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richardosteele

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #120 on: July 01, 2006, 01:20:53 AM »
Al dead? How could a man so full of life be dead? I only recently learned that Al was seriously ill. I sent him an e-mail but it was not answered–an ominous sign! Last February I was going to be not too far from his corner of England and asked if I could visit. I would really have enjoyed seeing Al in person. He said no; his health simply was not up to it.  I thought at the time that his unwillingness might have been on account of a desire to protect his anonymity; it may well have been that but perhaps it was more his illness that made him **86** to meet me face-to-face. Now, of course, it's all academic; any meeting will have to await a meeting on that farther shore.  May we both have a bevy of Richard O. Steele-type girls to keep us company!

I first “met” Al when he reviewed one of my early stories in R&D. As he later admitted, he was baiting me in the review to contact him. I did, and thus began some five or six years of collaboration and friendship. In his first e-mails and reviews he made some critical comments about my stories that, when I pondered them, turned out to make perfect sense. I suggested that I might rework them in light of those suggestions. and Al offered to edit and format them.

The process was amazingly painstaking; I can’t imagine that  novels put out by major New York or London publishers are so well edited. In the course of reworking a story, and subsequently in creating new ones, Al and I would trade hundreds of e-mails. I would send Al a more or less completed story and then we would slowly and carefully work through it paragraph by paragraph. The process took months. Other times, I would start a story and, when a substantial portion was done, ship it off to Al for his initial reaction. Then, we would edit and write and edit until the work was done. That, too, would take months.

At the end of this process, Al would format the entire package–a task at which I am hopeless. Then, we would proof read–and proof read–and proof read some more. That process took weeks, sometimes months. Every read-through would uncover yet more errors to correct, ideas to incorporate, or revisions to make. I know we never got them all–even today when I reread a story I often catch something that had slipped by –but I dare say that the quality of the  final product was very high. Al’s standards were very high indeed. So are mine. I think that made us soulmates in that regard. We were, you’d better believe, on the same wave length even though my stories and his are quite different in style and content.

As this discussion suggests, Al’s attention to detail was amazing; we might trade dozens of e-mails to get a single page or even a solitary paragraph right.  A simple disagreement over a plot twist could take dozens of e-mails to resolve. Al would, as this suggests, make hundreds of suggestions per story, of which I would accept most but by no means all--I was still the author and he was the editor.  Yet he was an editor whom it was very important to please. Sometimes I would get weary–perhaps Al would, too–but I would persevere because I knew that the end product would justify the enormous amount of time and effort we both invested in the process.

While so engaged, we got to know each other and became friends. I got to learn a little about Al: That he lived north of London in the general direction of Oxford; that he had been divorced to the mother of his two children; that she had later died; that he loved cricket; that his religious upbringing was nonconformist and chapel but that he had left all that behind; that he was deeply conservative in his political and social views; that he had never been to the U.S.A.; that he enjoyed working with the big-bosomed video stars for whom, it seems, he was a father figure. Al's interest in big boobs, it seemed to me, was entirely second hand as opposed to hands-on!

I did try to draw Al out on a personal level even more. Though some hidden code in my Word formatting, he had discovered my real name.  I sent him pictures of me and my family. I told him where I lived and what I did for a living. Part of my motivation was to angle for something in return. The larger reason, though, was simply to share my life with Al because he had become such a friend. Still, Al remained very, even intensely, private; I had to settle for snippets of information, usually passed along as a detail appurtenant to some larger point he was making. Certainly, I never learned HIS real name!  Oh, well–the relationship was a deeply satisfying and rewarding one notwithstanding, even though it was always on Al’s terms.

I do not know the extent of Al’s education–i.e., whether he went to University or not–but I do know this: Al was a highly educated and erudite man. The range of his knowledge as it was expressed in the editing process and otherwise was astonishing. The fellow was a veritable Renaissance man.

In reading this thread, I am overwhelmed to learn just how many friends Al had.  The fellow had such a gift for it! This should be no surprise, though. Al was interested in other people–and that is, after all, the fount of friendship. He was modest; he was patient; he was giving; he was witty; he was thoughtful; he was intelligent–all in all, he CARED about people! Why wouldn’t such a fellow have a huge number of friends? According to the old adage, the best way to have friends is to be a friend. Al certainly passed that test with flying colours!

