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The Best of Interesting Times

With lots of sucesses to celebrate Crescent Blues staff now attempt to lower the overheads

The year 2001 will endure as a watershed in time. September 11 will stand out in our collective memories like the "great deaths" of the 20th century: Franklin D. Roosevelt's, John F. Kennedy's, Martin Luther King's. We will see our lives in terms of before and after.

But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there is a before and an after, that 2001 brought with it good things as well as bad on the personal and the global level. Since pundits far more grand than I plan to handle the global goods and bads, let me focus on the local -- specifically Crescent Blues.

First of all, all our staff and contributors survived 9-11. Nothing quite tops that, though the birth of Heather Firth's daughter and Dawn Goldsmith's thirtieth wedding anniversary come close. "We still feel like we just got married," Dawn said. "I look at him and think, 'Who is that man!?'"

During 2001, Dawn began writing mass market book reviews for Publisher's Weekly. She published an essay in The Christian Science Monitor, helped edit Peggy Vincent's memoir, Babycatcher: Chronicle of a Modern Midwife, scheduled for release in April 2002. Dawn also made a number of important sales: several short stories to Lovewords, a four-part series on Women's History Month to Myria and two essays to a series of books called Chocolate for the Woman's Soul.

The year brought Kim D. Headlee word about good news that should've arrived in 2000. In January, Kim learned that her first novel Dawnflight earned a major review in the Fall 2000 issue of the academic journal Arthuriana. The following month brought word that Dawnflight landed a finalist slot in the 2000 Reader-Writer Poll conducted by Affaire de Coeur magazine -- a big surprise to Kim (though not the rest of us) because of the book's limited print run.

On the other end of the year, Doris Valliant's book for Chelsea House, Personal Finance: Exploring Business and Economics, hit the shelves in December. Aimed at 9- to 12-year-olds, Doris hopes the book will help pre-teens learn to manage their money before the banks start shipping them credit cards. Doris also began writing a column for the Maryland publication Talbot Guide.

Patricia L. White capped her year with word that Wolf Winter, the second book in The Legend of Lejube Rogue series, made the list of finalists in the western category of the Eppie, an award given by the Electronically Published Internet Connection for excellence in writing. (The winners will be announced in March 2002.) Also in December, her Fictionworks novel, A Magic Dwells, won the Dream-Realm Award for anthologies.

In addition, Pat sold the large print rights for two books to a publisher in Great Britain. Kripgans Books contracted for the German translation rights for nine of her books, and Blackstone Audiobooks bought the audio rights for Prophecy Be Damned. Meanwhile Hard Shell Word Factory published trade paperback versions of A Wizard Scorned and The Godmother Sanction.

On the performance side of things, Seattle, Wash., book and movie reviewer Jenny Buehler focused her efforts on live theater. In March 2001, she portrayed a heroine who gave her life to save the world. In May, she sang for the first time in a cabaret club. During the summer, instead of her own life, Jenny tried to give away her stage daughter -- in matrimony. As this goes to pixels, Jenny is working on the musical direction of a local production Chess: The Musical, which will open in February 2002.

Meanwhile, the distaff half of "The View from the Back Row," Dixie Mitchell -- who happens to be a stand-out stand-up comedienne as well as a first-rate reviewer -- placed in the quarter-finals of Ed McMahon's Next Big Star on the Net.

Assistant Editor Teri Smith and I did our bit too. Teri sold a short story about a vegetarian dragon named Clyde, which she hopes will be published in early 2002. I sold interviews with Farscape star Virginia Hey and celebrated animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman to SciFi Weekly. And we watched an increasing number of Crescent Blues blurbs appear on the jacket copy of books as diverse as Daniel Stashower's The Houdini Specter and Robert S. Stone's Dark Waters.

And, oh yeah, Writer's Digest named Crescent Blues one of the top 25 places to be published on the Net. On a personal level, not a bad year at all.

May you and yours enjoy the very best of health and happiness in a peaceful, prosperous New Year.

Jean Marie Ward

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