Last night, there was a meeting of the novel critique group at Mary Aker’s house. I am loving this process. The people, the camaraderie, and the feedback are all impeccable. I also love seeing how their storylines and characters develop. Their plot twists and turns are fun to read and discuss. Plus, having people to commiserate with about the process isn’t too shabby, either. I feel so honored and privileged to be included, so yeah, I’m in a good mood. Mostly….
I’d come across a short story collection competition two hours before I left, and while my first attempt is intact, I’ve done revisions on several of the stories, so I reassembled the 24 pieces. I had ¾ of it compiled by the time I left the house. I got home around 10:20, finished adding the other stories and got it submitted well before the midnight deadline. With the steep entry fee, I let circumstance dictate if I entered at all.
Checking Facebook, I found Jeff Rose wanted to talk again, but I wasn’t there. The night before, I was quite animated and juggling several conversations. It was weirdly nice, to find I was wanted/missed on Facebook, even though it was in front of God and everybody.
I tried reading over the notes from Gina and Mary, but I was so whipped! Then, the second I put head to pillow, my story came to life. I heard so many conversations, saw so many scenes. My poor MC! I thought I just put her through hell. That’s NOTHING compared to what she’ll soon be going through. Poor thing. And while it was fantastic, to find out so many details about my story, at that time of night? Thank you muse. While jotting down a few key words, I saw it was 3:05 a.m. Hence the relative lateness of this post. You can thank the muse for that. I already thanked her.
Why yes, I do love the problems I have. Problems such as these:
I want this.
This is what I’ve got.
I’m grateful the snow is melting off the roof of the garden shed, but I still can’t get inside.
Oh, I did want to apologize for last time–using mostly pictures–but it was my first official reading! I wish I’d saved them for this week’s blog entry, but choices and consequences, eh? Right, so Gina said her husband tapped his maples over the weekend and that has got to mean spring. It just DOES at this point because it’s been so freaking cold and snowy for so long. I need me some robins and crocuses, and another acceptance or two wouldn’t hurt my feelings, either. Did I forget to mention this? I had TWO poems accepted for the inaugural issue of Wicked Banshee. I am so freaking thrilled to be included in what looks to be a fantastic venue. Thank you SaraEve!
And thank you for checking in!
(Remember, these are just my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged acceptances, camaraderie, contests, critique, crocuses, Facebook, Garden Shed, inaugural issue, Jeff Rose, main characters, maples, Mary Akers, muse, novels, poems, Problems, process, reading, robins, SaraEve, short story collections, Snow, Spring, Wicked Banshee Press | Leave a Comment »
T. L. Sherwood
Gunilla Theander Kester
Mrs. Morse reading George Morse’s Story
Susan Lynn Solomon
Gary Earl Ross
George Morse, me, and his wife
By the fireplace with Joanie Long
Nancy Leone and Gary Earl Ross
This is the book that was launched at the West Falls-Colden Library on 15 February 2014
Queen City Flash
Many thanks to all that attended.
Photos by Husband
(These are some images of my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Gary Earl Ross, George Morse, Gunilla Theander Kester, Joanie Long, Library, Mike Rera, Nancy Leone, Queen City Flash, Susan Lynn Solomon, T. L. Sherwood, Trudy Cusella, West Falls-Colden | Leave a Comment »
This past Monday, I attended the novel critique group meeting at Gina’s. I’ve never worked this way, handing over twenty–now up to 25 pages–at a time. As I’m revising “The Life and…” I’m realizing I really have to slow down the pace. The recent installment included an added scene I thought I’d get slammed on, but they seemed to enjoy it–Mary said it felt like I’d nailed the voice. I’m glad of this, as I felt I had lost it and that’s why I had to take it back a few pages so events I’d glided through in the rough draft could be strengthened. I think the end result will be tighter, but I’m only a quarter of the way there. I know, I said I’d send out agent queries for Ellie’s Elephants, and I did get two out after the ambiguous “this doesn’t sound like a form rejection, but I don’t know how to respond either” response from Sobel. Meeting new people is hard enough. Needing to introduce myself and say, “Please, like what I write, too”…that makes me anxious.
So, I had enough “when I” and put brush to canvas. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever made, and I’m nowhere close to finishing it, put it’s a start. It felt good to mix colors and paint. The longer I was painting, the more that came back to me–including the fact that you can’t finish a painting in one sitting. Well, the one guy could, but I’m not him nor do I have my own show on PBS.
