Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Thanks to my very kind SF editor, I presently have in my hands two copies of Rebel Ice, the new StarDoc novel, which will be hitting the shelves the first week of January.

I haven't talked much about RI because this is a landmark book for me. It's a novel I've worked three years to get into print. It also fulfills the promise I made to my StarDoc readers not to give up on the series. I didn't do it alone, either. My readers did their part by spreading the word about the series, keeping all five of the previous StarDoc novels in print, and buying up the other SF books I've written since StarDoc went on hiatus with Eternity Row in 2002.

Finally, it's here. We did it.

I also promised to give away the very first copies that landed on my desk, so in comments to this post, tell us how you keep going when all the odds are against you. Post your comment by midnight EST on 12/15/2005. I'll draw two names at random from everyone who participates and sign the copies for you. Winners will be announced by noon EST on 12/16/2005. Giveaway open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something at PBW before this.


  1. I think of my kids and know I have to keep going. It may take me longer than I planned, but I get it done eventually.

  2. When the odds are against me, I keep going by remembering my family. I remember everything that they've taught me and done for me and everything that I've learned from them - including how to be strong. I remember how humiliated I was in elementary, junior high and high school by my peers and my promise to myself to become something and prove everyone wrong, to prove that I was a somebody, worth something. Whenever I need strength to persevere, I turn to my past and draw it from the unpleasant years of my life and my family, who never gave up on me.

    ~Briana N.

    P.S. Can't wait for the new book!! Thanks PBW!

  3. When the odds are against me I figure a way to tip them in my favour. Every gain on my side of the ledger helps to improve the outcome.

  4. When things are tough I think of all the people who have walked the earth before me, felt the same joys and fears, struggled with the same doubts, and of all the people who will come after us and experience the same. In our shared humanity there's comfort.

    "Ah, mighty kingdom of the mind,
    That rules the hearts of all mankind,
    When I remember that for me,
    For my undreamed mortality,
    My little soul, unthought, unborn,
    Great poets sang in some far morn,
    I am unhumble than the air,
    Lingering here on Song's first stair."

    (from 'My Books" by Zora Cross, 1920.)

  5. I'm just stubborn. There are probably times I should give up and I don't. I also don't believe in odds. If I did, I wouldn't have the job I have in the industry I'm in. I wouldn't be the worker bee with my DH a househusband of over 20 years (heck we probably wouldn't still be married) and I'd never have finished my first and second books. A bit of optomism and tenacity helps too.

  6. TeresaH3:07 AM

    Just keep plugging away and think positive.

  7. When things get rough for me I focus on what I can learn from the sucky parts, and above all know that there is a kind and loving God who is with me, always.

  8. Anonymous5:31 AM

    I imagine myself on my deathbed, moaning about the things I didn't keep doing because I let myself get overwhelmed and discouraged.

    Karen Miller

  9. I try to reframe negatives as positives- this Leonard Cohen quote is my favourite inspirational one:

    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    Apart from that, what really helps in times of trouble is drinking copious amounts of diet Coke. Ahh, caffeine!

  10. Anonymous5:54 AM

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


  11. zornhau6:26 AM

    When all the odds are against me?
    Break the problem into small parts, try to improve the odds where I can, then - consoling myself that inaction will not improve my situation - just do it!

  12. How do I keep going when all the odds are against me?

    I don't think of the odds, ever.

    In fact, I doubt I'd get out of bed in the morning if I thought of the odds of anything.

    (And I just went to preorder it online. Can't wait.)

  13. Internal motivation. Integrity is very important to me, so I am driven to do what is right even when the situation seems hopeless. And, as a long-time environmental activist, I can tell you that those who rely on external motivation/rewards/successes to keep going, don't last long.

    Believe passionately in whatever you choose to do, and then do it with your whole body and soul.

  14. I make a list of steps to do. Sort o ik a detailed outline, or Lazette Gifford's phase outline.

  15. How do I keep going when the odds are against me?

    Ignore them. Eat chocolate. Play loud music and dance.

  16. I sit down with my feline trio, and I just watch them. They play, they get in trouble, they invariably manage to make a mess (hard to say whether it's intentional or not), and, yet, they come back again and again.

    I watch my gecko chase down a cricket that is determined to not become food. He climbs over, around, and even under everything he can to get the cricket - doesn't ever seem to matter how long it takes him to catch it.

    It's always so simple for them to keep going. If it's that simple, then how can I not persevere myself?

  17. I read blogs by people that inspire me or walk the dog. She (dog) is always so happy to be alive. Can learn a lot from her.

