These are memories and reflections on SH stories I’ve written, that originally appears in fanzines, going backwards in chronological order. -- Charlotte Frost 2007

JUST ENOUGH – When I decided, in 1999, that Heart and Soul 6 was going to be my last fanzine and I was no longer going to write in the S&H fandom, I had all sorts of WIPs of various lengths in the computer. Unlike my prior fandom – where I was determined to turn everything I’d ever written into a published story – I had grown accustomed to not treating everything I wrote as gold. Therefore, I was pretty okay that the WIPs were never going to be read.

But the one regret I had was that I was some 50 pages into a new novel, and I really liked how it was going. I loved what I had written so far, so it bothered me that no one, other than a good friend whom I’d shared my WIPs with, was ever going to know about the story. In late 2004, my friend mentioned that she would really like to see the story on the Me and Thee Archive, where she had recently posted my prior stories (with my permission, of course). I told her I would like to do that, but there was no way I was going to finish the story (I was well into Sentinel fandom then), so I didn’t see how it was possible. She felt the WIP could read as a finished story, especially with a note to the readers that it was originally intended to be a novel.

So, I agreed and my friend posted the story with the title “Just Enough”.

After one has written dozens of stories in a fandom, it’s difficult to come up with a new idea. So, I remember feeling really good about this story as I was writing. I think I still managed to come up with some fresh stuff. I remember particularly wanting to write something that tied to fourth season “Strange Justice” – mainly because of Hutch’s expression after the climatic shootout (though I don’t remember that much about it now), and I’d always wanted to do something with one of the guys having a girlfriend who got pregnant.

Beyond that, I really liked the scene in the boat, and how they have a sexual encounter on shore. And then I liked how, when they returned to the cabin, one of the guys (I don’t even remember which one) felt “pursued” by the other. I thought that all worked very well.

So, I was very glad that this story finally got read. My friend reported to me that lots of readers responded enthusiastically to it. My only regret is that not one of those readers would email me directly; they all wanted to share their thoughts with my friend, not with me (though my email address was provided for feedback). The only feedback I recall seeing on the story was one email that was forwarded to me from my friend, with permission.

THE HORSEMASTER – I had printed my last SH fanzine (with my own stories) in the summer of 1999. S&H wasn’t a pairing that I cared to associate with AUs, but I always thought if I ever did an AU with them, it would center around horses. I did know of an editor/publisher who intended to do a S&H AU zine, and I filed that fact in the back of my mind (knowing that she’s a person whose projects take a long time to reach fruition).

In the summer of 2000, after I was no longer writing S&H, I suddenly had an idea for a full-fledged AU story. I had the rough draft of the 100+ page story complete within six weeks, which was some kind of record. Granted, I wouldn’t have even bothered, had I not known a zine was in process to give it a home. But I really, really loved writing the story. The AU atmosphere can be so refreshing sometimes, which explains why writers so often go in that direction (which, I think, often puzzles readers who can’t understand why writers just can’t stick to canon and keep repeating the same stuff.)

Thankfully, I come from old-time zine fandoms where one is accustomed to there being a gap between the completion of the story and it seeing print. Turns out, the zine, TIMELESS, that this story appeared in, wasn’t published until the fall of 2003. In the hurry to get it out in time for Zebra Con, the editor neglected to include email addresses for the authors. So, authors had to be dependent on the time-crunched editor to forward any comments.

Turns out, I got two comments forwarded on the story. That was more than I expected, considering few fans give feedback on zines. You know how, when writers complain that a story must not be well-liked because there was hardly any feedback, and readers rush to assure that “just because we didn’t bother giving feedback doesn’t mean we didn’t like it”? Well, “The Horsemaster” turned out to be one case where the lack of feedback truly meant We Didn’t Like It. There was a thread on the dislike of it – and AUs in general – recently on a list.

