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Good morning! The Buddy Guy concert is coming up quickly and Husband is looking forward to taking a vacation and traveling to see a Blues great while stopping by to visit great friends on the way there and back. I’m worrying over the details and making lists so we don’t forget the charger for cell phone.

I’m also looking forward time spent Internet free. I’ll have my cell, but I’m leaving all of my passwords at home. I’m the neurotic who changes them constantly to bizzaro combinations, so no, I don’t have them memorized and really will not be able to check my email, Facebook, Twitter or Ello for a week. And as I type that, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have my email password at least, but am telling myself no. Whatever happens–good or bad news–can wait. Besides wanting time away from the screens to focus on the people and the experiences of the trip, I want time to think about new characters. National Novel Writing Month is soon here and I’m excited!

If you’re not familiar with Tarl Kudrick’s On the Premises, you should be and I’m not just saying that because I made it to the top 25 in the last contest. He and Bethany Granger are close readers with great taste. I have made it to the Top Ten before–which comes with a free critique of your story. Being close this time, I went ahead and got one. Worth it! Mine was fair and honest, and included a few suggestions on how to improve the piece. Granted, reading criticism the first time through (good or bad) makes me cringe, but writing as long as I have, I know to shrug it off, look at what is being said, and if it’s valid, rewrite with that in mind. I did rewrite it and if something good happens to it, I’ll let you know.

Two good things happened to L&C: I participated in #AdPit on Twitter and got a favorite from someone at a Harlequin Imprint and so much more importantly, Jim and Julie started reading it and their initial impression is favorable. One comment from them was that the MC was compelling. Can I be happy with that and let it go? No! I panicked and started a letter apologizing for the end being a disappointment to them.

I swear to Pete and Peter my next book has got to have a MC who is NOT neurotic…

The Dark Arts Group Show at Van Over Fine Arts is fabulous and if you have a chance, you really should go see it.

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The Colden Arts Festival was chilly and wet, but it was great to see JT and The Law.

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Otherwise, I hope you’re enjoying the sweater weather; I know I am. Thanks for checking in!

 

(*Everything in this blog is based on my creekside reflections. Your reality maybe skewed–or better remembered.)

Doing an Unstuck

I don’t have “spare” time, but I had a chance to use mine differently last week. On Tuesday, I sent the latest (and hopefully last) draft of L&C to my editor. What a process! I hope the kinks are out because I’m close to deleting the whole thing. Except for two–minor ones that we’ve fought over since the first version–my darlings are gone and some gorgeous characters were completely eliminated.

*Sigh*

Also on that Tuesday, Husband left for the island. Without him being home at a certain time allowed me to change what I was doing and when. I used the treadmill a lot more often and got in extra Pilates time. The weather was perfect so I concentrated on the outside realm of my existence–picking up tools, clearing branches, filling in holes.

I also allowed myself cheap adventures outside of my usual rut.

On Wednesday, I met a school chum at a bar for drinks. He had bragged on Facebook about a bonus, so he picked up the tab. It was strange, unusual, but oddly fun.

Thursday was my “fun day.” After I shoveled dirt in the morning, I went to see “A Most Wanted Man,” for two bucks and then checked out the used CD section at Super Savers. Back home, I made a meal I rarely get to have–asparagus with lemon, fettuccini Alfredo and broiled scallops. I also started working on tomato sauce so my kitchen was a culinary mess, but that’s the way it went. Friday, Husband called to say he’d be home on Saturday so I returned the house to what passes as normal.

I remain with this feeling of being a bit unstuck.

I’ve started a new book, but I need to stop, plot it out and then write it. There’s too much to keep track of, which is saying a lot. If L&C ever makes it out of my hard drive, you’ll see what I mean. In that one, I had a clear view of what strings were going through it and in three different ways, I pulled them together. This book, however has me flustered.

Perhaps I just need more time away from the last book. I sent pages from an earlier novel to the critique group to hear if they thought it was something worth reading. The meeting is here on Tuesday. Until then, I’m going to take a break, read, submit, work on perfecting my mercury glass technique and figure out what I’m supposed to have done, and work on the plot–plus go see J.T. and the Law at The Colden Arts Festival!

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*These are my piss-poor, cash-strapped, strangely over-exercised and toned creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.

 

Thanks for checking in!

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This year was the earliest we’ve had a wood fire. I’m still appalled by my weakness, but it was so damp and cold, I really couldn’t help it; I needed the warmth. Since then, the weather has brightened but tomorrow a frost is likely. I swear I want to smack a school mate on Facebook who says “Thanks for the Global Warming, Al Gore” each time things like this happen. Climate change is something I notice; it’s regrettable that the words got confusing throughout the years. Crichton harped on the predictions made by the scientists in the 70’s about global cooling. The weather is weird though.

So is life.

I try to roll with the punches, but sometimes, I do wonder what the hell is going on. Yesterday, I started tossing clothes into the washing machine preparing to clean the tub then the rest of the bathroom before mopping the floors. There was a clump. I had hopes it was bit of mud. I feared it was a clump of animal feces. I went to pick it up and the damned thing jumped.

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The picture is horrid; it was early, I was stressed, the frog was covered in hair and dust and what have you. I gathered the creature, took it to the pond and checking on it later found it had rinsed itself off and was clinging to the wall like frogs do.

I have no idea what it means or why it happened. I still don’t know how it got in to the house.

My life is interesting that way.

