††††† Links to
††††††† Tunnel Tales
††††††† The Steam Tunnels
Who are you?
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests in general.
Iím retired (Iíll be 72 next April)
and live with my daughter and a variable number of dogs, In
I divide my time between keeping the house, (after a fashion) wrangling dogs, and sitting at my computer.
The variable number of dogs is because we foster dogs under a pug rescue program. We keep lost or unwanted pugs until theyíre healthy and ready to go to a permanent home. We have only one foster dog right now, but since we have three pugs of our own, and are keeping a daschund for a friend for the next two weeks, we presently are housing five dogs, as well as our four cats. Oh well, we have a big back yard, and itís fenced.
What drew you to the Beauty and the Beast TV series,
I missed the original series completely. Iím not a big TV watcher, I lean more to movies. I have collected about a thousand films on tapes which are now obsolescent, so Iíve begun on DVDís. I discovered B&B through an interest in Ron Perlman. Inquiry into his work soon turned up B&B, so I scoured the tape stores until I found the one with ďOnce Upon a TimeÖĒ and ďA Happy lifeĒ. By the time Iíd seen both of them, I was solidly hooked. What can I say? Iím a romantic at heart.
and why did you/do you feel the need to write and draw about B&B?
I donít know why I felt the need to write fiction about B&B. But it was just about the first thing I did after Iíd discovered CABB and my dear friend Terrie Milliman, who encouraged me. Also, there was an unfinished Round Robin story on CABB at that time, about Josiah and Elizabeth. It wasnít getting finished, and that drove me nuts, so I inquired of Terrie whether it would be all right if I tried a chapter. She said sure, and I did, although at that time I had never seen one minute of Magnificent Seven. But she thought it was true enough to the series that she put it up anyhow. The completed series of the Round Robin is now on The Steam Tunnels.
Was it something you had done before being involved with Beauty and the Beast or something that developed out of it?
I had never written a line since I was in school. I guess I started drawing B&B to illustrate stories. Iíve always drawn and painted.
Who most influenced and/or encouraged your talent?
Terrie Milliman, as I said above.
What training have you had for art and/or writing/literary techniques, and where, if it was formal training - or are you self-taught, working from instinct?
None, and none. I had some college, and I took a couple of drawing classes, and Compostion 123, but thatís it. I guess Iím self taught, although inherited ability has a lot to do with the drawing part. My mother and grandmother and various other relatives painted.
When you write:
Describe the space in which you do most of your writing and your drawing.
I sit at my computer desk for both. It is the third bedroom in our house, and like most third bedrooms very small, and stuffed with computer equipment.
How do you work when you write - outline the story, start from an image, a word, an individual section... Where do you start... beginning, end or middle? Or does it just depend on the story?
Mostly, I just start. I started ďJourneysĒ because I had a strong desire to get Vincent out into the sunshine away from the tunnels, and to let him see a little bit of the world. I really had no idea where they were going or how they were going to get there when I started. Devin solved that problem for me. Heís always been very helpful to me in getting through difficult plot points. These things just write themselves somehow. I donít know where Iím going until I get there.
Do you have endings in mind for works in progress when you start them or do you just let the stories go where they take you? Do you always know what you want to achieve at the end?
Not a clue. Well, I do have in mind when I start any story that theyíll end up in bed, but thatís as far as planning goes. Iím afraid itís a pretty slipshod way of writing, maybe thatís why it takes me so long to write anything.
How often do the characters take off on their own once you've started writing? Do you ever end up with a story entirely different from the one you started?
See above. The characters do indeed take off on their own. Especially Devin.
What are your sources of inspiration? Do your stories ever include some of your own life experiences? Have any of the characters you have created in a story been a reflection of yourself or someone you know?
My daughter Sue had just come back
from a trip to
What research, if any, do you do for your stories?
What is the hardest part of writing a multi-chapter story? Do you prefer to post a completed story or a work in progress?
I will never post a work in progress again. The pressure to finish is punishing. And I very much prefer not to post anything of anyone elseís thatís not finished on TST or TT either. There are too many reasons why a story could be left unfinished. I donít want to leave the fans hanging.
Do you ever have a case of writer's block? If so, do you have a technique to get past it?
All the time. I just wait. Sometimes Iíll read or see something that will give me an idea of how to get out of whatever mess Iíve written myself into, and that will break the block.