The whole Victorian British atmosphere was very frustrating. I intended to write it as an American. The zine editor insisted that it was the author’s responsibility to match the culture of the time, so I had to change American spellings to British spellings. Thankfully, I had a good fan friend (multiple friends, in fact) in England, and she was very helpful with that. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of doing “search-and-replace” to change all the “while” American words to “whilst”. What I didn’t realize, until after the zine was printed and sold, was that there were some usages of “while” that didn’t make sense as “whilst”. So, a few of the sentences sound really stupid. 

Most of the complaints I’ve heard about the story was that readers couldn’t buy into the Victorian atmosphere. Guess whose fault that was? ;-/

I was really into the idea, after writing “The Horsemaster” in 2000, of doing a sequel that takes place in North Carolina. I thought it would be neat to have a dramatic story, concerning slavery, and harping back to Hutch’s grief at losing his wife because he couldn’t get to the doctor in time (ie, relieving it all over again in order to save an ill Starsky), against the background of the guys raising Morgan horses (the first American equine breed). I was so mentally into the sequel for a while that I even spent time and money on research. I tried starting the story, but since it was going to start with a sex scene, and I was bored with sex scenes, and I write chronologically… well, I never got very far and it has since been lost in a hard drive crash. 

I still have my research materials – I’ve never had the heart to discard them – but since I’m certain now that there would be little interest in a sequel, I’m glad I never wasted time on it. Sometimes I think about doing a similar type of story with Jim and Blair. But I’m pretty satisfied with the AUs I’ve already done with them.

WHAT YES MEANS – This was a finished story, in with a group of WIPs, that I passed on to my good friend. This was a post-“Fatal Charm” that read like every other immediate post-“Fatal Charm” story out there, so I never thought much of it, since there was nothing unique about it (but I had wanted to write it anyway. I thought that was a particularly outstanding episode, despite being a “Play Misty for Me” copycat.) But my friend wanted to publish it in her zine, and I rather self-consciously agreed. I don’t recall ever hearing anything about it.

SPRINGTIME – A little snippet that I could never figure out what to do with before I stopped writing S&H completely. My friend thought it was worth publishing and I didn’t care one way or the other. 

A NOD TO REGRET – My friend wanted to publish this prologue to “Just Enough” as a standalone, as this was before we decided to publish the whole WIP a year or so later.

ZEBRAS – A little snippet that was never published in a zine and isn’t even on the Me and Thee archive. On a whim, I posted it to a S&H list (the only time I’ve ever done that, and would never do again, since the formatting was a royal pain), and it ended up at the Bay City Library archive. It’s one of those scenarios that I wish I could have gone somewhere with, but I could never figure out what to do with it.

ADVENTURE – A story I’m partial to. For one reason, because it was the last novella I published (in my zines), and I never felt it got the recognition it deserved; and also because it ended up meaning a lot to me on a personal/spiritual level.

I was rather taken aback by the dubious feedback I got on this story. One person said that, because HAS 6 was my final zine, she thought I was going to kill the guys off (she thought the physical symptoms meant the guys had AIDS); another said the story bothered her, because of religious reasons; yet another said they whole thing gave her a very “uneasy” feeling.

For my part, I had been wanting to do a UFO story for years. Once I finally figured out how to go about it, I was very into it. I thought it was a really unique plot twist. Unfortunately, I had never seen the X-Files TV series, though I knew about it. I just didn’t take into account how, for so many readers, the theme of this story made it “ an X-Files story” to them, even though it obviously wasn’t a crossover.

I sometimes think that those under the age of 30 have no idea that the idea of UFOs existed for centuries before the X-Files TV series came along. 

Anyway, while I freely admit that this story is pretty weak as a slash relationship story, I’ve been frustrated that few readers seemed to find much value in the plot. Though some did; I mean, I have gotten some enthusiastic feedback on it. This just ended up being one of those situations where you think “Oh, goodie, I came up with something really clever” – and three people agree with you. The rest are going “ick”. (Or “tsk, tsk, X-Files strikes again.”)

One person who did like the story was one of my editors, and she was very helpful in coming up with realistic details for the medical situation.

