THE XENA E-XINE--LJ MAAS--BARD ISSUE

Volume II, Issue 7 -- June 9, 2001

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Today's issue includes:

1. Feature Article -- ArdentTly's Interview with Fanfic Bard LJ Maas at the Pasadena Con

2. Xena Quote/Miscellany

3. Featured FanFic and Short Review -- LJ Maas' Conqueror story, "The Petal of the Rose" (still in progress)

4. Xena News -- Final Ep to Air at Museum of TV and Radio; ROC Message Board; Uber hits the bestseller list; The Passing of a Legend

5. Featured Xena Links -- UPBEAT Mag; Scriptwriter (WFC) Katherine Fugate Homepage

6. Xena: Warrior Princess Episode Guide -- "The Xena Scrolls," "Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis"

7. A Word From Our Man Tyldus (Steve Sears) on Writing for TV

8. The Uber Zone--"Strangers in Paradise" 9. Feedback

10. PRIVACY/NO SPAM POLICY!

11. Subscribe/Unsubscribe Information

12. Credits

13. Archives

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1) Feature Article

Interview With A Bard: LJ Maas

by ArdentTly 6/4/01

It was Sunday and the air was filled with anticipation. Lucy and Renee would be taking center stage, after all. It was a very busy day that included a stage interview with Missy Good, appearances by actresses Ebonie Smith, Tsianina Joelson, Darien Takle and the Xena editor, Rob Field. A smaller auditorium called The Little Theatre would also host the Adrienne Wilkinson Fan Club, a no minimum bid auction and a question and answer period with LJ Maas, a Chicagoan, Cubs fan and author of a number of books published by RAP (Renaissance Alliance Publishing). Although she's a part-time teacher in Computer Graphics at the local Junior College, both writing and art is her life; both as a means to make a living and as hobbies in her spare time. It had been decided prior to the Convention that I would hold a short interview with the popular Xena Fan Fiction writer at her convenience. As the day was already hectic, I decided to hold the interview within the Q & A period and then fill in the other questions later via e-mail.

Ardent: Where do you get your inspiration when writing the characters?

LJ: I like to imbue my characters with part of myself. I'm a very visual writer who sees my novels/characterizations as movies. In that context, I can picture a scene and then write it.

Ardent: Is there a certain mainstream author you enjoy and if so, what is it about him or her that you like?

LJ: I really enjoy Stephen King. He has a fascinating imagination. And like him, I write on a schedule. I think that if a person like Stephen King can pump out ten pages of work every day, the least I can do is five. I'm very impressed with his work ethics.

Ardent: How has the success of being a popular writer and artist affected your life?

LJ: Well, I'm certainly more popular and well thought of now. That's very nice. I think people take me more seriously now because of my numerous publications. Those are the positives but there are some negative aspects to fame, of course. I love talking to people but find it very distracting to be confronted by fans during private moments I've managed to set aside for myself. My life is now a compromise with my time certainly not my own. I find it very hard to be selfish with my private time.

Ardent: Have you ever been at odds with a publisher when it comes to the content of your work?

LJ: I find it very easy to work with RAP and have never found myself in a position where what I envision in my story isn't workable for them.

Ardent: Did you submit your uber stories for publication or were you contacted to do so?

LJ: They contacted me. I guess I was one of the lucky ones. After a number of rejections over the years from mainstream publishers of gay & lesbian fiction, I got into the whole XWP thing, and decided to put my writings online. With my ubers, or original fiction, I took the stories I had in my head and wrapped them around these incredible characters.

Ardent: Do you think the readers of your gentle romance novel "Tumbleweed Fever" will be ready for the intense passion of "Meridio's Daughter?"

LJ: I have to say, I hope so! I truly believe that good writing transcends something like being offended by a few love scenes. I actually have had the occasional person write to me and say they skipped over the love scenes in "Meridio's Daughter" (due out next month--shameless self-promotion), but they read every word of the rest of the story. I'm not offended in the least. To me, that's a great compliment. What we forget sometimes in the online Xenaverse is that there are quite a number of folks who are not gay (hard to believe, eh?). I have straight men & women write me fan letters all the time. Ultimately, I want folks to enjoy the story & not be too hung up on what the characters are doing behind their bedroom doors.