Speaking of that realm…WBFO, my local NPR station is doing an extra pledge week. OMG, enough. Here’s the thing, I love their work, the coverage, etc. However, they are on there telling me if I don’t pledge, my favorite shows will disappear. How many years and how much money have proved that to be a lie? Everything was great until Mark Scott retired. The resulting crapola version of a program lineup disgusts me. Why this station pays for programs that are great but plays them when no one listens and plays boring shows when people are tuned in is just stupid. There was a time when pledge week ended early. The reason for that was simple. They had there shit together; now it’s not worth it. If you also tell me how I have to pay to keep the programs I want to stay on the air, I will recite the ones they dropped when I sent them a few bucks and when I say I, I mean Husband. Whoever is in charge of programming is clueless, or trying his best to kill off this station and the rapid decline in listenablity has me thinking it’s the latter. WBFO, please, hear this and fix it. The person in charge of programming needs to go.
Otherwise, I’m excitedly looking forward to the 15th when I get to do my first official reading. It will be at the West Falls-Colden Library where I volunteer, so I’ll have the home field advantage. I find it a bit strange that they have a signup sheet for it. I mean, that makes sense if it’s a card making class, but a reading? Gary Earl Ross will be there as well as Susan Solomon, George Morse, and Lou Rera. We will be reading from Queen City Flash at 1:00-3:00 on Saturday 15th if you’re up for it. Jeff Schober did a reading there on the 1st while I was working. It was good to see him again. Boneshaker is a follow up to Broken and Profane and he’s working on two more in the series.
Anyway, I’ve had a few “close calls” on acceptances. I was told one piece made it to the final round of cuts. They only take four stories per issue, so I guess I made their top five or top eight, which is nice, but I then sent that piece to another venue where it didn’t make it past the first cut. *Sigh.* I also got INK!!!! from The Sun. They held it for 8 months, so I’m considering that something. I sent that story to two places yesterday. I don’t know what it is. It’s gotten so many “almosts” but that just makes it more frustrating that it hasn’t found a home yet. I know, I’ve heard the stories yet those don’t make the personal rejections any less disappointing.
So, enough of this ranting about the problems I have because I love them all, including the fact that there’s more snow and I can’t wait to go for a walk in the woods, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ah well…
(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged agents, Gary Earl Ross, George Morse, higher tier rejection, Jeff Schober, Lou Rera, Mark Scott, Novel, novel critique, NPR, painting, PBS, pledge week, Queen City Flash, rejections, Snow, Susan Solomon, The Sun, voice, walk, WBFO, West Falls-Colden Library, woods, writing | Leave a Comment »
I’m looking forward to my first official reading. I know, it’s a month away, but I’m excited. It’s a good time in my life for flashes. I’ll be reading “Wildflower Wishes” at the West Falls-Colden library; I was just awarded second prize in the Mary Kennedy Eastham Flash Fiction Competition, part of the Soul Making Keats Literary Competition, an outreach of the National League of American PEN Women, and “I’m Calling Him Skippy” will be up at Matter Press any day now.
If good things come in threes, let’s hope the next good news is about my books because I’ve been having a tough time sitting down to work on my latest. I wrote the first draft for Camp NaNo last spring and let it sit. Now that I’m in the novel critique group, I’ve been going through it twenty pages at a time and that’s been fine, but the last two days, I haven’t made any progress. It’s frustrating. I have until the twentieth, but I’d been hoping I’d be done by now so that I could work on other things.
Deadlines are the way I work best, though. In the past few weeks, I submitted “Campus Crimes” to the Barbara Kingsolver PEN Bellwether Prize, an application for the Rona Jaffe Scholarship at Breadloaf, “File It Under Whatnots” to Disquiet’s International Play Competition, and NYFA packets for both the Nonfiction and Poetry categories. Yeah, I’ve been a little bit busy with those things, and on top of that, I’m taking baby steps toward finding an agent.
Getting used to the dog being gone is taking some time. I wrote Grandma about Tye’s last few days. It was hard, but I know she’d want to know that Tye didn’t suffer. She loved that dog so much–I think she would have been happy just to have Tye visit her; Husband and I were just extra. Regardless, I’ve walked in the house expecting Tye to be in front of the fire and she’s not. She’s been in a few dreams which is sort of comforting. I don’t know. She was a good girl.