I had never been to North Carolina (other than a brief stint on Kittihawk Beach as a child) when I wrote story. I felt to a pull to go, but I couldn’t wait until then to write the story. Turns out, in the fall (after HAS 6 was published), I decided I wanted to go on a vision quest, and a beach in North Carolina was where I settled on a destination. I flew into the Raleigh/Durham airport, just like Starsky and Hutch. From there, the parallels to the story were magical, to the point of being impossible to call “mere” coincidence. I ended up driving up to Virginia, and found the road where I’d imagined the UFO encounter taking place (I had been there ten years prior, while getting lost with boyfriend).

I even had the experience, while driving in Virginia at night, of having blue lights appear behind my car. Turns out, it was a police car, pulling me over for speeding. ;-)

A QUESTION OF MERIT – I believe this story was my reaction to the awards thing in fandom. At the time, those most pimping awards (where S&H stories had to compete against stories in other fandoms) were happily emphasizing that awards were about popularity, not merit. I couldn’t understand why that was a good thing (and still don’t – don’t get me started on awards, or I’ll never shut up). And, by God, it was important that S&H stories get voted for, so everyone could see how popular S&H was, compared to the truly popular fandoms, like The Sentinel.

Spouses – in any kind of relationship – can get really competitive with each other (and jealous of each other), when it comes to Who’s Right, or Who’s More Capable. I don’t remember that much about this story, but it was an expression of situations between spouses that I’ve been witness to. And I was trying to say something about merit (though I don’t remember what happens.)

SEXPERTS – Sometimes while writing, you think, “I’ve really hit on something here” – and the readers agree.

In the mid 90’s, I was watching the “Loveline” sex advice show regularly on MTV. As a preteen and teenager, I’d read lots of sex advice columns in magazines. So, I knew how to write realistically about sex problems, and the kinds of responses that were given.

I had this story in mind a long, long time before I sat down to write it. I think it came out really good. I’ve seen it rec’d at various times. It really is nothing more than a PWP, but it worked.

Or, rather, the conversation in the car works. I’m not sure that the story really amounts to much once they get to Hutch’s apartment. It’s the getting there that’s all the fun.

SIN AND PREJUDICE – One of those stories that you know, in your heart, is a wonderful; but a) it’s over-shadowed by more favored stories in the same zine; and b) the reading public just can’t appreciate a unique, solid story, unless it contains favored elements x, y, and z. This is a story that, if it were a movie, would probably be critically acclaimed, but a box-office failure.

I went a few rounds with an editor on this. At the meeting with the parents, I had Starsky admitting he and Hutch were in a gay relationship. My editor said, “No, no, no!” She finally convinced me that she was right, and I’ve never regretted the change.

This is one of my best-written stories, ever. I think it’s brilliant.

WARRIOR OF THE PAST – I pitied one of my betas where this story was concerned. She was very much a Hutch/DS fan, and she couldn’t stand for Hutch to be depicted as anything other than perfect. So, I always had to filter her comments through her admitted prejudices. I’m not sure this little piece can claim to be very realistic, but I liked writing it, and I even re-read it on occasion. It gives me a wicked chuckle.

SANCTUARY – Where to begin? *g*

I’ve always been partial to “reunion” scenes. I love the idea of the guys (whatever the pairing) being so, so happy to see each other again, or one rescuing the other (when the other has lost hope), etc. So, I remember that those sorts of fantasies (going to back to when I was a teenager in the 70’s) is how this all began.

Once they get past the h/c part….

Let me jump to just a few months ago. I ran into an LJ comment somewhere, where the person said that Sanctuary was “what happens to a story when it’s written by a schizophrenic author” (or something like that). The story read like it was written by two different people. 

You know what? I agree.

The co-author? God.


I was as aghast as some of the later readers were when I was writing this story. I didn’t understand why these images were dominating my mind. Even when I was out seeing clients, and driving along the road, I was “seeing” Starsky’s face buried between Hutch’s asscheeks, and that sort of thing.

And as I gave words to the all-encompassing images, I kept thinking, “Well, it’s not like I’m actually going to publish this.” Or, if I did publish it, it would have to be under another name.

Then I just happened to mention a few details of what I was writing to an editor friend of mine that I was corresponding with at the time. She *loved* the idea and couldn’t wait to read it.