Ardent: Were you a practiced writer before you began writing Xena alt fanfic or was that your first foray?

LJ: I was always working on writing the perfect novel! I have manuscripts all the way back to when I was about 16. I was always going to be either an artist or an author. It turns out that I am both. I work part time in my studio (computer graphics, illustration, web design), I teach Graphics & Web Design at the local college, and I write novels. I was to the stage of turning manuscripts into publishers, but hadn't received any positive responses yet when my life changed, I fell in love, and ended up here in a beautiful rural area of Oklahoma. I didn't have as much time for writing for the next year or so, and boy, did I get rusty! It was like starting from scratch when I began again. The muse never left me though. I have always been blessed with more stories than I can possibly write. I have folders filled with outlines and notes on the next novel or short story. When I get an idea or a storyline comes to me, I make a folder for it. One for my file cabinet and one for my computer. I throw things in there when I get the inspiration. Right now, I'm working on about four different novels at once. Then, all of a sudden, I'll get this spurt and just want to finish out one novel.

Ardent: Will you write any further X&G adventures (not counting the Conqueror series) or concentrate your attentions on uber from now on?

LJ: I still love the characters of Xena & Gabrielle, and simply can't stop writing them right now. Maybe in the future, if folks lose their interest, I might concentrate solely on my original works. At present, however, I will continue with the Queen & Conqueror series in between my novels.

Ardent: Will you attempt a non-uber novel or do the variously reincarnated versions of the characters of X&G hold your attention and allow you to fulfill the need for creative writing?

LJ: Actually, I am already testing the waters there. Two of the novels I'm working on pull away slightly from the exact replicas of X&G. In "Priceless Cargo," a science-fiction novel, the smaller blonde is the hard-boiled, tough as nails Captain of a space freighter. The passenger who is thrust upon the Captain is a younger, extremely open and naive young woman with long dark hair and blue eyes. "Starved Bank of Moss," a romance, is going to pull away even more. The interesting thing is that even though the characters may change, physically as well as mentally, I can feel Xena and Gabrielle when I write. The characteristics of our favorite duo are not new by any means. I re-read Katherine Forrest's, "Emergence of Green," and enjoyed her characters immensely. The physically overpowering artist, who is gay, and the smaller woman, stuck in a loveless marriage. It reeked of our favorite duo! Lastly, I am working on a couple of screenplay projects. One with a strong female lead; she has no partner, she's simply solo. The other will be written for a straight couple.

Ardent: Who are your favorite bards, other than the uber authors you have on your site?

LJ: There are way too many to choose! LOL The authors I have on my sight wrote stories that touched me in some way. Usually, the story or the characters seemed fresh to me. That's why they're there. There is great stuff being written online, but sadly, I have little time to read it anymore. Actually, some of the best stuff around is being posted currently on the Bards' Village, our authors & readers mail list!

Ardent: Do you find it more difficult to write in first person narrative style, or does that free a whole new voice and perception?

LJ: I find it so easy to write in first-person. The funny thing is that every writing class I've ever taken, the teachers have tried to convince me how much more difficult it is to write that way! LOL The best example is the Conqueror series. Having Xena tell the story from her perspective gives me freedom to just ramble at times, or reminisce, which is the scary way my brain works anyway. I like folks to think that they really are privy to Xena's thoughts and perceptions of events. So, sometimes I go off on a tangent, like someone would do when they're musing about things. It's sort of a controlled ramble. The down side to first person is that you have to be creative and use your imagination a bit more. You need to still tell the "whole" story, but at the same time, you are limited by what your main character sees & thinks.

Ardent: Is the uber "None So Blind" somewhat autobiographical since it reads as very authentic?

LJ: Um, yes, sorta! My partner and I (five years in July!) met online and became good friends years before we fell in love. By the time she realized she wanted me, I was taken. Unfortunately, I was in a bad relationship, but my partner is a true warrior. She never tried to interfere. She ended up being a friend, standing by me. I never thought she could ever think of me that way, and she was always feeling the same thing! When I was at the end of my rope, and my struggling relationship, she was there. Maybe that's why the feelings in NSB have come through as so real.