Is there any particular part of a story or poem that you had an unusual amount of trouble getting the way you wanted it and how did you resolve that problem?
Love scenes. Theyíre VERY hard to write, for me. Iíll tell you how I do it, although I may be exposing myself to ridicule here.
Iíll get my characters up to the point of going to bed. Then I sit for a while and sweat blood trying to think of something to say about it. Finally I just shut my eyes and start typing. Shutting the eyes is a very important part of it. I donít think about what Iím saying at all, I just let it flow. Then when itís done, when theyíre all through and ready to go to sleep, I go back through it in a more rational manner, and edit it until Iíve got something that is more or less satisfactory. I donít know why it works, maybe my subconscious is sexier that my conscious mind, but thatís how I mostly do it.
I find also that itís very hard to write anything about sex thatís even partly original. Thereís been such a lot this stuff written for V&C that itís all been pretty much said.
If you could change one thing about your writing, writing habits, style, etc, what would it be?
My writing habits are nonexistent. Iíd like it to be easier to sit down and DO it.
Tell us about the story/stories you are working on at present, if any.
Iím trying to write a Winterfest story, but itís not going well. Iíve pushed my characters too quickly into an intimate situation, and it doesnít ring true for Vincent. I wish I could believe that heíd surprise us all and just give up, but I canít.
After youíve written
Do you have your stories edited and proofread? Do you consider this important? Do you have favorite editors/proofreaders?
I have a favorite editor, or two actually, who go over it and criticize. Itís very very important. Everyone needs an editor!!! I canít emphasize that enough. I read things that are submitted to Tunnel Tales sometimes that obviously havenít even been reread by the writer. I reread my own stuff endlessly. I print it out after an eveningís writing, take it to bed with me with a pen, and read it again, making changes. After the storyís finished, I read it over at least ten times, making small changes every time.
You, as well as the other guest authors we are interviewing, have allowed your work to be posted online for the enjoyment of all B&B fans. Why did you decide to do it?
Thatís the reason I write. I wouldnít go through the pain of writing if I didnít expect that someone, somewhere, would read it. Itís so very satisfactory to me to read about V&Cís life after the series ends that I guess I just wanted to contribute something to keep the dream alive.
Tell us about your site The Steam Tunnels: when and how you decided to open it? How did you create it, how did you gather the works and the guest authors, and how do you proceed to add stories to it?
The Steam Tunnels was Terrie Millimanís idea. We used to laugh about the fact that she had these great ideas, and that her special talent was getting other people to do them. This was a case in point. Terrie didnít like to post stories that were too adult on TT, she thought since it was a family site it should have some restrictions. Well, I wanted to write adult things, so she suggested I start a new site for just adult stories. She also suggested the name. Terrie was full of ideas.
I gathered the work mostly by asking I guess. Of course, Terií stories are the mainstay of TST, and Teri was very happy to have a place to put her more adult things. Then some other people wrote and offered, and I was happy to post things that I thought showed some talent, and some appreciation for the fact that writing adult love scenes can be either pornographic or funny, or sometimes both, if some skill isnít available to the writer. Thatís why Iíve put up a notice that I donít accept everything offered to TST.
Iím the sole judge of what goes up on it. I guess thatís not very democratic, but I have strong feelings about whatís suitable, and since I own the site Iím the one that gets to choose.
You often use pencil for your drawings but you have used color media, chalk or pastels as well: how do you choose your medium? Which is your favorite medium and why?
Pencil. I guess because itís easy. Colored pencils, which are the medium I use for color work, are much more difficult. They look best, I believe, on a black background, and that means that every millimeter must be covered with color. Thatís a far cry from sketching with a pencil, when a line or two will give the impression wanted. In the past I have sold highly detailed water colors, mostly of wildlife, but thatís a very difficult and time consuming medium, and I donít do it any more, except I did do our dogs, that was a labor of love.
Your pencil sketches look so ďeasy.Ē How long does it take you to finish one?