When she did read it, she insisted that the sex part was the main theme of the story, and I needed to turn the h/c part, way, way down and edit a bunch of it out. No way. I could understand her point from a story structure standpoint, but I knew my readers. They would love the h/c. I held my ground and am glad I did.

In the end, of course, I published it under the C Frost byline. I knew that lots of people weren’t going to like the story, at least not after the h/c part. And I was right.

But what shocked me was the number of people who did the like story; and particularly the handful who ranked it as one of their most all-time favorites. ( To this day, I can’t help but wonder what’s “wrong” with them. ;-))

As soon as the story was done, I could no longer “feel” the place I’d been when I’d written it. It’s one of the two occurrences I’ve had where I felt some unseen force was behind the creation of the story and I was just a conduit. (The other occasion with a Sentinel story.)

A good friend of mine, who loves “Sanctuary”, says that she thinks one of the big problems with people not liking it is that they don’t “get” the humor in the sex part of it. I agree. I was also puzzled, right out of the box, by those who actually seemed to believe that Starsky was “making” Hutch do things – as though Hutch had no say in the matter. Huh? Hutch was a grown man, quite capable of putting a stop to events at any time. But he was enjoying himself too much to do so.

I do remember the first time I saw “Sanctuary” labeled as bdsm. I had no idea what that meant. While I well understand the feelings of those who don’t care for the story at all, I didn’t appreciate it being reduced to a label – especially a label I couldn’t decipher. (I’m less sensitive to it now, because I know that fans love their labels – sometimes to the point of psychosis.)

MA’S HOUSE – An editor of the zine this appeared in, HAS 5, said to me, “I don’t understand why this story exists; there’s no purpose to it.” Well, it certainly wasn’t rocket science, but I sort of liked the atmosphere. I felt vindicated when a reader once told me that it was one of her all-time favorite stories.

PHANTOMS – You have a great idea for a plot. You have a h/c scenario that the readers are going to love. And then you have a major female character that you know the readers are going to hate. What to do?

Write it and hope the Marianne-haters come around.

I think they did. I’m under the impression that “Phantoms” is the overall second most favorite C Frost S&H story.

When you write a lot of h/c, the ongoing challenge is to find a fresh hurt. Once, a beta sent a list to me, forwarded from another fan friend, of “injuries that have never happened to Hutch before in a story”. They were things like being attacked by a bear, being wounded with a bow-and-arrow….

And being wrapped in barbed wire.

Barbed wire?

My imagination went into overdrive. Ooh, goodie! Barbed wire! What a great idea!

And thus the h/c situation in “Phantoms” was born.

I’d always wanted to do something with Marianne. Though her and her brother were “losers” and people I would have no desire to meet, I thought she was the most multi-dimensional guest character that ever appeared on the S&H series. (Actually, I think she was more multi-dimensional than Huggy or Dobey, who always seemed rather unbelievably clownish to me.) And she had every right to be furious with Hutch for fucking her under false pretenses. I love when she gave him a piece of her mind in the episode. 

I remember one of the snail-mailed comments I got on “Phantoms”. (Email was in its infancy then.) The person said that she started reading the novel as soon as she pulled it from her mailbox and started walking back to her house. She mentioned that she loved it that I started my stories “in the middle of the action” (or something like that).

Hmm. By today’s standards, that would qualify as a highly-detailed, lengthy comment. Anyway, I still remember her enthusiasm and how good it made me feel.

Before I was on any of the lists, a trio of fans had a lengthy discussion about “Phantoms” and those emails were later forwarded to me, with permission of the participants. It was neat seeing so many aspects of the story being discussed, positive and negative. That kind of constructive criticism doesn’t happen anymore.

GIRLFRIEND – I’m partial to this story. I love the domestic atmosphere. I think the whole “dog” thing is realistic. It allowed me to share some of my experiences with adopting my first dog. (I’ve since adopted three others. My Angel – the Girlfriend dog – was put to rest at the age of 17, a year a half ago.)