Ardent: How do you keep the thankfully plentiful erotica so fresh and full of variety?!

LJ: LOL I had a fan recently write me and tell me that I have either a great sex life, or a fantastic imagination! I admit to both, I suppose. I'm glad that folks still refer to it as erotica, and not just sex. I think I try to stress that's it not just about that. I'm not even sure what goes through my brain when I start writing a love scene. It must be equal parts, what you've done, what you want to do, and what you think you can talk your partner into! In reality, my scenes have only touched the tip of the iceberg. All I can hope is the freshness & the ideas never end.

LJ's Site:

http://www.art-with-attitude.com/artist/Alt_FanFic.html

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2) Xena Quote/Miscellany

Quote:

"I am the truth of who you are."

-- Gabrielle to Xena in "Return of the Valkyrie"

Miscellany:

Xena/Herc Word Find Puzzle

http://hometown.aol.com/valsadie/page3.htm

Webisode; Xena Darkhorse animated comics with sound!

http://www.darkhorse.com/multimedia/ecomics/index.html?sku=xena.1

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3) Featured Fan Fiction

"The Petal of the Rose"

by LJ Maas

http://www.art-with-attitude.com/artist/rose1.html

Reviewed by Bacchae

We already reviewed all of LJ's fanfic in Vol. 2, Issue 2 (see the Archives below), but this sequel to her first Conqueror story had just begun and is now nearing completion. She skillfully begins to weave several more not-quite-familiar characters into this alternate xenaverse: A sullen Solan grown to manhood with a dirty little secret concerning his mother's betrothed Queen, the former concubine, Gabrielle; centaurs and amazons, Kaleipus vs. Melosa and Ephiny, on the verge of war and...enter an unknown quantity named Velasca... Once again, Maas seamlessly presents us with a fresh perspective on both Xena and Gab in first person narratives of simplicity/complexity, yin/yang, love and near-death, and some breathlessly, gloriously erotic tableaus. No matter what universe, what fate decrees must be. Her poetically, beautifully named chapters always have the ring of a genuine Bartlett's quotation about them.

I give this story (as all of LJ's work) ***** 5 stars!

Star Rating

***** A must read for any Hard Core Nutball!

**** It is well worth your while to read.

*** It's better than getting pinched by Xena.

** Maybe a go-round with Xena isn't a bad idea...

* Cut off the blood flow to my brain now!

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4) Xena News

Last Stand at a Media Institution

This is a big deal--to have this milestone in the life of this great series recognized by the premiere organization in the media field. This is historic, folks:

Lucy, Renee and Rob Tapert will be at the seminar of the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills on June 19 for the screening of the season enders and a discussion panel afterwards. This is a SOLD OUT event BUT good news from Mist at Sword and Staff: "For those who would like an opportunity to attend this event, we are giving away two free tickets to the high bidders on 2 Sword and Staff t-shirts in the current Starship Monopoly Auction. For more information, see the S&S auction at

http://sword-and-staff.com/auction.htm"

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ROC News

Threadgills Restaurant in Austin, Texas is run by Renee's stepfather Eddie and ROC's mother, Sandra. The Threadgills web site has now got a message board where you can leave messages for Renee.

http://www.threadgills.com/board/?topic=topic3

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LJ MAAS' Uber Novels In Print:

They're published by Renaissance Alliance Publishing (www.rapbooks.com)

They are:

Tumbleweed Fever: October 2000

None So Blind: December 2000

Meridio's Daughter June 1st, 2001

Prairie Fire: tentatively September 2001

LJ says: "I do all the cover artwork for my own books, which is what I do besides writing & teaching part time. I've illustrated the covers for a number of popular books out there right now. Other than this, I am working on a few novels that RAP has expressed interest in, so there's no stopping!"

Excerpts from LJ's Update newsletter:

I received my April copy of the Lambda Book Report (the definitive guide on all gay & lesbian literature) and imagine my surprise when going to the last page, I saw "Tumbleweed Fever" as the best selling novel for March under "Books Women Like."