Not very long. I should take this opportunity to tell everyone that Iím not as good as it looks. I usually find a picture that I want to do, print it the size I want to do it, then put it on the light table and trace out the main lines: eyes, nose& mouth position, and a few lines for hair or jaw or shoulders. With that to go on, I donít have to spend a lot of time getting the proportions correct. And when I do love scenes, I always have a photo to go by. Iím not skilled enough to make up bodies. Iím getting pretty skilled at cutting and pasting pictures to get the bodies into the right position, though! And anyone who looked at my usage history on the net would wonder if Iím some kind of pervert. Iíve got quite a library of nude and partially nude figures.
Your pencil sketches often illustrate a story, such as in the TST fic. Is it more fun to do such illustrations, or create something from your own imagination?
I donít think thereís any real difference.
When you illustrate a story, either with your sketches as seen in TST stories or the photo montages we all enjoyed in Castle of the Beast by Anne R. Brown, how do you decide which scene to depict? Does the story always inspire specific art, or does it happen that you have something ready that fits?
Usually I find what I want to illustrate, then I look on the net to find something that fits.
When you're putting together a steamy fic or drawing, do you ever chuckle as you work or proof read, knowing you're leaving your readers in need of a cold shower? Dare we ask if you might need a cold shower, too, now and then?
Remember, Iím 71 years old. But I hope that my writings and artwork are raising water usage in many parts of the world. Thatís what the purpose is, isnít it? Yes, I chuckle. And I still like to read this stuff, so I guess Iím not dead yet.
You are exploring new means of cyber art, especially the photomontages, both to illustrate stories and to decorate the sites you run, CABB and TST. Such means may open a new path to the B&B art and creativity. Would you tell us something about this technique and how you enjoy it?
I absolutely love doing it. Iíve made a couple of pages in The Work of Hands on CABB, explaining how I do it, and offering to help if anyone would like to try it.
What do you like to hear from someone reading your story or looking at your art? What was the most interesting response you've had to your work? What do you consider the greatest compliment you've received?
Well, you know, thereís not a lot of feedback. Iím sure every artist and writer will tell you the same thing. I have a few faithful people, who always are complimentary about my work, but for the most part, it just flies out into the void and I never know what people think. I donít know what the greatest compliment was, but Iíll tell you one that sticks in my mind. I did a little picture for my Connor/Johner series, just a small picture of Johner sitting in his car. Someone wrote me and just raved about that picture. I still donít know what he saw in it that I missed; it looked very much like a hundred others Iíd done to me.
Which of your B&B writings and art do you like best, and why? If you were forced to pick one passage, scene or line from one of your stories, and one of your art pieces, as a favorite, what would they be?
Connor/Johner is my favorite work, but itís not B&B. I guess ďJourneysĒ would have to be the story I think is the best. It was satisfying to write because it got Vincent out of the tunnels and into the sunshine. And I liked the part about the house they made from the old hardware building. That was fun to write.
Any advice you would give to beginners?
Get an editor!!!! And revise, revise, revise.
Being a B&B fan
In RL are you a closet "beastie" or do all your friends and family members know you're a fan? How do they feel about your Beauty and the Beast involvement? Do they worry about your sanity?
My friends and family know. Iím I little hesitant to tell new people about it. They do tend to think youíre nuts. My daughter canít stand the whole idea. Sheís not a romantic. She says, ďMom! Heís an animal! Ugh!Ē Thereís no point in talking to her about it, so I donít.
How did B&B affect your life?
A great deal. It gave me an abiding interest in something that uses my creativity, and since I no longer work I need such an outlet. And Iíve made many, many good friends. Itís amazing how many compatible personalities there are in the fandom.
Who are some other B&B authors who might inspire you or whose work you particularly enjoy? Is there someone elseís writing or art that you especially like?
Yes! Now I get a chance to promote my favorite B&B work Where the Rainbow Ends Ė Lee Kirkland. Itís on the Beauty and the Beast Reading Chamber. But if anyone wants to read it, email me first, Iíve got the stories in consecutive order, theyíre not in any order on the BBRC. Be prepared to cry. I do every time.
Artist? Yes I have a favorite, but Iíve neveer been able to find out her name. Pen and ink, only in early zines, very professional work.
Do you write and draw in any other fandoms besides B&B?
Are you or have you been involved with any other fandoms in the same way?
Do you want to say anything else to the readers of this interview about yourself, B&B, the writing, the art, or the fandom?
I think Iíve already said too much. ††J
The pics: mostly looking very outdoorsy Ė
Winterfest Online, January 2005