Queen's Own
Mercedes Lackey Fan Club

P.O. Box 749
Laguna Beach, CA 92652 USA

Series 1, Vol. II, No. 7
August/September 1989

(Note: These are excerpts from the original newsletter that was published on this date. The Queen's Own address has been updated. The current President of Queen's Own is Herald-Mage Adept Danya Winterborn. For more information, see http://www.dragonlordsnet.com/qo.htm.)

[Begin Excerpt]

Dear Misty fans:

This has been a very difficult fanletter to organize and write. That's why it's so late in reaching you, and I apologize if some of you began to wonder what had happened. The fanmessages, which in this combined issue are almost 3-1/2 pages in length, were [even with some almost impossible handwriting and some truly imaginative spelling,], a lead pipe cinch to put together, comparatively speaking.

Judith and I found ourselves annoyed and upset by some of our recent mail. Ordinarily we alternate, which works out just fine because we then take turns calming each other down. This time, however, we were both angry at the same time about the same things. And it's taken me quite some time to put things enough in perspective to write about them objectively.

I'll start by reminding you of how we, The Queen's Own, came to be.

A little over a year and a half ago, [and about 373 members less,] Judith and I, with a skeptical Misty's blessing, sent out our first fanletter. It was the result of our having fallen in love with Misty's concept of Valdemar and its inhabitants, and being absolutely certain that we weren't the only ones.

In that wonderful, private place we all have within us, we found a shared delight in the Misty-made world of Companions, Chosen, Heralds, the Queen's Own, and the ofttimes less than common concepts of friendship, honor, loyalty, respect, and the acceptance of new and different ways of thinking, acting, and living one's life.

So what's my point?

Just this. Each of us, depending upon many variables, has strong feelings, opinions, and convictions on one subject or another, which probably conflict at one point or another with even those of our closest friends. Mature people accept these differences and "agree to disagree" in order to maintain these friendships.

In the June-July fanletter, I excerpted material from three persons' letters on the subject of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I did this deliberately to show the authors' different perspectives on this most fascinating and complex organization. A small number of people disagreed with one of the writer's viewpoints, and their response was to write him letters that were mean, nasty, rude, insulting, and otherwise thoroughly offensive.

His reponse to them was to write Misty a letter of apology, "in case I offended her," and another to Judith and myself. Misty, Judith, and I were offended, but at the letters he received, not the one he wrote to us. [See Misty's letter on this subject.]

I am a strong believer in, and defender of, free speech. But I also believe that intelligent people can disagree without being disagreeable.

Think about it.

On that note you might be interested in the following from Denise Cutair: "I am a registered member of the local SCA. In the June-July newsletter David writes, 'SCA is a little hard to find . . . a little standoffish . . . ' I've been a member for 3 years. These words are true. Some groups try to be very authentic and in doing so deride others that do not have the $$ to get the correct materials. Some groups form cliques and are hard to get to know. My advice to interested parties is: read, read up well on the period (years), the cloth used, and style. Then make what you can with what you can. When you have done these things, go with a group of friends. It can be very lonely watching others having fun while you stand on the sidelines.

"David did mention that once you break through it can be very rewarding. If you have a knack or ability, use it. Get involved as soon as you feel ready. You will get to know who is who and how to work around certain personalities. I create and sew costumes. I also cook period foods using recipes I've researched. If anyone is interested in a sewing circle or in sharing ideas, please write me at [Ed. Note 2002: Address withheld.]."

On the subject of The Queen's Own--Mercedes Lackey Fan Club buttons: I haven't kept an exact count of how many of you requested buttons, but my maillady, [to whom I gave one so she'd know what it was that I was mailing all over the country in lumpy envelopes,] thinks there were a ZILLION of you.

There are still plenty available, though, [for the same $1.50 in check or money order plus a SASE,] but send all future requests to me [Sally Paduch] at [Ed. Note 2002: address withheld.].

A special note to our overseas friends: We've recently learned about IRCs. If you will send one for [Ed. Note 2002: Out-of-date info withheld.], I'll take care of the postage if you want a button.

About the Pen Pal List: Some of you have indicated an interest in taking over this responsibility. That's just fine with Judith and me. Therefore, we will put you in touch with one another and let you work out the details. Once you've reached a decision, let us know. We'll pass the word.

Questions, we get questions, mostly [of course] about Misty. As to when Misty's picture and a brief biography are going to be printed in her books--only the lady and her publishers know. As to whether or not we "as a club" can influence DAW to do so--first we'd want to know if Misty wants same, but even so we think that's Misty's and her publishers' business, not ours.