Even though it was all of you who have supported me since the beginning, this is a big deal. These figures are compiled from sales reports from the five largest G&L bookstores across the country. As far as I know, I'm the first of what I know will be many more authors from the Xena FF world, to break into the mainstream this way. Lastly...I have a little blurb that was sent to me. It's from The Open Book bookstore & it's their top 10 bestseller list for December...recognize anyone there???

THE OPEN BOOK'S BEST-SELLING BOOKS FOR DECEMBER 2000

(These books are now listed and available for purchase)

WOMEN'S FAVORITES

1. The Wild One - Lyn Denison (Bella Books, 2000, $11.95, ISBN0967775345). Lesbian Fiction

2. Best Lesbian Erotica 2001 - Tristan Taormino & Pat Califia (Cleis Press, $14.95, ISBN 1573441139). Lesbian Erotica

3. Dykes with Baggage: The Lighter Side of Lesbians in Therapy - Riggin Waugh (Alyson Books, 2000, $12.95, ISBN 1555835686). Humor

4. Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Sex Guide for All of Us - Felice Newman (Cleis Press, 1999, $21.95, ISBN 1573440884). Sex; Lesbian Sex

5. Tipping the Velvet - by Sarah Waters (Riverhead Books, 2000, $13.95, ISBN 1573227889). Lesbian Fiction

6. Shy Girl - Elizabeth Stark (Seal Press, 2000, $12.95, ISBN 1580050476). Lesbian Fiction

7. Tender Heart - Ana P. Corman (1stBook, 2000, $17.10, ISBN 158721878X). Lesbian Fiction

8. By the Sea Shore: A Jess Shore Mystery (Rising Tide Press, 2000, $12.00, ISBN 1883061326). Lesbian Mystery

9. Tumbleweed Fever - L. J. Maas (Renaissance Alliance Publishing, 2000, $15.99, ISBN 193092805X). Lesbian Fiction

10. Treasured Past - Linda Hill (Naiad Press, 2000, $11.95, ISBN 1562802631). Lesbian Fiction

This was a totally cool feeling! I can't thank all of you enough for supporting me in my efforts at continuing to produce, not only quality fiction, but the kinds of stories WE like to read! {A(wo)men to that, LJ.}

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The Passing of a Legend

By Lady Adrell

June 8, 2001

Fans best remember Anthony Quinn, who died this week at age 86, for his roles in Viva Zapata, Lust for Life, and Zorba the Greek. But for Xena and Hercules fans this great man, whose film career spanned over 60 years, will remember him as the guy who played Zeus in the TV movie Hercules and the Amazon Women. An overwhelming talent, Quinn's appearance in the Herc movie surprised me. The Herc movies had come out in a time when that genre was not yet a moneymaker and was not taken seriously by anyone. And yet there was Quinn, playing the all-powerful King of the Gods. He blew me away and was easily the best actor in that movie. I personally enjoy watching Hercules and the Amazon Women as much for Quinn's presence as I do for Lucy's. This is my salute and farewell to one of the great actors of this century. Battle on Mr. Quinn.

For more on Anthony Quinn's life and death: Anthony Quinn's Bio Page

http://www.allmovie.com/cg/x.dll?UID=11:48:02|PM&p=avg&sql=B107297

Actor Anthony Quinn Dies

http://www.excite.com.au/news/story/abc/20010604/15/entertainment/abc-4jun2001 -55.inp

Remembering Anthony Quinn

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/iplc/20010605/cm/remembering_anthony_quinn_1.html

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5) Featured Xena Links

"I think that this show is an intellectual buffet of romance and philosophical wisdom."

~Bridget Petrella (in a communique to your xine editor), Editor/writer/publisher UPBEAT Mag.

Read her fascinating interview with Renee O'Connor ("I was astounded by the response to that interview, over 6,000 e-mails... it was overwhelming." ~B.P.)

