, and on the exact same day I became a full-time employee for Ernst & Young. Both are wonderful and I'm very happy. ;^) Moving to Virginia, buying this place, accepting this job—they're all the best decisions I've made in a LONG time. And while I know I disappointed a lot of you folks, I'm also glad I decided not to do Kiss 3—I can look back now and sigh with relief that I hadn't added that to my plate.

I've decided to finally unload my personal collection of fanzines. Many of them are complete sets, most are from the 1980s-90s, and nearly all of them are classic Star Wars-related. Some are Harrison Ford or Indiana Jones in nature, some are multi-media (Star Trek, TV shows and movies, etc.). For more details, click here or email me and I'll send a PDFed list. Most of them had something Han/Leia related in them, but they all had some quality that made me buy them in the first place. The majority of the contents are not available online, particularly the artwork, and probably never will be. Depending on the situation and volume of orders, I'm flexible on prices and might even throw in shipping. Make me an offer!

Finally, please keep tuned because I'll be steadily adding new material to this website, including fanfic, artwork, and collectibles for sale. I'm also open to suggestions for additions. If you have something you'd like to contribute, just let me know.

That's it for now.

Sue

11/12/01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm posting this message now in part to dispel or relieve rumors regarding the third issue of Kiss. First I want to point out that until today, no decision was finalized regarding submissions, and therefore all rumors were just that—rumors. Also, I was never contacted or informed by any contributor as to their wish to withdraw a submission—again, a rumor. Don't be a rumormonger. Go to the source if you want the truth.

Now for the facts:

All plans for a printed third issue of Kiss are now canceled. All contributors are free to either submit their work to other zines, or to contribute them to the Kiss Online Archives, which will continue to be updated and maintained. (If you require hardcopies of submissions returned, please notify me and I will mail them back.) If you have any questions or comments, please contact me. I sincerely apologize for the delay in my decision, but I'd honestly hoped that things might still change at the last moment and that I could do a third issue. I also apologize for an inconvenience I may have caused. I only hope that you will understand and respect my decision.

This decision was not easy for me, and I can only assume it's not easy to hear. Due in part to the recent events and current economic atmosphere in the Washington DC metro area where I live, I simply cannot dedicate the time and effort I feel would be required to produce a quality zine the likes of the previous two issues. Between my work hours being cut back—and hiring freezes everywhere—and the increased living costs I now face with a new home of my own, the disposable cash and time is no longer available.

This says nothing of the lack of enthusiasm and the very real shift in personal priorities that I've felt in the past two months. I feel that my free time would be better used volunteering for more worthy causes, and I would encourage everyone reading this to likewise consider volunteering if you aren't already. Go to the American Red Cross website for more information on how you can contribute, and to find your local Red Cross chapter. Today's tragic airline crash demonstrates that life—and suffering—did not begin or end on September 11, 2001, and that they need your support.

Fandom is a fun and indulgent distraction, but it is NOT real life, and it should never be a substitute for real life. Part of the reason for my diminished enthusiasm has been because I've watched so many fans over the years allow this distraction to control and influence their lives and relationships. I've seen so many motivated by revenge or ego or the pure need to be accepted by others. Nothing made this fact sink home more than when I read comments from fans immediately following the terrorist attacks. One announced that she now understood how Princess Leia felt. Others immediately began relating these horrific and REAL events with the fantasy of Star Wars, etc., as if they were unable to relate in any other way. I can't begin to describe how much this disturbed me. I feel sorry for them and their apparent inability to understand or acknowledge the real world around them.

It's no secret that all our lives have been changed forever in the past two months since the unforgivable and purely evil attacks upon the U.S., and our very freedom and right to exist. There's little I can say that hasn't already been said regarding the sadness, horror, and sheer anger I feel. Living and working within one of the major target areas drives this fact home every day for me. I feel immense pride in being an American (I know I won the lottery by being born a citizen), and I'm doubly proud to count many of my ancestors as patriots and founders of this great country. My heart beats a little faster to see the policemen and military personnel that stand on every street corner to protect me from further threats, and it's painful at the same time to feel gratitude for their service, and anger that this sort of constant presence is necessary.

 

9/9/01

Hi folks, sorry it's been a while since I've updated. It's been a busy summer and such a beautiful one weather-wise that it's difficult forcing myself to sit in the basement to work.