SINK OR SWIM – I don’t remember much about this story, except the beginning. I don’t even remember what happens in it. I just know that stories where Starsky was the hurt one were a minority for me.

THE HEART KNOWS – One day in the mid 90’s, I was watching an episode of a documentary series. I think it was “Unsolved Mysteries”. There was a story about a man whose friend (I think it was) was serving in Desert Storm in Iraq. The man had an incredibly intense dream about his friend being a POW, and being imprisoned in a room. There was a lone blanket that the prisoner felt very attached to. After the war was over, and the friend returned home, the man found out that his friend had, in fact, been a POW, and every detail in his dream was confirmed by the friend, including the special attachment to the blanket.

Upon seeing that documentary, my mind went into overdrive. I sat down at my computer and started a story where Starsky felt he was extremely thirsty and the sun was the enemy. Turns out, he was experiencing the very things Hutch was experiencing, as someone lost and abandoned in the desert.

I couldn’t write fast enough. I only stopped when my eyes were too strained. I’d wake up in the morning and immediately proceed to the computer. I had a fan friend who called this kind of intense writing “a white heat”.

In addition to the h/c scenario, I was also writing at lightening speed because it was *so* refreshing to write a female character. I don’t remember where Mary Ann came from; I just enjoyed the heck out of writing conversations with her, because they had a freshness that can’t be found in “no vaginas allowed” stories. 

When Hutch is found in the desert, I have him “swaying hunched-over like a gorilla” or something like that. One of my betas went “ick” and told me to take it out. I refused, because I thought it gave the image I wanted. Now, I wish I would have taken it out. *g*

I don’t remember everything about this story, but I’m proud of it. I think it’s a good story. I think it has a lot of elements that are well done.

BUTCH AND SUNDANCE – Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d read a book on Butch and Sundance, and I was so enamored of their “true” characters (and having always loved the fictionalized movie), that I just *had* to do something with all the thoughts running through my mind. Now, I just think it comes across as stilted and awkward. I don’t think it works. It’s embarrassing.

ROMEO AND JULIET – I knew this was just a dumb little story when I wrote it. Harmless.

JENNI – What I’ve always thought of as “the Alice Cooper story”.

How can I say this concisely? To me, Alice Cooper represents the whole exterior-vs-real-person dilemma of the human experience. I was a fan of Alice Cooper as a young teen in the 70’s before I even knew any of his songs. One week, he was a young, long-haired rock star on the Hollywood Squares game show, which was dominated by aging comedians, TV personalities, and stage actors. And he was obviously accepted by them. They “got it”. They knew the whole Alice Cooper stage persona was just an act.

But most of the public bought into the whole idea that Alice Cooper the human being was the exact same gruesome person as Alice Cooper the stage character. I could relate. I was a blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter of an M.D. (back when there was such a thing as “family doctors”). My life was perfect, of course. Everyone had decided it was.

In reality, I was utterly miserable and thought about suicide constantly. 

So, Alice Cooper meant so much to me, because he had that dilemma too. As a teenager, I read this incredible book called “Billion Dollar Babies”. A Chicago journalist traveled around with the Alice Cooper stage show for a few weeks – even participating on stage as Santa Clause – and wrote a fascinating look into the inside workings of a major rock and roll band. Who was the real Alice Cooper? Yes, an alcoholic. But someone so mild-mannered that he got upset when, on his *private* jet, other band members started smoking marijuana. (“It’s illegal, you know.”) He was the kindest, gentlest, ultimate nicest-guy-you-could-ever meet. 

But I have never had fellow human beings react to me so negatively, as when they found out that I liked Alice Cooper. One co-worker seriously told me that he was going to have to think about whether he could still be friends with me. Another co-worker once nearly fainted upon finding out that a goody-two-shoes like me liked such an “awful” person as Alice Cooper. After all, didn’t he worship the devil?

Huh? I don’t think so. He was once a guest star on “The Muppets”, for godssake. He was the son of a minister who married the daughter of a minister (and who was one of the dancers on his stage show.)