It can be found on the UPBEAT site at the following link...

http://www.2upbeatmag.com/TUBE-FILE/tube_file_renee-oconnor-feature-interview/html

And her superb review of "When Fates Collide" at the same site:

http://www.2upbeatmag.com/TUBE-FILE/tube_file_xena-winds-down.html

The script writer of "When Fates Collide" talks about what the ep meant to her on her website and gives some insight into the ep's ending:

http://katherinefugate.com/index.html

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6) Xena: Warrior Princess Episode Guide

by Bacchae2

Episode Thirty-four "The Xena Scrolls" and Episode Thirty-five "Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis"

"The Xena Scrolls"

Indy Jones a la ROC. Janice and Melinda. The two gals who spawned more uber than any other incarnated versions of our girls. Gab in butch drag as a tough little cookie who knows how to bogart a stogie/Xena in femme drag as a softly accented southern belle...and Joxer in French drag a la "Casablanca" by way of Clouseau. What a fun and frothy confection which holds a special place in my heart as my first Xena ep viewed. The sense of anarchic play and the well-chosen flashbacks (this was the way to do a "clips" show), especially the highly subtextual "Dr. in the House," galvanized my attention and assured I would come back for more. Turnabout/fair play. Jan defends Mel's honor ("No way to treat a lady.") They walk off into the desert sunset together. True myths. Some things never change.

Subtext Rating: "Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?" Cigar, fedora, whip, pistol. Sigh...

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"Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis"

A really very subversive ep, but all silliness on the surface. It's a mini version of "La Cage" with its underlying socio content. Boys will be girls and girls don't necessarily have more fun as sex objects. And the drag queen, though perhaps more macho than Salmoneous, is actually more feminine than either Xena or Gab! (who looks like a sore thumbelina in her glossy little numba). Does LL (undercover vying for "Miss Known World") seem to lose IQ points in direct proportion to the lightening of her hair? "And they all went to the seashore." --(Melina Mercouri in "Never on Sunday")

Subtext Rating: Miss Congeniality. Will the real Drama Queen please step forward? Gab's reaction to the apparent woman to woman kiss mirrors that of the mostly male audience--momentarily stunned...and then...cheering for it. Right on the mouth.

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7) A Word of Advice for Would-Be Script Writers from former XWP Exec Producer:

From our correspondent Brian Davis:

This was posted on the Tavern Wall by someone who found it on the Nutforum, a response by Steve Sears to someone wanting to know how to get into scriptwriting. I thought his response might interest you, because you are, in effect, one of the exceptions he refers to:

[Ed: Brian refers here to one of your editors who sold two stories to the Trek folks at Paramount that became episodes of the series ST:TNG and V'GER.]

----------------------------------------------

I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. If you have a Sheena script, it doesn't matter which agency you have, I can't read it. In fact, it would be unfair to you for me to read it. I had covered this in another thread here on the Netforum, but there is a standard rule of thumb that you never send "spec" scripts to the show you wrote it for. If you write a NYPD script, don't send it to NYPD. Send it to another, similar show. Such as HOMICIDE or, even, E.R. There is a legal issue, obviously, but more than that, it's hard for anyone working as intimately on a show as the producer to merely judge your writing. We automatically try to judge it on a higher level, as if it is a production script. And hitting that mark is next to impossible (even the staff does several drafts, myself included). The truth is that Studios buy scripts; TV Series buys Writers. We don't buy scripts, the script you write is your calling card, the example of your talent. We want to be convinced that you have the ability to write one of our scripts, then we hire you to develope a new idea (either one of yours or one of ours). But the script you write to get in the door won't be bought. Of course, there is the larger issue of just getting work as a Writer in Television. That is much more involved. Bascially (and keep in mind this is SOOOOO incredibly oversimplified) you would do the following:

1. Move to Los Angeles

2. Write several scripts; screenplays or episodic/sitcom scripts

3. Use those scripts to try to get an agent.

4. Try to make contacts, network, get people to read your work (don't rely on an agent to do this for you).

5. Learn how to pitch story ideas.

6. Get a meeting to pitch ideas.

7. At this point, you either sell an idea or you don't. Either way, go back to number 4 and start over. Yes, yes, I know we all can think of exceptions to this. Star Trek; TNG, for example, had one of the extremely rare open door policies. But the reason you hear about it is because it was so unusual. Anyway, that's the truth of the matter. If you want to consider working in TV, you need to write more than one script, Sheena or otherwise, and really devote yourself to it. Okay... Missy did it the OTHER way. Also extremely rare.