  18. Anonymous8:24 AM

    I overcome by being/remaining stubborn and steadfast in my beliefs -- the more someone and/or the situation tells me I can't, the harder I work to prove them, it and/or even sometimes myself wrong. Being stubborn can be both a positive and a negative trait and I work hard to make it more of a positive than a negative - as sometimes running into a brick wall head first is not always the best way.


    PS Thanks for continuing against their odds to get Rebel Ice out there for us. It is appreciated!!!!

  19. Right now, both my husband and I feel that the odds are against us. Our kids keep us going, but that very thin sliver of faith barely keeps me sane.

  20. I regroup, even if I have to regroup thousands of times to get to my goal. The line from a Stevie Nicks song always occurs to me:

    "And the days go by
    Like a strand
    In the wind
    In the web that is my own
    I begin again."

    Those little words, "I begin again." I take a breath, regroup, and begin again. (Symbolically, though, since most of the time it's just continuing from where I'd been tempted to throw in the towel. But it's a renewed effort.)

  21. I just keep my goal in my head and try to remember that everything will work out for the best, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. I will MAKE it work out for the best.

  22. I remind myself that there's got to be a reason everything is against me - it must be doing something good for me in the long run - and that it'll get better eventually, even if it doesn't feel like it will.

  23. I have been told by very good friends in the past that I am 'too stubborn to die.' I suppose that keeps me going. I will not accept that the odds are against me. I firmly believe that we can sculpt the world around us the way we would like it to be, despite the rest of the world getting in the way. For me, it's all part of the megalomania! :-)

  24. kshepherd10:07 AM

    I just take a good look around me and see that so many people are far worse off. This causes me to open my mind to how fortunate I really am and fills my heart with gratitude.

  25. I keep going when the odds are against me by drawing strength from friends and believing I can do more than I think I can. However much I doubt my abilities sometimes, I know that I have enough grit in me to keep going when all I want to do is give up and go home.

  26. When the odds are against me, I endure, keep plugging, and drink a glass of merlot. I have faith things will start turning in my favor eventually, because the odds are a fickle lot...

    (I really REALLY hope I win! Can't wait to read it!)

  27. I do two things -

    First, I look through a "feel good" file I've put together over the years with bits of good press, personal notes, photos, etc.

    Second, I look at the big picture. Why do I choose to do what I do? (again, big stuff here, not the details) What is the ultimate goal and the ultimate good? In other words, what can come out of pushing through the odds?

  28. Cathy G11:41 AM

    When the pressure is on and the odds are against me, first, I remember that I'm lucky to be breathing and on this planet --- then, I pray and give whatever it is up to God and ask Him to make the way for me. I have learned some very painful lessons when I try to depend on myself to solve or overcome a large obstacle, so I've learned to let it go and give it up, then wait..... Usually, within three days I have an answer. Crazy, but it works for me! Have a great holiday!

    Cathy G

  29. I pretend I'm a computer.

    The programs instructions specify that if I try and fail, I wait and try again. Mine is not to judge the odds. I only execute the program.

    Since I'm also the programmer, I made sure, when I wrote that piece of code, that a program stuck in a try-wait cycle wouldn't use up too many of the system's resources, so new programs can start running simultaneously with the old one.

    :) I think I've stretched that metaphor far enough. But it's really useful, because even if I can't always be that dispassionate about repeated failure, knowing that the "computer mindset" is the goal helps me get a little closer to it.

    PS: PBW, congratulations. I can't wait to read this book.

  30. Anonymous12:02 PM

    I know in my heart that "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me" and I work hard to not let negativity and fear seep into my brain.


  31. Anonymous12:24 PM

    I cry.

    Crying's terribly underrated as a coping skill. When I let the tears come, I feel cleaner inside. And who doesn't feel better when she'd clean?

    But on the rare occasion crying didn't work, I throw things. Usually fairly soft, lightweight things that won't break on impact. Because breaking my stuff in a fit of anger is just wasteful. If the weather permits, I go outside to do this throwing.

    And after all that, I suck it up and keep going. Because the sun's still coming up in the morning, and there's nothing I can do but meet it.


  32. I laugh, or at least I try to. Because sometimes Murphy's Law is really just too funny. If I'm too close to the odds to laugh right away, I hug my hubby and my son, eat some soup and chocolate and remember that tomorrow is another day, another chance. And sometimes all you can do when first seeing the odds is have a good cry and reach for loving arms.

  33. How do I keep going? Do I have a choice?

    Even though the odds are against me much of the time, I just keep plugging away, a bit at a time, and eventually it gets done. After all, the chances of success are long, but if you don't do the work, they are non-existant.