Lots of news on the home front and in fandom. First of all, please note that my address will be changing once again (you think you're inconvenienced?!), but this time it's definitely in my favor. I'm about to buy a home and escape "renter's prison". I'm very excited about it, but it's taking time finding the right home and I may be out of touch for a little while until I'm reestablished. This means that there might be a SLIGHT delay in the ultimate release date of Kiss 3. It will all depend on how long it takes to find my new home, close on it, and move, etc. I should still be able to answer my e-mails, however, if you have any questions. I've received a number of fantastic stories so far for the upcoming issue of Kiss, so I think it will be well-worth the wait.

And in the meantime, please check out the latest addition to the Kiss Online collection of fanfic. Barbara Anderson, IMO, was one of the most talented and yet relatively unknown fanzine writers from the 1980-90s; this was mostly due to the fact that she usually only submitted work to Flip of a Coin, a Harrison Ford multi-media fanzine. I'm proud to call her a friend and to debut her fanfiction online. Please don't hesitate to send her comments--I'm sure she'd love to hear them. Although her stories were originally printed with artwork by Yvonne Zan and Wanda Lybarger, I was unable to obtain permission from them to post their art online. In their stead, Laura Sherman was more than happy to reillustrated them for you here, so my thanks to Laura as well.

That's about it for now.

Sue

6/29/01

Just a quick note of update. I've just posted a short smut piece I wrote up a couple weeks ago. It's nothing spectacular, but I did enjoy writing it and it was good practice. Thanks again to all those who volunteered to betaread, etc.

Also, wanted to mention that already I've got a nice little stack of story submissions for Kiss 3--and I'm rather excited by them, I'll admit. There's a lot of new talent coming out now--and maybe it'll help give our Han/Leia clique a much-needed boost. Also have a great cartoon, several artists lined up, and more in the works. Things are shaping up nicely!

Sue

6/16/01

Blah! It's been so long, I forgot what a pain it is getting a website back up and making sure everything works right. Seems like it's all I've done this week--almost. Please forgive as we continue to work out the kinks.

Believe it or not, I'm reading and beginning to edit the couple of story submissions I've already received for Kiss 3 (and you guys are in for a treat!). This time I'm not going to let it pile up until November--doh!

Plus, for the first time in ages, I've been writing--a lot, by my standards. I finished one little bit of smut that I'm quite pleased with (and it'll appear here as soon as it's illustrated). I've moved on to at least two other longer stories, although I'm still having trouble picking the one I want to focus on. I definitely want something of my own for Kiss 3, but I'd like to get something finished for one or two other zines as well if I can. We'll see how long the Muses and my time hold out. Naturally, just when I could USE all this unstructured time, I finally got some temp work (did my first 8 hours yesterday, in fact), and while I desperately need the cash, it's par for the course for me. I was always most inspired around Finals week, too. :^P

I hope you're enjoying Virtual Kiss. All thanks go to Marjorie for doing such a superb job. She was a god-send when I began to realize just how massive that project was going to be. She's a real trooper!

Sue

6/12/01

After such a long sabbatical, it's hard to know where to pick up again. And I've got to be honest—I'm still debating if it's a good idea. I'd come to appreciate and guard my private time as my own to spend on other projects or personal events; after nearly three solid years of working on Kiss, I needed a break. Besides, Star Wars just didn't seem very worthy at the time, you know? What can I say? It's probably due to a combination of disgust and disillusionment because of the state of fandom in general and the drivel coming from "official" channels.

Without going into the gory details, I've been laid off twice in the past 6 months, I've been forced to move twice in the span of four months (with just a week's notice over Christmas holiday, I can really sympathize with the Rebels!), I lost another close family member, and now I've also gotten news of the passing of my all-time hero of SW fanfiction (Pat Nussman). BUT I've also gained a wonderful roommate and friend, some new goals and hobbies, and a better perspective. So maybe things do happen for a reason.

Anyway, I know many of you have been anxiously e-mailing me regarding this website and the future of Kiss in general. I apologize now to all whom I didn't answer—I really have no excuse other than I just didn't want to think about Star Wars or the zine. Nothing personal...

Useakiss.org was down because I decided I didn't want to keep paying $20 a month just for webspace. Of course, I had no intention of letting it stay down for this long, either. There was a mixup with relocating the domain and it's been in Internet limbo for months now. Obviously it's been straightened out finally.

As for a third issue of Kiss...Alright, what the hell!