For a time, several years ago, my marriage was seriously on the rocks. It happened during the editing process of one of my stories, and I shared it with Al.  Al was so concerned. He sent me e-mail after e-mail to bolster my spirits. He did not offer advice, exactly, but simply a show of deep concern. It was what I needed–not how to fix things but simply a demonstration of sympathy. When I did not write back for an unseemly amount of time, he wrote back in almost fearful terms, afraid I might, in light of the despair I had expressed to him, have harmed myself, as the saying does. When I got that e-mail I looked inward and realized that the breakup of my marriage might well have had that effect! I still recall the relief that Al so palpably expressed in the e-mail response to my resumption of contact

As it happened, things are much, much better now between my wife and me. Essentially, I concentrated on romancing and wooing her all over again. It’s working. .I knew what I had and I knew what I wanted to keep. Al was privy to these developments and cheered me on.  What matrimonial bliss I now enjoy–and the real promise of more–has Al’s fingerprints on it.

I’m at a loss in terms of my writing to know how to go on. I have not written anything in our peculiar genre for some time. I had thought of contacting Al recently to crank up the process once again.  Now, I don’t know. Working with Al as editor, advisor and friend was so integral a part of the creative process that I simply have no present taste for going it alone. Who knows? It may be that my body of work in this genre may stand as it now exists as the result of a fortuitous but temporary collaboration that is not to be repeated.

Al, you’ll never know how much you are missed!  I hope, though, that before you died, you realized just how much you were appreciated. And loved. You were a remarkable person who lived a life that was amazingly full and rewarding. It’s hard to imagine the BE world without you. Hell, It’s hard to image the world–period!–without you.  Goodbye, Al! And thanks for everything!

Richard O. Steele

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DruulEmpire

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #121 on: July 03, 2006, 09:47:53 AM »
I tend to pass on the "sticky" threads -- last time I contributed, I think it was to one with the magical name "Zasha" -- but when I noticed that Mr. Steele had posted I had to peek in, and I am stunned to try to catch up with the legacy of this fellow known to me only vaguely as Doggo.

I tend to do this, to miss out on cool people.  I took it for granted that my cousin out on the West Coast would live forever, then a drugged driver mowed him down.  Seeing his book collection, I realized he and I could have talked more.  Likewise, anyone who works so extensively with ROS, even if only for that alone, deserves respect.

I read this at an odd time, because now I get to wondering  how high the stakes can be raised around here, if something could be generated on the order of an Eros Comix graphic novel or one of Richard Corben's own works.  Something like that will be much harder without the likes of Al, but it will not be impossible either.  After all, he showed us what can be done.

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PeterBE

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #122 on: July 08, 2006, 12:00:04 PM »
Very sorry to hear of Some Sort of Dog's passing.  He and I met when this new Internet thing first started.  I hadn't corresponded with him recently.  Now, of course, I regret that.  

Al was a great force in our community.  I will miss him and his superlative work.

Jo, from my perspective, your Dad was great.  I am sorry for your loss.

Peter BE

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spid

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #123 on: July 08, 2006, 06:42:37 PM »
Al spent so many hours reading the works of Al from the website to the stories I've lost count.  He will be missed.

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Blax12

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #124 on: July 11, 2006, 09:05:08 AM »
  I pay my respect.