All these years later, Alice Cooper is still married to his one and only wife. He’s raised two children, one of whom is following in his footsteps. He was rumored to be highly active in his church and PTA meetings while his children were growing up. He still plays the Alice Cooper role, is still one of the most articulate people to ever grace a rock and roll stage. He’s putting that articulation to good use, as he has a popular radio show each weeknight on FOX. 

He left the alcoholism behind a long, long time ago.

Yet, even as recent as last Thanksgiving, I brought up that I was a fan of Alice Cooper, and my sister-in-law curled up her lip and said, “I want to throw up whenever I see him. What a disgusting, doped-out druggie.”


(I’m not being concise, am I?)

Okay, so I always wanted to do something about Alice Cooper in a story, focusing on the “not the awful person you really think he is” theme that was so important to me. Hence, “Jenni” was born.

I liked the story, but for years I didn’t think anyone else did. It was originally published in HAS 3, which was a zine that, compared to my prior zines, didn’t get much reaction at all. (In retrospect, I think that S&H fandom, which was small at the time to begin with, was in a lull.) 

It’s still not a story that people gush over, but I think a few have mentioned liking it over the years.

I like it because it makes me think of Alice Cooper. And that makes me smile.

GREEK – Whenever I’m flying, my standard procedure is to buy a Dean Koontz novel to read on the plane. When flying back from the Escapade con in Santa Barbara one year, I followed SOP. I don’t remember the name of the novel, or the plot. I just remember a line where a bad guy starting flirting with a waitress, and the waitress said, “I don’t like it Greek.”

My mind went into overdrive. I had to use that phrase.

Somehow, I brought Kira into it. Probably I’d been wanting to do a story where she was dealt with.

I haven’t tried to re-read this story in a long, long time. I don’t remember much about it, other than wavering back and forth between thinking it was pretty good, and thinking it didn’t turn out like I wanted. As mentioned above, HAS 3 was a zine that got hardly any reaction at all.

PROMISES KEPT – I’m not very good at the short story thing, but I think this turned out all right. 

THE SPOILS OF WAR – I had to do some research on this, regarding an antidote to botulism. Read some pretty gruesome stuff. Otherwise, I don’t remember much about this. Somehow, I think the slash aspect might have been awkward or otherwise lacking.

THE GENERAL – I remember really liking this story, as a realistic “slice of domestic life”. I know some other people have liked the story (and the sequels) but, for the most part, I was disappointed that it didn’t appeal to readers as much as it did to me.

PACKAGES – I barely remember what this is about. Must have been a forgettable piece. ;-)

COMPASSION’S HEART – What I confidently feel is, hands-down, S&H fandom’s most favorite C Frost story.

As mentioned under “Sanctuary”, I love the “reunion” scene after a harrowing separation or experience.

I remember that, actually, what I wrote first was a “waking up in the hospital scene”.

No, wait. Back up to entire year before that. One morning, I was driving to work in the winter darkness, at 5:00 AM, for an early meeting. A whole scenario was playing out in my mind. Starsky coming to Dobey’s house. Drunk. Worried about Hutch. Talking about Hutch being “high maintenance”. Making out a list of how to take care of Hutch.

When I got home from work later that day, I wrote out ten pages in one sitting.

What to do with it? Publish it as a stand-alone? No, that didn’t feel right.

So it sat. And sat. For more than a year.

Then I got a really intense idea for a h/c story and wrote the “waking up in the hospital scene”. Then it dawned on me that I could use those ten pages as a prologue, and intertwine them with what I already had in mind.

So, I wrote the story. As it turns out, I re-wrote the “waking up in the hospital” scene altogether, because my first version didn’t fit. (Writing out of chronological order doesn’t work for me.)

A fan friend was living with me at the time, and the previous Xmas, I had attended her family dinner. My own family was only 20 miles away, but I only grudgingly attended holiday events, because childhood memories were still unpleasantly strong. (Besides, I pretty much hated Xmas and all the phoniness.)

This particular Xmas, in 1994, I was relieved to tell my family that I was spending the holiday with my roommate’s family again. But it was a lie. I didn’t want to spend Xmas with anyone. I was too engrossed in the story I was writing.