    Alison C

  34. How do I respond when the odds are against me?
    I believe that if you want to continue to grow, you have no choice but to meet it head-on. Avoidance solves nothing. A support group that cares, listens and understands (did I mention listens?) is invaluable.
    Looking back on the rough times, I know these are the times that tempered character. Though I wouldn't choose to go through those rough times again, I know I wouldn't be who I am today had I not.

  35. There are some truely beautiful and inspiring statements on this list. Mine is neither, but as I'm still here, it seems to have worked so far.
    My way to keep going involves lots of chocolate and naps. If neither of those are available or possible, I breathe - just concentrate on getting the air in and out until I have access to chocolate and/or a nap.

  36. By remembering that Fortune favors the bold; the only time you ever truly fail is when you give up, or never try at all.

  37. "never give up. it annoys the cynics."


    "We're artists, creators. we must create. against all odds, it's what we do, and it's what gives our lives meaning."


    Oddly both spoken by florida residents. just what is in the water down there?

    And "write? books?" by one baffled employment counsellor, to which I replied "yes, they don't write themselves."

  38. First, congratulations on Rebel Ice. I'm looking forward to it. I love the Star Docs.

    I'm thinking about it. I've had hard times for so long now, I think coping has become a habit. How I cope is really what you're asking, I think.

    I think my coping mechanisms vary, depending on what I need. I'm taking it one day at a time and doing what I can each day to make things better. But to cope? Sometimes I cry. Sometimes we go for a drive or a walk and just rant a bit. My husband, kids, and friends are the best. Without them, I'd be in the loony bin. My faith and our church are at the top of the list. Music, too. Reading and writing are helpful. When I'm making music, listening to music, reading or writing, I get away from the problems for a while. I need those breaks.

    But, the best thing is that my husband has another three-month contract job. It's not going to get us moved out, but it will help our financial picture while we continue to look for permanent work. And maybe this will end up being a permenant job, but we won't know about that until around March or April of next year. :)


  39. I keep going my looking at my son and hoping that the decisions I make in life will one day make him proud. It's sometimes to easy to take the wrong path and the right path is rarely easy. When I'm tired and want to take the easy way out, I look at my son and wonder what he'd want his mother to do.

  40. When I think things are pretty gloomy, I sit and watch my kids for a while, and I remember that I've dodged death a couple of times. I'm here - and they're here - and there's a reason for that. I think about my mom - and what advice she would give me. She never gave up - and neither will I.

  41. --singing, "I'm sooo excited. I just can't hide it..."

    Anywhosits, I focus. Whatever isn't working becomes an obsession until I get it straightened out. It is definitely a one foot in front of the other type of process.

    Failure is something that my brain balks at. As long as I keep taking a step, I feel like I am accomplishing something.

  42. When the odds are agin me? I simply think "this too shall pass" and carry on. It's not as if I can do anything else. I focus on the objective and continue until it's done - or the odds swing my way again.

    Woot! I'm checking the bookstores for Rebel Ice!

  43. I keep going because if I stop, no one else will pick up where I left off. These stories are in my head. I can't trust anyone else to tell them the same way. Whether or not anyone else wants to read them... well, that's for an editor to decide ;)

  44. when the odds are against me, I imagine my rivals and enemies enjoying it, and it gives me energy to fight through. I'd hate to pleasure them :)

  45. I'm so happy for you about Rebel Ice. It sounds intriguing from the synop I read on

    How do I keep going?

    A couple of things. I'm from a long line of fighters, from my grandfather in WWII (who's still alive at 92), my grandmother who struggled with cancer, and my father, who fights for what's right with everything he has, and believes it with his soul. So when I'm told I can't do something, or as you say, the odds are against me, my first thought is: "Wanna bet?" I don't give up easily on anything.

    Second, I try to see the good in everything, even the bad. When I found out I had a chronic, possibly disabling condition, I decided that this was God's way of making me refocus my life -- and pay attention to things that matter, do away with the stuff that doesn't. I try to look at everything that happens as part of that, and as part of the evolution of my soul, on some level.

    Writing. If it weren't for my writing, I wouldn't be alive. Some days it's all I have to look forward to, and I cherish it.

    Erin K.

  46. Maybe I ignore the odds are against me? Most times, I don't feel as if they are, but there have been several times when I know they were (are). I keep doing what I know needs to be done and "make them tell me no."

    Usually, it's doing one small thing or a series of small things that pushes you over the edge to overcoming the odds. Usually, the odds are an obstacle course of things put in your way to see how determinted you are to have what you need or want.

    Congrats, Sheila. I'm happy for you. I've already pre-ordered, but an signed copy would be wonderful.

  47. Laughter. Smiles. The idea that this too shall pass. And, if that fails, I occasionally use outside substances. No, not that: I mean watching Airplane!. (Stryker: "It's an entirely different situation - altogether!" Everyone else: "It's an entirely different situation.")