Back by popular demand, I'm officially opening submissions for a third issue of Kiss, with a scheduled release date at the end of May, 2002. Deadline for written submissions will be November 1st, 2001. Deadline for artwork submissions will be March 1st, 2002.

And so help me, if I'm making a huge mistake, I'll hunt down every one of you! ;^)

Sue

8/27/00

Wow, that time just slipped by and I hadn't realized it'd been so long since I'd last updated here. Things have been very eventful here and none of it had to do with fandom, unfortunately.

I'm now the proud--and unexpected!--owner of a new Mazda Protege (in kick-ass silver!) because my old red beater hatchback finally gave up the ghost on Friday. The suspension was literally cracking and falling apart, so I had no choice. Of course there's NEVER a good time for this sort of thing, but in this case it really WAS awful timing. Only days before, I learned that I'm also facing possible surgery and extensive treatment (naturally not covered by insurance) for TMJ (my jaw sucks!), as well as a couple more crowns. Also, two weeks ago the news was made official that my company is merging and moving to Philadelphia next July...I have plenty of time to find another job now, but this follows on the heels of 5 months of not knowing if/when we'd be cut. On top of this, my lease is up at the end of September and I must move--but as of yet have no solid leads on a new apartment. When I do finally relocate, the fact that the current Bell Atlantic/Verison strike means that it probably won't be until some time in 2001 before I have home phone/Internet service. I'll get a cell phone in the meantime, but good god--no Internet connection?!?!

Enough of the sob stories! The point is that Kiss #3 will have to be put on hold for a little while. I don't know how long. I'll be working a second job and handling all these other issues for the next few months and simply won't have the time I feel Kiss deserves--and rather than put out a substandard zine, I'd rather hold back and do it right. Believe me, this is more painful for me to announce than it is for you to hear! I know of the impact that Kiss has had on fandom already and I'd hate to lose that foothold now. For those willing to be patient, I AM still accepting materials for Kiss 3, in the hopes that I may be able to pull off a late summer release. If I feel that this will not happen, I promise to notify you ASAP. Fair enough?

Oh, and Kiss #2 has officially sold it's initial run of 150 copies!! Thanks to everyone who bought copies--hope you liked them. I do still have enough sets of laminated covers to make 49 more copies, but I will not print the zines until I have your money/check/credit order in hand. Also, because of my upcoming move, I will be holding back on printing new orders until sometime in October (otherwise it's just more to pack!). Don't hesitate to send in your orders, however, if you'd like to get your name on the roster ASAP. The more orders I have on hand, the more incentive I'll have to trot down to the printers. ;^)

Check it out...Two new stories by Kate Birkel have been added to her collection, and several new links and webrings have been added as well.

And watch for the pending release of Virtual Kiss!! That's right, we're very close now to the debute of the first issue of Kiss online. Stay tuned...

Sue

7/4/00

It's been a long restful holiday weekend (much needed!) and among other things I finally got a chance to do some serious updating on my personal fanfic page. The first of the new illustrations that KateMac is doing for my online fic is also posted now, with the story Alliance Avant-Garde--I think you'll enjoy! Many of my stories were either illoed by artists that don't want their work online, or by people I have no way of contacting anymore. It's nice to see them with artwork again, so a special thanks to KateMac for the extra-credit homework. ;^)

I even got a chance to start writing a little bit again. It may be like riding a bicycle, but ugh, it's amazing how quickly that thing rusts up! I feel the clock ticking already, though, and I know I'd better do it now while I HAVE the time.

Sue

6/17/00

Not much new on the zine front at the moment, aside from making final decisions on which classic stories to reprint in Kiss #3. I've got it narrowed down to three, one by Marcia Brin and two by Barbara Anderson. Marcia's is definitely in, but I still have to decide whether I can fit two of Barb's in, or if I'll have to pick one of them.

I've updated the fanzine and general SW links and I've added some more comments from readers. It's so gratifying to know that this project has succeeded--I've had my doubts at times as to whether all the trouble and work was worth it, but then I get letters like the ones posted here and I know this little zine is continuing to make a difference.

I've also finally gotten the chance to format and post the first of Kate Birkel's fanfic. Because I have more space at this domain than I could ever possibly use, and because she had nothing online at the moment, I offered her some webspace. You can find her works on the Fanfic Online page. There will be more eventually, but this is a good start. I next plan to update my own fanfic pages--it's been a long time.