I remember that Xmas Day. I was very glad to be home, writing. But my roommate had let me know how distressed her mother was that I was “spending Xmas alone”. Yada,yada,yada.

This was the day that I wrote the “whipping scene”. Though I was very happy to be home writing, I understood that, from the outside, I seemed like a “poor thing”.

I used those feelings that I imagined others felt about me. I made those feelings Hutch’s, increasing his sense of despair.

“Compassion’s Heart” wasn’t perfect, but it was a solid, well-written story. For h/c buffs – which most fans are – it was outstanding. Granted, it took a few years before I had that (expected) validation that others liked it as much as I did. Now, I think it qualifies as something of a classic, and has earned that recognition. And I always feel a special gratification when someone specifically mentions liking the prologue.

I haven’t re-read that story in a long, long time, though I felt connected to it for years after its publication. 

Still, I remember with some amusement that someone once passed along to me that someone had said on a list that “gardening tools” always made her think of that story. I honestly didn’t “get it” until it was explained to me.

I could live with being remembered only for writing “Compassion’s Heart”. 

KEEP IT PRECIOUS – A fan friend once said to me, “This was different from your usual tone, wasn’t it?” “Uh-huh,” I replied, fully aware of her disapproval.

In fact, this is one story that I often forgot I ever wrote. I figured it was, for fandom at large, one of the most forgettable stories ever written. And then once, an editor friend wrote me a big email on what a fantastic story she thought it was.

Sometimes it’s years before you find out somebody liked a story. Literally.

REFLECTIONS OF A MICROBIOLOGIST – I really wanted to do this, and liked the idea of it, but I don’t think the first-person POV sounds like Judith. Bummer. Because otherwise I really like this story.

PRIVATE AGENDAS – This was my second zine in SH fandom and my first novel. I sent a copy of the zine to an editor and friend I respected from my prior fandom. She called me and said, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but this novel doesn’t have a plot.”

Oh. After all that work, I felt like a failure.

For years after its publication, I’d apologetically tell people, “Well, in the novel, this happens and that happens. But it doesn’t have a plot.”

Looking at my snail mail LoCs (feedback) now, I can see how much readers compliment me on the plot, but I wanted the approval of that particular editor. It was years before I was able to dismiss her comment as retaliation for my having published my own stuff.

As for the story itself, it was quite a challenge to do all on my own. I cringe now at the POV inconsistencies. I had a beta that tried to correct a lot of it, but I didn’t understand what she was doing, so dismissed a lot of her corrections and was later sorry for it.

Still, I’m quite proud of the first-time sex scene. I love the slow, drawn-out sequence of events. For years afterwards, I wished I could “do that again”.

Once, I had contact with a local S&H fan who knew nothing of fandom. She was rather offended when I first brought up slash, but then called me to talk more about it after she’d gotten over her shock. I tried to describe how loving slash stories were – not just about sex – and somehow I mentioned the “30-page sex scene” in this novel. We ended our conversation with me agreeing to loan her copies of my zines, and she could pay me if she was interested. Her final words were, “Make sure you include the one with the 30 pages.” *g*

As for the horse racing scenario, that was a natural for me, as I was an intense Thoroughbred racing fan. In fact, it was a challenge to not cram too many details into the first chapter and bore the reader with irrelevant background details.

I haven’t read this in a long, long time, and I’m just now remembering that Starsky gets stabbed and left for dead. I don’t think I even remember what happens after that, or what the comfort is like. Maybe I’ll re-read it this weekend.

JUST LOVE – I really liked writing this. First person usually doesn’t work very well for me, but I think it did here.

A big chunk of this story was written by my subconscious. I had to be up all night, manning the radio from my home, which was the central communications for a company that did snow plowing. So, while I was monitoring communications, I was writing this story. It was one where I was pretty sure about what I wanted to do before I started writing. Still, I felt disconnected from it for a long time and wasn’t sure it worked.

Eventually, I came to believe it worked very well. I think it was the standout story in the zine.

