Once upon a time, there were men who ticked and tocked, and tocked and ticked.

31 12 2008

Because all good stories should start with “Once upon a time”, shouldn’t they?

Well, I’m not a terribly good writer, so I’ll let others who write better than I be the judge of that.

But this really *IS* a story of men who ticked and tocked, etc.. My part in this story was that of an observer, reader, fan, occasional reviewer and commenter.

The edited highlight for this post is that Clockwork Storybook is back, and they have a blog.

The Clockwork Storybook collective came to my attention in April 1999, when I managed to royally mess up my back and shoulder through repetitive motion damage at the bookstore where I worked. I was put on leave from the retail floor and spent a few weeks at home on disability until they could move me into a desk job in the Purchasing Department.

The Internet became an integral part of my day while I was at home. I started my own forum at Delphi Forums, called Galaxy’s Edge, now sadly mostly defunct with an occasional myoclonic twitch. One of my regular readers there pointed me to another forum hosted by Delphi, where Mark Finn, Chris Roberson, Matt Sturges, and Bill Willingham were cross-posting their shared-world interactive fiction from the Clockwork Storybook website. They invited comments, and even ran their own boot camp for writers wanting to work in their milieu.

I was enthralled, to put it mildly. I ate up everything I could put my little eyeballs on. When they started their own press to take their cyberspawned stories to dead-tree format, I reviewed their works for BookSense.

And then the Tick Tock Men broke up, and I was discreet and never asked why, because I was really not much more than a lurker on their forum at Delphi. I was too shy a fangirl to do more than comment sporadically; I floated on air for DAYS when Mark Finn complimented me on my love of John Collier’s short stories.

Without my visits to the Clockwork Storybook forum to spur me, I lost track of the splintered components for a while. Eventually I found them all at their separate online haunts, and continued to follow their careers and doings.

The clock-hands have moved forward and the calendar pages have turned. I now have more confidence under my belt when dealing with authors and creators as a seasoned bookseller and a neophyte distributor, but I still have my quiet fangirl moments. And the Tick Tock Men have come back together, with the addition of Bill Williams – first under the auspices of a writers’ retreat, then as an extension of the FABLES forum, and finally now in their central blog.

It is so much fun to hear their thoughts again on the writing process and to read works in progress once more in one place – not that I didn’t enjoy or won’t enjoy your separate Internet ramblings and published works. But The Clockwork Storybook Blog is one of the nicest presents I’ve received this year. Thank you, Mark, Chris, Matt, Bill, and Bill.





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