In the meantime, I've suddenly found myself immersed in the fascinating world of genealogy! Due to a phone call of pure coincidence, I've learned that I have a 2nd cousin living only half an hour away, and that my mom's ancestors (Haskins) have quite an extensive history in the US. I've now taken it upon myself to continue filling in the gaps in the family tree on both my mom's and dad's side. It's a daunting project, but it's rather addictive, I fear. Two months ago I'd known very little about my ancestors, and it's a novel feeling to learn that my great-great-grandfather served in the Civil War, and that his grandparents were British citizens in the colony of New York. The historian in me is fully charged!

Sue

 

6/17/00

Here it is, a week later, and the servers and network are still down at work. We've managed to find things to do, but overall I've still ended up with plenty of time to continue working on designing and setting up the other website projects I've take on. I got to really work with Illustrator for the first time--man, it's a tough program.

I made a mistake in the last journal entry and put the wrong URL for the Zine Union. It's now located at www.geocities.com/zineunion. I strongly encourage everyone to check it out, and if you fit the bill, please apply. The other project was the website I've been building for a permanent home for the STAR aWARdS, although it's not quite yet ready to debut.

I also forgot to mention the addition of the advertised CDs on the main page. While supplying the music at the big SW party at MediaWest, I played selections from the Cocktails in the Cantina and Sketches on Star Wars. Quite a few fans asked about them as they'd never heard them before, so I looked into setting up affiliate links to Amazon. I highly recommend all four of these in particular. The jazz one has a very hot rendition of the Han Solo and the Princess theme, complete with sultry sax. The Cocktails CD is worth buying just to hear the Imperial March, a funky marimba and drum piece that will forever change how you look at Vader. In particular, though, I have a love for the ESB recording. Why? Because it's the only place that you will ever hear the Han Solo and the Princess theme uninterrupted! No Imperial March interrupting the climax, so to speak, as it does in the official soundtrack. If you're a true Han and Leia fan, this is a must-have. It will rock your world!

Sales on Kiss 2 are still going steady, around 5 a week and even a couple of the first issue here and there, and that's not too shabby. I think there are around 13 left of the original 150. I may be binding more much sooner than I anticipated. I've also added a few more reviews to the LoC page if you'd like to see what others are saying about the zines.

While part of me is wailing at the idea of the third issue, I find myself with amazing artists coming out of the woodwork and I loathe the idea of quitting now. In fact, Gerald Crotty, who did the fantastic front cover of #2, called me last weekend and asked if he could do another cover next year. Good God, how could I say no?? So yes, it looks like I'm committed (or should be committed!). After seeing how well Liz's pencil drawings printed this year, he's also enthusiastic to try his hand at pencil--and that will be a first! I'm very excited to see what he can do.

Along with the usual suspects, I've added a couple of new artists to the roster for the next issue, including Zawiah (she had a lot of work in Delusions of Grandeur and Bloodstripe), Cara Loup (she's typically a Han/Luke illustrator, but she's interested in giving us a shot), Jessie McClain (if you visited the art show at MediaWest, you saw her color work!), and possibly even Karen River (an old SW illustrator from way back who told me she'd be interested in returning to the fold). Heck, I suddenly find myself with more artists than material to illustrate!

::shrug:: As Leia would say, it could be worse. I suspect that nobody will complain if half of Kiss 3 ended up being beautiful illustrations. Am I right?

Sue

 

6/8/00

Wow, it's amazing how productive you can be when the network at your job is down for over 62 straight hours! They still make us come in and I'm required to look busy, so I just HAD to keep myself busy, so it was the perfect excuse to do some overdue housekeeping online. Hope you like what you see. I've been having a blast experimenting with PhotoShop and so on. As you can see, I've totally revamped the Kiss site; it's something I'd wanted to do to coincide with the release of Kiss 2, but just ran out of time. I'm also about to finish revamping the website I designed and maintain for the Zine Union.

Well, it's been a while since I've updated and a LOT of things have happened. First of all, obviously, was the long overdue released of Kiss 2. The reception has been very warm, to say the least--just check out the reader reviews so far. I initially had 150 copies printed and bound, and I'm already down to 20 left. That's got to be close to a some sort of record for a SW zine--now if only George would catch the hint. I did have 200 sets of the color covers made, so I intend to eventually assemble another 50 copies, but I may just call a halt at that point. It'll all depend on whether there's a continuing demand and if the printer will cut me a deal on color printing.