As to whether we can print Misty's travel schedule for book signings, promotions, cons, etc.--we only know what Misty tells us. What we know, you know. If nothing is printed in the fanletter, nothing is known. We printed a bit about SPRINGFEST '89 because Misty and we were there. For reports on other cons she attends, we have to rely on her or those of our members who attend to write us about same. [Read on.]

Neil Raines, a/k/a Herald Glendon, attended OKON, which he describes as the largest SF convention in Oklahoma, and one of the largest in the Midwest. He writes. "Misty was in attendance at OKON, and it was great!

"On Friday night, she and one of her co-conspirators, Ellen Guon, had a mini-filk concert. Not only is Ellen a proficient writer, but she also plays a pretty mean Celtic fiddle. Misty also participated in the Saturday Night Filk, but the real treat was on Sunday morning. Some of us were treated to a reading, by Misty, from Magic's Promise! As you know, this will be the second book in the Tales of the Last Herald Mage trilogy, and it was a really good time! Look for it in your favorite book store in January.

"Thanks to Patrick Petty for attending OKON, and I hope you had a good time and will tell all your friends about OKON. (I'm just glad I got to meet you!)

"As for myself, I was honored to be able to get into the filk sing and perform. We, (Sharon Warner and I,) have a new song, just finished, which deals with Magic's Pawn. It is called 'Gala's Lament,' and it deals with Lendel being repudiated by Gala, through the eyes of Gala. IF and when we ever get a tape out, this is one of the songs that will be on it. Maybe by this time next year.

"If I can, the next con that I'll be attending is Soonercon in Oklahoma City, OK, on the weekend before Thanksgiving. I'm sure Misty will be there . . . ."

Stephanie Bergeron writes, "I did go to CON IV in Portland, OR. It was great to meet Misty. She's super! I also met with Teri Lee of Firebird Arts & Music. There were quite a few Queen's Own members there, even one from Hawaii! . . . I also got to visit with Larry Dixon. He's a super artist! Can you tell I had a great time at the con? . . . Denise Park was taking pictures right and left . . . . "

F.Y.I. [For Your Information]: If you don't send us stamps, this mailing would have cost us ±$93.75 if only one 25¢ is required. That does not include the cost of xeroxing, [5 pages times ±375 equals ±1,875 pieces of paper,] or envelopes. Have YOU sent Judith any stamps lately?


[Ed. Note 2002: Personals are not being posted online because of the personal information they contained.]


[Ed. Note 2002: Fanmessages are not being posted online because of the personal information they contained.]

We received a huge envelope of material from Debbie Sanders of NA MELE O NA HOKU fame a while back. Included were the July and August issues of her newsletter in which she [blush] has some very nice things to say about The Queen's Own; some Misty-inspired song lyrics; and other goodies which we'll say more about in our October issue. Thanks, Debbie. We think you're pretty special too.

Editor's To-Whom-It-May-Concern II: (1) Chain letters, approved by the US Postal Service or not. All those received will be 'sent' to the nearest wastebasket. (2) Use of our name[s] without asking first. (3) Nit pickers.

Editor's Policy Statemnet: The Queen's Own fanletter will not print any statements, references, or innuendos regarding race, religion, politics, ethnicity, or sexual preferences except by mistake. The Queen's Own is the Mercedes Lackey Fan Club fanletter.

The gorgeous gryphon and regal lion depicted below are explained in Misty's letter.

Gryphon Lion

Bright blessings to each and every one of you,

Judith Louvis and Sally Paduch

Dear Gang:

A lot of you have been asking me, Judith and Sally, or both, how to become a published writer.

Have you ever heard of the Three Big Lies: "The check is in the mail," "The dog ate my homework," and "I'll respect you in the morning"? Well, here are the Three Big Truths: "You don't 'grow out' of acne," "They can print it if it's not true," and "There's no magic formula to make you a writer."

You become a writer by writing. A lot. Ray Bradbury has said that there are one million awful words in every writer, and you just have to keep writing until you get to the good ones.

You become published by sending things out. A lot. I still get rejection slips. I've gotten enough to paper my entire house by now. I don't know of any tricks that will make an editor go "Wow! That's great!" except good writing. No amount of personal introductions are going to sell your book. Yes, there are a few books around that were sold because the editor owed somebody a favor--but if the book itself wasn't any good, the author never sold a second book.

You can make an editor more inclined to think kindly of you by doing the following things:

  1. Your book manuscript should have a cover page with your name, address and phone number and the word count of the manuscript in the upper right-hand corner. In the exact middle of the page should be the title. Beneath it, two blank lines and your name. Your story manuscript does not need a cover page, but should have the same information in the upper right-hand corner. The title should start halfway down the page, with your name double-spaced underneat it.