Otherwise, I guess that’s what’s going on around here. And as always, these are my creek side reflections. Your experiences may vary.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged anthology, Barbara Kingsolver, Breadloaf, Camp NaNo, Campus Crimes, Disquiet, File It Under Whatnots, Gary Earl Ross, I'm Calling Him Skippy, Keats Soul Making, launch, Mary Kennedy Eastham Flash Fiction Competition, Matter Press, National League of American PEN Women contest, NYFA, PEN Bellwether Prize, Queen City Flash, Rona Jaffe Scholarship, West Falls-Colden Library | Leave a Comment »
And what to my grateful eyes did I find in my inbox on New Year’s Day? A note from a publisher who is planning another anthology and offered the previous authors a crack at the new one. That is definitely a much better start to a year than a rejection. By that token, I’ve held off on sending rejections (sorry if you get one!) to several submitters. I really do try to treat submitters to r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal the way I’d like to be treated and I know I didn’t want to get a rejection on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
So, I’m concussed. How are you? Seriously, it was such a stupid thing. I took mail out and on the way back, I fell on the icy driveway and smacked my head. And do you know what you can do to help a concussion? Nothing but watch for signs. Modern medicine is come so far…Yes, I’m grateful that it wasn’t worse, like a broken leg or arm or wrist.
I don’t make resolutions since the year many, many years ago to not make resolutions. That one I knew I could keep, and I have. Even when I quit smoking, I quit on 1/7, not the first. However, I’ve been toying with the idea of going a year without drinking. Since New Year’s Eve is a big drinking night, and I shouldn’t be drinking with a brain injury anyway, I decided that I’d start on the first so I’d remember when I began. There are a few caveats. I’m allowed to drink on my birthday, if I sell a book, Husband’s birthday, Thanksgiving and one freebie, but only one. So, this will be my year of not drinking.
Otherwise, nothing has changed much. I’m working on new pieces and enjoying going through the latest book twenty pages at a time with Mary Akers and Gina. I’m so glad to have been asked to joining that novel critiquing group! After the 14th, I’ll be touching up the query letter, getting ready to send Ellie’s Elephant’s to another group of agents I’ve researched. I’m preparing applications for Breadloaf and NYFA. Same old, same old, but good.
(*These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences may vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged agents, anthology, birthdays, books, Breadloaf, Ellie's Elephants, modern medicine, new year, NYFA, queries, r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal, rejections, Simone Press, submissions | Leave a Comment »
Last month’s post should serve as a warning to all–if you’re in my view or thoughts while I’m writing my blog post, you will end up being written about. Husband can once again attest to that. Some writers threaten that you’ll be put in a book or a story, but I don’t write that way. How I write is crazy. I made my word count for National Novel Writing Month, but I don’t have a novel. I have a rough draft that ended up sputtering. I got so far in, went so deep and what happened needed to happen, but I wasn’t ready to write about it so I backed off until I could face those things in a later version of that tale.
And if that makes sense…you might be a novelist.
This has been awesome. I know more about of the characters now. I found out a few things that surprised me, so hopefully (knock on wood) after revisions and rewrites, if you ever read that story, you’ll be as surprised as I was to find out who Henri turned out to be–and trust me–it is surprising.
Otherwise, I’m still hanging on to hope. *Sigh* The agent hasn’t responded after I sent the requested material. He asks for an exclusive month. The day after Christmas, I should have an answer.
Either way, I’ll carry on with what I do. Read, write, revise, repeat. I’ve also been nudged into a not quite new thing: Review
So, if you’re into that sort of thing, I recently posted a review of a book on–get this–the Book Review page of this blog.
I can’t say I’m comfortable with this. “Don’t judge, lest you be judged” was rammed into my head growing up. *Sigh* Regardless, my thoughts and comments on other people’s work are mine–honest, true and as there is enough negativity in the world, I doubt you’ll see me rating a book low. That a person can get a book published at all ought to be celebrated. I’ll take my Grandfather’s stance on my Grandmother’s cooking. When she made something he didn’t like, he’d say, “Well, you don’t have to make that again.” My—most likely private—thought will be, “Well, I don’t have to read that again.”
There’s laundry to do and a grocery list to make.You know, the “normal” things that slip to last place during NaNo. Outside, most of the snow is gone. This is the view of the creek from my kitchen window this morning.
*(These are just my creekside reflections. Your experience and reading taste may vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged agent, blog posts, Book Review, characters surprises, Christmas, grocery list, Husband, laundry, NaNo, National Novel Writing Month, novels, read, revise, waiting, write | Leave a Comment »