The trip and extended weekend at MediaWest Con was also a flying success for Kiss 2. For some demented reason, I'd only brought along 25 copies, plus tribs. (I blame heat exhaustion--I'd just finished carrying 80 copies down three flights of stairs and into the car, then hauled them into the post office, all in the sweltering heat.) As it was, half of them were sold before the Con even officially started, and the rest were gone before the end of the first day. I was completely thrilled, but a little peeved that I hadn't brought more. Oh well, live and learn...

I had a great time seeing old friends and meeting online friends in person for the first time. That always makes the trip to the Con worthwhile.

It was also a successful day at the STAR aWARdS for Kiss 1. In all we took home 3 awards and 3 honorable mentions. Ken Keisel won Best Poem, plus 2 honorable mentions, one for best poem and one for best filk. Cindy Olsen won Best Short Story for "Day and Night." Monique got an honorable mention for best short story for "New Beginnings." And I won for Best Filk. Overall, Kiss 1 took home more than any other zine in 1999. Congratulations to all those contributed, and to these guys in particular.

However--and it kills me to say this--the Con was rather a disappointment this year. The atmosphere has seriously changed from when I first started attending back in 1987. It used to be very well balanced in fandoms and scheduled panels, etc., but this year it was almost exclusively Sentinel or Phantom Menace slash. Because I get no kick out of slash, it was almost nauseating by the third day--the art show was nearly as bad as walking into a gay porno-flick. I have nothing against that, but I don't really want to watch it, either. And not a single Harrison Ford or original trilogy piece to be found--it was depressing!

So anyway, I'd still recommend the Con for finding the new and old zines, and for the friendships...but be warned of the atmosphere that dominates the Con now. I fear it will be even more lobsided next year as more SW fans abandon it. Maybe we just need to start our own SW/fanfic/zines con, huh? (And NO, I don't need another project!!)

I also wanted to give a special thanks to those who've already praised the zine, and my story in particular. I'm sorry if I haven't been able to respond. I'm very pleased that folks are enjoying the story--it was a baby/demon of mine for many years and at least now people can stop nagging me about THAT one. ;^)

Sue

 

5/24/00

It's been a rush of a day! On the spur of the moment, I decided to leave early for the Con--so I bumped up the pick-up date for the rental, loaded all the pre-ordered and contrib zines in the trunk (nearly 100 copies!), rushed them to the post office, and now I'm in the process of loading everything I'll need for the Con. I'll be hitting the road shortly and with any luck I'll make Michigan before Midnight! I'm looking forward to meeting those of you attending. Ah, just like a Con SHOULD be! It's no fun unless it's spontaneous.

So, for those still anxiously waiting by their mailboxes, they are now indeed in the mail. I'm sorry again for the wait, but it's next to impossible getting to the post office during business hours anymore and I hated the idea of waiting until this weekend. With any luck, you'll have it in your hands in time for the holiday.

Sue

 

5/19/00

Finally! They're here!! I picked up the five huge, full boxes on Thursday night--and nearly blew out a rear tire, they were so heavy! Then I nearly blew out my back carrying them up 3 flights of stairs to my apartment! It's Friday night now and I'm getting things set up to do the annual binding frenzy that will begin tomorrow. I'm waiting for my volunteers to arrive. We're probably just going to talk about it, about SW in gereral and Han and Leia in specific, and just smooze this evening, and that's fine with me. It's good to ease your way into this job and I'm looking forward to this last stage--it's very rewarding at the end, to see them all finished. They look wonderful and I know you'll be very pleased when you see them. I just wanted to update a little and make an important announcement right away.

First of all, unfortunately, this zine has managed to tip the scales at a whopping 2.1 pounds--meaning that it's just pushed it over the $3.20 postage rate. I've thus been forced to up the cost of U.S. postage for future mail orders to $4.30 (the next level). This will be effective for all orders I receive after tonight. While I'm not going to enforce this increase on the existing orders, I wouldn't turn away any kind souls who might feel generous to send in that extra dollar to help defray the costs. Anyway, please note the new increase in price. For a zine in the US via Priority Mail, the new price is $31.30.

I also thought it'd be nice to have a change of artwork about now to show off a little more of what Kiss 2 contains. I'd like to start rotating art here more regularly, just to give you a taste.

That's all for now,

Sue

 

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