  2. Number your pages. Because so many people use the same kind of printer I do, I also use a "header." At the top of every page I have the following information: "Lackey/Name of Work/P #". This is because editors keep manuscripts loose on shelves. Sometimes the shelves break . . . .

  3. Do not bind your manuscript in any way whatsoever. This will cause you to get a rejection letter immediately, because this is such common knowledge that editors figure anyone that doesn't know this can't be professional.

  4. Type your manuscript on clean ordinary white bond (or print it on white fanfold). It must be double-spaced. DO NOT put it on green or pink or blue. This will not endear you or make your manuscript stand out as anything but the work of an amateur. Do not use both sides of the paper. Do not hope to save weight on postage and use onionskin. DO use a NEW ribbon. Do NOT use anything but letter-quality mode on a printer.

  5. Do not send five page cover letters. Don't say anything except, "I am so-and-so, this is a science fiction (fantasy) novel." If you can say something else about the book in ONE SENTENCE then do so. Otherwise don't bother. The editor won't have time to read a five-page letter, and will figure that any book that needs a five-page explanation isn't worth reading.

  6. DO NOT send illustrations. This will not make points either.

  7. You will not be read by the editor in the first place. You will be read by a long-suffering sould called the "First Reader." It is his job to go through the pile of unsolicited manuscripts and try and find publishable books. The first thing he will throw out is any manuscript he can't read. The second thing he will throw out is any manuscript that is hard to read. The third thing he will throw out is anything that doesn't attract him with the very first page. After that he has a smaller pile. Now he will read the first twenty pages. He will throw out the Star Wars clones, the Tolkein clones, the Thieve's World clones, the D&D adventures written up as books. He will also throw out anything that doesn't hold his attention for those first twenty pages. Now he has a much smaller pile. He will take those manuscripts home, and read them as he gets around to them. If the book holds his attention (and remember, this is a busy guy who reads all day long) he will mark it for the attention fo the Assistant Editor. The Assistant Editor--who is much pickier--will go through the same process. If it makes it past him, it goes to the Editor. This will take months, not the 6-8 weeks they say it does. Publishers get a lot of books. If they've had your book for 6 months, it's fair to say that they might be interested.

  8. Nobody is going to "steal your idea," much less your book. First of all, you can't steal ideas; no two authors will do the same thing with the same idea. Secondly, nobody would even consider stealing a book; it's not worth it. A publisher could be wiped out by a single lawsuit.

********Wee pause for an important announcement.********

There is something called a "vanity press." Danger! They will take your money and leave you with a garage full of books (or tapes, they exist in the music business, too). Basically, you send your work to them, and they write back with incredible praise; this makes you feel wonderful. At the end of the letter, they will say, " but you are going to need some editing work, and since you're unpublished, we need $X for our time." Okay, you send them the money. Then, after several more sessions of this, they say, "we're all ready to print this, but since you're unpublished, we'll need $XXXXXXXX for printing and distribution costs." Well, by now you've sent them so much money you figure you might as well . . . . The books are never distributed; the "distribution" will be straight to your house, and they will tell you that it's your job to get bookstores to take them . . . and by the way, they're very interested in your next book--on the same basis. You've just spent $10,000 (or more) and you have a garage full of books no one wants. The music vanity presses get your money even faster. They will tell you you're a great songwriter (singer, musician) but in order to do a tape right, they need backup musicians, engineers, etc. . . . so they'll need, oh, $3,000 to $10,0000 right away. These things don't come cheap, you know . . . . Well, as certain relatives of certain members of QO will tell you, they do come cheaper than that; if you really want to do, say, a filk tape, and you've got some reasonably competent musician friends, you all get together and practice for a month or more, then you rent a studio (they even have good studios in towns like Tulsa, they're in the yellow pages under "Recording Services"). A studio comes complete with engineer for $35-$50 per hour, and if you can't do a 45-minute tape in two hours, give up. You then find a tape duplication firm (frequently the studio has one) and pay to have your tapes duped. You make a cassette insert up, and have it printed, buy blank boxes, and have a stuffing party. Bear in mind, after all this work, there has never been a filk tape that sold more tha 2,000 copies. Very few have sold more tha 1,000. And you will have to sell the thing yourself, because so far no one in the music distribution business has shown the slightest interest in filk. There are a couple of filk distributors (Firebird, of course, and Wail) but you will have to send them tapes on speculation; you won't get paid until they sell them, if they're willing to take them.

What all that boils down to is: if a firm wants your money to publish your work, it's a vanity press. And they don't really want your work: what they want is your money.