LYING IN WAIT – I don’t remember a whole lot about this. I just know that first person Hutch POV was a little awkward. I think I was trying to create profundity where none existed.

WALLS OF GLASS – One of those stories where, the minute it’s published, you go, “Oh, fuck, why did I do that?”

Starsky cried way too much. He just plain did.

So, it’s always been a puzzle to me that this little story has had so much appeal over the course of time. Someone tried to explain it to me once – something about the profundity of Spock’s death and how that resonates with even the most casual of Star Trek fans, so they “got” Starsky’s distress over having watched the movie.

I never saw Star Trek II in the theater (I just never got around to it, as I wasn’t in fandom at the time and was only a casual fan). So, I never quite got that big-screen impact of Spock’s death.

Anyway, I’m glad this went over so well. Though it still sort of puzzles me that it’s spoken so highly of.

HERO – It was seven years before I ever knew that anybody liked this story at all. And then I found out that a lot of people did. 

When I was thinking about doing my first zine – which was to be HEART AND SOUL 1 – I felt that “Hero” was the weak story in the zine. It wasn’t really even a “story” since it didn’t have a plot. Sometimes, I wondered if I should leave it out altogether. But then I rationalize that *something* had to be the weak story in the zine.

Based on the responses after the zine was published, there seemed to be pretty much agreement that this was the least favorite story in the zine.

As the years went by, I continue to sometimes wish I’d left “Hero” out of the zine altogether.

Then one day, in 2000, I started corresponding with a new S&H fan. She would eventually become my best friend. She loved my stuff, and just couldn’t say enough about “Hero”. I was flabbergasted. What was wrong with her? Couldn’t she see what a plotless, non-story it was?

She thought it was great “comfort reading”. In fact, she had many friends who thought so, as well.


Sometimes, you really and truly do have to wait years before you find out that a story was worthwhile.

SACRED PLACE – Sometimes you just can’t write enough stories to air all your grievances about your parents. Maybe Hutch’s parents weren’t mentioned much in this, but this was the first in a long line stories that gave me a lot of satisfaction to bad-mouth parents.

WATERFALL – Suicide is a natural subject for me, and I always include at least one story with that theme in any fandom I’m in.

Still, I remember this more for the scene on the beach of Starsky watching Hutch, and the “crying” scene. 

I don’t remember much else.

A TIME FOR CHANGE – When I was a miserable, depressed teenager in the 70’s, watching Starsky & Hutch was about all I cared about. (No VCRs then, so I could only watch “live”.) In between episodes, I’d run the h/c parts over and over in my mind. Sometimes I’d make up my own. I never wrote them down, because I wanted to be a writer, and writing stories based upon TV characters didn’t make any logical sense. (If I’d only known….)

One fantasy that I ran over and over and over again in my mind – for years – was an intense scenario of Starsky finding a badly injured Hutch in a sewer tunnel. Taking him home, because Hutch was too skittish and scared to be in a hospital. Finding a kindly old doctor to make a house call. Trying to soothe a terrified, naked Hutch on the sofa, and letting the doctor work.

If I hadn’t had that scenario to escape to, who knows what would have happened. (Well, there was one failed suicide attempt, amongst other family members who did it successfully.)

Jump to some dozen years later. My career as a Kirk/Spock writer was winding down. One of my editors – who had published most of my K/S stories – was going to do a multi-media zine. Would I do a S&H story for her?

I didn’t think so. My mind wasn’t there. I had maybe 15 episodes on tape, but I hadn’t watched them in a long time. I hadn’t seen the show in years.

Awe, c’mon, she pleaded.

I then realized I could, finally, get that long-time h/c fantasy out of my mind. It would be written down and I could let it go. So, I agreed.

Immediately, I realized a problem. I had fantasized the story so much, that actually writing it down felt like repeating myself for the hundredth time. The writing was laborious, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the story reads that way (though I’ve haven’t heard much about it in all these years since).

I did add one little twist that wouldn’t have occurred to me as a teenager. I put the barest hint of a slash suggestion in the final sentences.

I like the ending. 

As for the rest of it, I’m in the dark as to whether it works or not.