Blax12
 

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Adrian_Burns

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #125 on: July 11, 2006, 06:35:52 PM »
I don't know how to do this, but I feel it has to be done, so please bear with me.  The origins of my connection with Al were similar to ROS, but they started a little bit earlier.  I refused to get a computer; felt I didn't need one, I had WebTV for the 'Net, a standalone word processor and a CD player for music.  But then I encountered the prolificness of Al.
Via my WebTV, I stumbled on an early incarnation of the BEA...the popup days (remember those?) and discovered a font of BE stories.  For a guy like me who often valued the stories of BE and large breasts over "real world" pictorials this was akin to Heaven on Earth.  I read classics like "Dr. Hooters" and "Sadira", of course, but then there was one series of stories(a rarity in a genre known for far too many uncompleted stories) that stood out from the rest.  It was St. Cat's.
I read the beginnings of this group of English schoolgirls with ridiculous sounding names, chemical concotions that never seemed to do what they were suppose to do and Al's pure brilliance and unashamed English take on the genre and wanted more.  I was a Feen for this stuff!  But my WebTV wasn't.  Al's stories were too long.  I would get to the good part (okay, the gooder part)only to encounter a "Too Long To Continue" (paraphrasing) message.  I had to read these stories as the author intended it, so I bought a computer.  
Did you get that?  I LOVED this man's work so much that I took a sizable chunk of change (for me anyway)just so I could see, to paraphrase Paul Harvey, "The rest of his stories".  And, to me, it was worth the expense.
So, I read Al's works and those of other early BE writers, clicked on some banners and got inspired. Actually, it was more a spirit of indebtedness that started my BE writing. Reading all these GREAT stories, I felt like I owed these writers something.  Money would've been nice, of course, but I did just buy that computer!  
And giving feedback?  Well, when was the last time you thanked your favorite BE artist/author? Ditto.
So, I tried my hand at the genre.  I blended Michael Jackson(pre-[censored] molester trials), the Midas touch, BE, of course and wrote a little ditty I called "The Gloved One". It got a few favorable e-mail responses which Al later told me was rare.  But, more importantly to me, it also got a good review from R&D.  I mean, Al was giving guys 1/2 exclamation points, so you better believed I had my Sally Fields at the Oscars moment.  "He liked me, he really liked me".
I was stoked.  So stoked that I apparently went a tad bit insane and decided to write a BE horror story.  Uh, who here likes blood and guts with their BE?  Didn't think so.
But I was insane remember.  I had worked hard on "Carrie-The BE Version", even harder that I did on "The Gloved One" and just knew that I would get an even higher rating from Al.  I didn't and had to find out why; thus I wrote to Al and pretty much demanded that he justify not seeing the masterwork that I had bequeathed on the BE scene.
That started my e-mail relationship with Al.
Quick note: R2D2, another legend in our little community who died before his time, wrote to me respectfully about the violence of "Carrie" and his displeasure with it.  I wrote back, of course, and encountered another beautiful soul that I otherwise wouldn't have...so who knows, maybe a little blood and guts mixed with BE isn't so bad.  In moderation, of course!  
My e-mail relationship with Al was unique.  I bounced ideas off him (being more of an idea man than writer).  "Keeping Up With The Joneses", for example, one of his Axo stories was based off an idea of mine(just read the first page).  My story, "Aunt's Advice" inspired Axo's "Fred Experiment".  His "Emma and Dee-Dee From Upstairs" inspired my story, "The Magic Touch".  His Christmas editions of R&D compelled a couple of seasonal tales from me. And his prolificness, God that man was prolific, inspired my story "A Little Motivation". But that was the public side of our relationship if you will. Behind the scenes, I did something that I called "commenting".  Al would send me installments of his works in progress and I would basically comment on what I liked, disliked, wanted more of, etc.  It was heaven. Getting Al's work before anyone else and knowing that I was playing a hand in shaping it.  I've done similar things on occasions with ROS, Joe Average and Hunter S. Creek, but never to the degree with Al's work.
But he was so DAMNED prolific.  As much as I loved his work, I just couldn't keep up with the commenting.  I would start off exchanging one e-mail with Al.  Then he would write another section of the story, which would create another e-mail.  And eventually, I would be bouncing back about five or six e-mails with Al.  And these weren't short e-mails.  All the meticulous stuff that ROS got from Al, I tried to include in my commenting.  No, off the cuff monosyllabic responses from me.  I wrote detailed, lengthy responses but with none of Al's speed in thought and writing.  Sometimes a single e-mail might take an hour of my time and I had six of them to respond to.  I remember being a security guard at an all boy's school with a computer, taking Al's e-mails to work just so I would have time to respond to his prolificness.  And that was the problem, commenting was turning into a job.  But I so wanted to read Al's work, but I couldn't handle the commenting.  I was torn.  I sucked it up for awhile.  You want to play, Adrian (read the stories), then you have to pay (in time, thought and energy by commenting).  But the time demand was just too much.  So, I did a ploy that I repeated several times over our relationship.  I told Al that due to personal reasons that I had to drop off the 'Net.  I hated lying to the man.  He was my friend and mentor, but I didn't know what else to do.  How could I tell him that one of the things I liked the most about him--his prolific writing--was taking up too much of my time and energy?  I tried everything I could to slow him down but writing came so easy for him that no matter how I approached the commenting I eventually got overwhelmed.
I noticed without my commenting that Al didn't publish as many stories as he used to.  Barrowclough and his sister (or vice-versa) went on the back burner.  Axo's output slowed and soon it was all down to those last Cat's stories.  The whole BE writing scene seemed to slow without Al's massive contributions.  I blamed myself, but c'mon, my commenting wasn't that important.  Was it?
Eventually, I returned to the 'Net (even though I never left).  I avoided asking Al about any new stories (partly out of shame from lying to him but also because I didn't want to start the snowball of commenting rolling).
AND THIS WAS ALL I HAD BACKUPPED.
I had posted more words from my heart and they got deleted.  I can't remember what all I wrote and trying to recapture what I was feeling...it just makes me furious. Al KNOWS and for me that's enough.
I'm sorry.
Adrian Burns

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TheZookie007

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #126 on: July 16, 2006, 06:49:22 AM »
The cyberwake continues...

Adrian Burns, Richard O Steele: thank you for contributions to this thread and to the world of BE fiction.