**********End of important announcement**********

Sorry, gang. No magic formula. No shortcuts. No Fairy Godmother. Just a lot of hard work.


DAW has tried to interest the SF Book Club in picking up my books; they aren't interested. There is also no interest in doing a Herald-based role-playing game or module, and I've talked to everyone in the business. This is not because either the SF book club or the game companies are ogres, gang, it's because I'm not a big enough writer. So don't go writing hate mail.

Speaking of which, I understand some of you wrote some pretty hateful things to one of the folks who did some explanations about what the SCA was all about. I'm not amused. I've been the target of enough hate-mail myself to find the idea of nasty letters pretty darn distasteful. You know who you are, and I think you ought to apologize. You caused him a great deal of distress. UnHeraldic, people. Totally UnHeraldic. What the gentleman wrote was pieced together by Judith and Sally from some of his private letters; they know nothing about the SCA, and to be blunt, I found nothing whatsoever offensive about what was written. The SCA as I joined it was a place to have fun and a place to learn what honor was all about. We took things with tolerance and open minds, in the spirit in which they were given, allowing for possible mistakes in the translation. One of the reasons I no longer belong is because that spirit seems (as has just been amply demonstrated) to have died.

Artist Larry Dixon has joined my company, High Flight. Our first venture is stationary and bookplates. (A brief commercial interruption: [Ed. note 2002: Out-of-date pricing omitted.] The gryphon is black on grey parchment, the lion brown on antique parchment. Samples enclosed with the original of this letter.)

We are also working on several projects together; right now none have a publisher and I'm short on time, so we are working on them "as time permits." We have two adult novels, The Black Gryphon and Ties Never Binding, and a young adult novel, Owlflight. we are also considering working on a couple of comic series together; Larry has extensive experience with both Marvel and Eclipse comics, and we think we have a really good idea for a science fiction series and maybe a Herald series.

Larry is also doing illustrations for the latest "Talislanta," project (that's a role-playing game, for those of you who don't indulge) and the latest release of "Stalking the Night Fantastic" (a horror role-playing game). Just FYI, the editor of "Stalking" is a real Diana Tregarde fan; he's recommending the books in the back of the game. Larry and I may also do some "Talislanta" and "Stalking" modules together.

CON IV. was lots of fun; you folks up in the Northwest are really terrific and I just wish we could have stayed longer. I finally got a chance to meet Callinda and Lynnell face-to-face, after many years of exchanging letters and cards.

I am going very briefly to WorldCon after all; this is for a business meeting and I hope those of you who are filkers won't think I'm the AntiChrist because I'm not showing up at the filk. I'll be there for Saturday afternoon and Sunday only. My meeting is at 8 AM (moan) Sunday morning. I have things to do with DAW on Saturday night before and after the Hugo awards, and probably things to do with other publishers Sunday night. Monday I will be leaving at Too Awful Early in the morning. These are important meetings, I'm sorry I won't be able to "come play," but this is what being a writer is all about. WorldCon stopped being fun two years ago; now it's Work. And that's okay, because it lets me get to the important part; writing more books.

I finish Jinx High soon; we will see what TOR wants after that. I can also tell you what the next two books will be for DAW after Magic's Price. The first will be the book that ties the "Vows and Honor" books to the Heralds' series, via Kethry's granddaughter, Kerowyn, who is a little older than Selenay. The second will be about Elspeth. Both should be pretty fat books; I won't say any more than that right now, until we get Price in the can and out of the way.



[End Excerpt]

Queen's Own is the official Mercedes Lackey Appreciation Society. Our purpose is to share our enjoyment of Misty's worlds. We are a fan-run not-for-profit organization, not a business. Our address of publication: P.O. Box 749, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 USA. This newsletter is published solely to inform and entertain the club's membership; no infringement of anyone's copyrights is intended.

Newsletters are published on (or near) the first of each month.

Editor/President Herald-Mage Adept Danya Winterborn (L.A. Malcor; AOL-IM SN Shashtah; Legend@malcor.com)

The featured artist for this edition of the newsletter was Larry Dixon. If you have a clue who they were, please contact Herald-Mage Adept Danya at Legend@malcor.com. If you would like your art to be featured in the online version of the QO newsletter, send .gifs or .jpgs to Legend@malcor.com or hardcopy to Queen's Own, P.O. Box 749, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.

Mercedes Lackey does not receive mail at the Queen's Own address. Fanmail to Mercedes Lackey and releases for fan fiction should be sent to:

Mercedes Lackey
c/o High Flight Arts and Letters
P.O. Box 2970
Claremore, OK 74017


Herald-Mage Adept Danya Winterborn

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