Lori Alden Holuta is an author, editor, book reviewer, foodie, forager, gardener, and avant-garde crocheter who can’t imagine life without the internet, even though she was born… er, well, a few years before it was invented, more or less.

She’s been an enthusiastic participant in the digital world since 1986, starting with local bulletin boards, before succumbing to the glitzy allure of Prodigy, where she met friends who are still a part of her life today, including the guy she married. After Prodigy came CompuServe, where she earned her Free Flag as a moderator in the Science Fiction Television forums (or ‘fora’ as she prefers, but has been told it’s pretentious, even though it IS the plural of ‘forum’. Sigh.) She also enjoyed Usenet, especially the rec.arts boards for MST3K and Babylon 5. Many friendships formed in Usenet are still treasured and enjoyed today.

Back in the days before Google and other search engines existed, everyone knew there was a ton of information on the “World Wide Web”, but how were people supposed to actually find it all?¬†Portal sites were the answer. Intrepid, patient, slightly bonkers people created websites filled with curated links to other websites. We acted as the original search engines.

Lori taught herself HTML, and hand-coded her web pages (in Notepad! It’s what we had!) as one of the original Channel Guides at BellaOnline.com. These were the days when the dot com bubble was getting bigger and bigger. Lori’s physical mailbox was constantly stuffed with boxes of swag and advance screener VCR tapes of movies and TV shows. She enjoyed an all-expense-paid junket to Hollywood for a week, where she mingled with the almost-rich and nearly-famous (not even kidding.) Next came WebSeed.com, and if you remember that venture, she’s impressed. Her final gig as an internet guide was as About.com’s Guide to Lansing (Her motto: Living in Lansing So You Don’t Have To.)

Then the dot com bubble burst, and working for other people’s websites became unprofitable and to be honest, the whole scene had turned rather mean and cut-throat. Undaunted, she gathered up the piles of content she’d created for About and WebSeed and built her own websites: MidMichigander.com, a portal site for the Greater Lansing area, which did moderately well, and CocoaJava.com, a popular portal for coffee and chocolate resources, with dozens of categories and hundreds of links. For a time, she made a pretty penny selling advertising space on her sites. Lori ran CocoaJava for almost two decades, until the search engines created better ways to browse the internet. The original portal sites soon fell by the wayside.

Nowadays, she’s happy writing book reviews and occasional personal rambles here at A License to Quill. She can also be found over at The Brassbright Chronicle, the home of her books and authorly pursuits.

Lori has also been a digital resident of Second Life since early 2007, where she barista-d at various handcrafted coffee houses, acted as deputy editor for two in-world magazines, organizes writer’s groups and workshops, oversees a monthly Salon, and works on fundraisers for Relay for Life. Her avatar’s name is Ceejay Writer. That should tell you something¬†about this website’s URL, eh?

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