    Plus, trying to win a book for my lovely wife. She also gets me through. ;)

  48. Gratz on getting it into print! Can't wait to read it.
    I keep myself going by reminding myself *why* I'm going. What makes the goal important in the first place - something important to me, to my husband, to our family. It's all the motivation I need to keep on going.

  49. Finally!!!

    There are two things I do to keep myself going. One is that I'm not afraid to admit I need a shoulder to cry on (some of the darkest times of my life have been made bearable because someone cared about me enough to reach out, even if it was just a little thing).

    The other is to take joy in the little things. When things are at their worst, I try to take five minutes to find something that day that made me happy. The purring of my cat, the smell of rain on the dry earth, an e-mail from a friend just to say hello, my favourite song on the radio... if I try, there's almost always something, and just knowing that there was good in the day is enough to reassure me that tomorrow there will be more.

  50. When the odds are against me I just try not to worry. If you can stay calm and think clearly you can usually see your way through.

  51. When i feel like the odds are against me I scream loudly, and then do whatever needs to be done.


  52. I do my best to stay patient through the ups and downs.I Keep in mind that whatever I am going through will pass. I know that the worse thing to do is to give up. I need keep going about my everyday life. Reading also helps take me away for a time. I know that I cannot change anything by stressing.

  53. I lean on my husband, on my best friends, on my family. I pray. And I draw on the inner core of faith and stubbornness that got me through 5 years of grad school and a life-changing accident.

    When the only way out is through, I go through because I don't want to stay in hell.

  54. Happy Holidays!

    I try to remain calm when the odds seem against me. And realize that in the end, I'm bound and determined to make things work out all right.

  55. I refuse to consider “odds” when intent on accomplishing what I want. People who say you can’t succeed, history that shows no on before you had done what you want/need, only one in a thousand are successful in this endeavor – all of these are behind you. What you should be concerned with are the obstacles in front of you – obstacles that can be climbed over, gone around, blown apart, or even stomped on if necessary. Odds have a way of evening things up for the persistent.

  56. When the odds are against me, I give 'em the finger and tell 'em to f--- off. Sometimes after a nap with kitties, or hitting a punching bag a few times, sure. But sometimes life sucks, and, as the master of my own destiny, I have to choose to make it not suck.

    Okay, and sometimes a xanax helps. ;)

  57. Would you believe I just started reading StarDoc? I bought it several months ago, along with Afterburn. Think I'll take it with me to Las Vegas -- it'll give me something to do, since I hate gambling ;o) Congratulations, Sheila.

    Oh. How do I keep going when the odds are against me? I remind myself that the alternative -- stagnation, giving in to the forces that want to push me down -- is far worse. It's like the old joke with patients. How are you? Terrible, but alive. It beats the alternative.

  58. Kaelle1:11 PM

    How do I keep going? Guess I'm just too darned stubborn to give up. (grin) Besides, I hate letting anything get the best of me.

    I have been waiting and waiting for the next StarDoc novel. I am so happy there's another.

  59. Ever since I got married, getting through times when the odds are against me has gotten a lot easier. It sounds like a cliche, but Beth has done more to keep my spirits up during hard times than anything I've ever had before (and we've had our fair share of hard times). She believes in me more than I'll ever believe in myself. And it takes a strong woman to put up with my crap sometimes. She's always there, though. I'm very lucky.

    A new StarDoc in January is like getting a second Christmas! I can't wait to read it.

  60. To keep going I think of my children, husband and various other family memebers that are depending on me to be there for them. That usually keeps me busy doing projects and proofing papers, babysitting, running errands and various other odd jobs. My husband works nights and I work days. I am very blessed in my family and worry about them. I wish them all the best and will do almost anything to help them in their education for a good future.

  61. I'm looking forward to Rebel Ice. I still have all my StarDoc novels and will add this one. Remember my son Gregg, well, he's attending Dewey HS in Brooklyn, NY, and the school library has the entire StarDoc series on the shelves. How cool is that!!!

  62. Kretzschmar8:49 PM

    When everything falls apart, and life can't be any worse. I'm laughing. I can't help... so far it hasn't failed me. I laugh at myself as I walk into a closed door... anything really... but it releases alot of my tension. Some poeple like to think I don't take things seriously, but if I didn't mock it atleast to myself I would probably be crying.

    I picked all of the Star Doc books up in one bookstore trip and read them all back to back. I was certain it was the end of the series because of how long ago the last was released. I'm more then ready for RI to come out. Win or loose the drawing... I'm buying it the instant it hits shelves.

  63. I just remind myself that I'm still here, so it can't be THAT bad.