Take care,

Tyldus [Steve Sears]

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8) The Uber Zone

"Strangers in Paradise"

The Comics of Terry Moore: Xena Uber and Buffy Subtext

The recommended for teens to adults "comic books" (really illustrated novels; they don't make 'em like they used to when I went to the corner store for the latest issue of Supergirl) of this brilliant artist/writer are extremely uberish in nature as are his petite blonde spitfire and gorgeous, dark, statuesque heroines. Which came first, X:WP or SIP? And, how much crossover exists between their media worlds? Check out the cover artwork of many, if not most, issues and you will surely be reminded of a certain warrior and her bard as well as various uber counterparts.

A close-up of a very special SIP cover. Easy to see why this was the single bestselling (and sold out) issue in the history of the series:

http://www.strangersinparadise.com/images/issues/volume03issue16.jpg

Click on Volume 3, Issue 16 below and look at the alternate cover! Look like anyone's favorite psycho-babe?

http://www.strangersinparadise.com/gallery/coversvol03b.html

Terry Moore has also provided a charming cover and artwork for this subtextual Buffy comic written by Amber Benson (Tara!)

Willow and Tara

http://www.darkhorse.com/products/sec_search/pg_profile/sku_00515/zoom_1/index.html

SIP Webpage

http://www.strangersinparadise.com/sipindex.html

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9) Feedback

"This was certainly the most personal issue of the Xine I've read yet. Ardently, your account of the convention read like a long, personal letter to a friend--one from someone who obviously had a great time and wanted to share the experience--and Lady Adrell, your account of your wedding vow ceremony with Jenn was a very personal look into the happiness in your life as well. I am happy you had this special opportunity for the event. Bacchae, regarding the subtext ep reviews: Yes, Hudson is a scream in any episode. I actually was pretty amazed at how good a job she did do playing Xena in "Ten Little Warlords"--good enough I was able to suspend disbelief. "Solstice Carol" was one of my least favorite episodes the first time I saw it, but my attitude too has mellowed towards it upon repeat viewing. Maybe because everything from season two seems magical now in retrospect. And yes, the "greatest gift of all" ending was very sweet.

~Fluffsterbrian"

"By the way - another awesome zine! How do you manage to produce all the material when it wasn't long before that you put out a previous one?

Cheers!

Jen"

[Ed: Well, Jen, it's like this...we've been switching off and one of us is concentrating on every other issue. And you evidently weren't with us when we took our extended vacation. And, well, sometimes there's just so much more news!]

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10) PRIVACY/NO SPAM POLICY! NO SPAMMING OR LIST SHARING! You can rest assured that your subscription email address will be kept in the strictest confidence. We do not divulge, nor make available to any third party, our subscription list. Your privacy is paramount to us! Therefore, it receives the respect it deserves!

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11) Subscribe/Unsubscribe Information If this Xine was forwarded to you and you would like to receive your own free biweekly copy; you can subscribe at http://www.xenaexine.f2s.com or send a blank email to: xenaexine@listbot.com PLEASE NOTE: You are receiving The Xena E-Xine because you subscribed at http://www.xenaexine.f2s.com, or you requested to be added to our subscriber list. To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to xenaexine-unsubscribe@listbot.com

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12) Credits

The Xena E-Xine Staff:

Chief Editor/Head Reporter: Lady Adrell

Editor/Head Writer: Bacchae2

Assistant Editor/Research: Cindy

Writer: ArdentTly

Research/Reporter: Sue Winter

FanFic Critic: Staff

Website Analyst: Staff

Episode Guides: Bacchae2

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13) Archives

To read previous articles, please go to

http://exine.tvheaven.com/archive.html

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No Disclaimer was either claimed or dissed during the production of this xine.

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You have permission to forward this to other people, and by all means, please do. The contents of this E-Xine may be copied, reproduced, or freely distributed for all nonprofit purposes without the consent of the author as long as the author's name and contact information are included, unless where otherwise stated. Example: Reproduced with permission from Lady Adrell or said author. All contents Copyright 2001 The Xena E-Xine, except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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THANKS FOR READING!

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