And a special word of appreciation to Jo, the daughter of our friend Al. I'm sure that learning about this sort of second, secret life that your dad had was a bit of a shock...I guess it could be worse: he could have been a bigamist or something. I am glad though that you were able to learn about his large online circle of admirers, correspondents, acquaintances, colleagues, and friends, all of whom were united in the pursuit of what might strike others as a rather odd hobby. And yet, through his writing, through his mentoring of other writers, through his video production, he touched the lives of people the world over. He was well-liked, and he will be missed. I hope that maybe one day, as odd as it may feel, you will get the chance to read one or two of his stories, and you will see your dad in a decidedly different light. But I know too well how the mourning process goes, so if you ever get around to it, you will do it when you are ready and not a day sooner. Stay well, and again, my deepest condolences to you, your brother, your partner, and your  [censored].
"When your city is French in origin, and your Mayor and Governor are Democrats, and those most affected by this natural disaster are Black, don't expect much help from Bush." -- Left of Y'all (and the link works now too! )

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Fret Pearson

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #127 on: July 19, 2006, 11:32:24 AM »
I've been away, and have just returned to read this thread.  I can't believe the man is gone.

I infrequently corresponded with Al on and off over the course of nearly 10 years, I suppose.  He was probably the wittiest writer I've ever read.  He was also the filthiest-minded, but for all his perversion he was incredibly friendly.  No matter what he wrote - story (and goddam could he write a story), review, or email, the twinkle in his eye was always somewhere therein.  I loved that twinkle.

Fret

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jayjay88

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #128 on: July 20, 2006, 10:46:39 PM »
Haven't been around much recently and this thread only just caught my attention.  Although I didn't know Al [and 'Doggo' completely escaped my
attention], it is moving reading all the above messages.

What greater thing can be said about someone than 'He was my friend' and 'He touched my life'...Al seems to have succeeded in abundance.  Being more of a visual person, the writing and storey side of the BEA has meant far less to  me, although I've always followed R & D and the reviews of 'Just Me Mike'.  

Isn't it amazing and crazy that this internet thing, still in its infancy, has the capacity of bringing people together in a meaningful way.  Demonstrating that 'time and place', backgrounds and origins, have little true meaning.  What counts is  the exchange of time and energy...and one's heart and mind.

Al's memory will live as long  as the BEA is alive...
jayjay......
Once a bOOb man, always a BooB man...!

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Arow

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #129 on: July 24, 2006, 12:28:46 AM »
I am saddened to hear the bad news that AL has passed away. I knew him another forum and we became good friends on line. He was a good and great guy. I do miss and continue to miss him in many years to come. May God the Almighty gives Al rest in peace.

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AgentDee

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #130 on: July 24, 2006, 08:55:56 AM »
Wait, he was also sam turiel the writer of Sadira aka In Sequence? Thats my all time fave BE story, that along with Blind Date by Steve Palmer (why else would I have a avatar of the main character 'Trish' over there on the left .)  I didn't know he was also Sam T dang, now I will REALLY miss him .
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Juliekat

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #131 on: July 24, 2006, 09:19:49 AM »
Dee: I believe you are mistaken. To the best of my knowledge, Sam T and Al are two entirely different people.
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AgentDee

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #132 on: July 24, 2006, 09:29:19 AM »
Quote:

Dee: I believe you are mistaken. To the best of my knowledge, Sam T and Al are two entirely different people.




Quote:

I read classics like "Dr. Hooters" and "Sadira", of course, but then there was one series of stories(a rarity in a genre known for far too many uncompleted stories) that stood out from the rest. It was St. Cat's.



from adrianburns post, I hope they are different people
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MunchWolf

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV
« Reply #133 on: July 24, 2006, 04:47:06 PM »

Quote:

I read classics like "Dr. Hooters" and "Sadira", of course, but then there was one series of stories(a rarity in a genre known for far too many uncompleted stories) that stood out from the rest. It was St. Cat's.



from adrianburns post, I hope they are different people




I think you are misreading Andrian's post.  He is mentioning liking classics, and lists two sagas, neither written by Al.  He then lists a saga that he especially liked that WAS written by Al.

I don't know what ever became of SamT.  I used to chat with hir (along with Julie) at the old Loft.  It has been many years, since I've spoken with hir or seen anything by hir.  Al was not hir.

-Munch "getting nostalgic .. sigh" Wolf

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AlpsLover

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Re: Al-The-Editor - R & D - AoV - Passed away 6/16/06 :(
« Reply #134 on: July 24, 2006, 05:25:46 PM »
I'm SORRY for the delay  here but....
MAY AL rest in Peace!
I did speak with him on chat sometimes and... We don't need words, cause I don't want to appear patethic.
I just WANT that he is happy where he is now!

VERY Schocking news