Husband is going to the Island soon. The dates for that excursion changed; I’m still kind of stressed about the change, but I’m not going to be upset about it. I just hope there aren’t any YouTube videos about his Juice Box rants this time.

The houseplants are in and thanks to Betty, we got a piece of roofing for the wood shed and i’ts up now. Otherwise, I’m making my way through the latest draft of L&C. I’m on the last “hard scene” that needed reworking, then I want to eliminate a few more characters and send it off to my editor. I will be so happy to be done with this thing.

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I’m etching out the next book–which I have to have 25 pages written for the critique group soon. Way too soon! Plus, I’m trying to get a few things submitted while keeping up with stories coming into r.kv.r.y. and reading a few for Literary Orphans. Alex Pruteanu had his piece, “Bud’s Warehouse,” accepted at LO. I’m pleased Mike Joyce liked it.

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I’m happy you stopped by! I hope to have book reviews put up in the next few weeks.

 

*These are just my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.

For the last week, I’ve been revising L&C in that I’m addressing glitches and questions that have been brought up by my brilliant editor and the awesome women in my critique group. I sent Mary Akers and Gina Miani the last pages on Tuesday. In the notes I got from her last month, Mary wasn’t sure I could wrap it up. Now, I wait to hear her verdict. I’ve heard from Gina and had to pull a news item from 7 years into the character’s future to show her one thing that happened to them so she’d stop swearing at me. :)  I wonder if she caught that the characters are living in Manhattan 4 months away from 9/11. Yes, their lives are not easy.

I need to come up with a better system or be more diligent about my notes for revision. I’ve come to several spots where I know I had worked out a phrase I wanted to use but can’t find it or remember it now. *Sigh* I will remember this for the next book and that will make it go easier. (Stop laughing!) As soon as I post this, I’m back to revising. I printed out two scenes that are passable, but I want to be smoother, so that’s going to be my day–it’s too muggy to work on the ditch so maybe I’ll get some laundry done, too. I also need to pick out an outfit for my first day back at the West Falls-Colden Community Library. I’ve missed that place!

The best part of the past few weeks is my new love.

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This chair. It’s wonderful, my lapboard fits it perfectly and since Husband stole my rocking chair, I’ve been making do with the sofa, but that wasn’t working, so once the new chair arrived, all the furniture was rearranged and things are remarkably better on so many levels. As a bonus, the furniture had to be moved anyway because of winter coming up, so that bit of yearly hassle is already over.

Plus, it was a great spot to take pictures of my recent houseguest wearing tiny hats!

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I’m reading a book called “Convergence” to review from fellow Western New Yorker, Deborah Madar. The writing good, but she goes to dark places and I need to set it down and walk away, so DM, if you’re reading this, please know I like it, but for me–and my personal history–this is not a book I can read in one sitting.

r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal is back open for your submitting pleasure. I’ve read the pieces that have already come in except one which I’ve sent to my kindle to read–as a treat–in the library on Saturday. I like this person’s writing, and I’m hoping this is the “one” for him that I fall in love with and insist gets published–but no pressure on this piece or anything. Through several rejections and emails, I’ve gotten to know him a bit. Strange, the Internet.

Literary Orphans is always open, and if you haven’t read it lately, you should.

Otherwise, a drainage ditch was put in this weekend, well the hard part, anyway. Phase One, from the low spot in the woodshed lawn to the ditch went in the weekend before.

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There’s a bit of mortar work and back filling to do, but otherwise, it is done! Yeah!

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Thanks for checking in!

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experience may vary)

Husband’s birthday was Sunday and we went to see “Boyhood.” Beautiful film. When we were leaving, my jaw felt strange. We went to Red Robin to meet Stepson and his Girlfriend for dinner. Girlfriend told the waitress about the birthday so the staff came over and sang to Husband. He was not happy, but everyone else thought it was funny.

My jaw felt worse and I started a fever—you know, the usual toothache fun. The dental service we have to use—with its claim that it has 24/7 emergency appointments—couldn’t see me until Thursday, or Saturday, so I called my old dentist.

Michael Ehlers, at Western New York Dental, is the absolute best. He got me in the next morning, took an x-ray, gave me a prescription for antibiotics AND didn’t charge me full price or for an emergency visit. How awesome is that? He suspects the same thing I do–that a piece of something bothered the gum line and it got infected, but with the brushing, flossing, and aspirin popping I was doing, the infection was going away on its own. If I hadn’t bothered to make an appointment, it would have been an abscessed tooth and I would have died from blood poisoning—that’s just the way things go.

I’m much better now.

During the waiting room stretch, I read most of Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist.” It’s a fantastic book. I told her on Twitter then took it down because I’m a wuss. I put a short review on Goodreads (must everything you do on there go directly to Facebook? I don’t like that—if you know how to stop that nonsense, let me know.)

Speaking of things I don’t like–I have Microsoft Word and somehow I saved a file, which now comes up instead of a blank page when I open the program. Any other computer in the world would let me clear it and “Save as Template” or some such. Not this one. If you know the secret on how to restore the default, please email me at TLSherwood01@gmail.com It’s starting to tick me off.

I hate asking, as I try to be as self-sufficient as possible, but that’s just a messed up image in my head that isn’t remotely true. I do need people. I guess that’s not the worst thing in the world.

September is coming up with the grand opening of the University Publications. I’m already tired and I haven’t written a cover letter. This summer I wrote a few good new pieces during the lulls of the novel rewriting process; we’ll see how those do. I could write more in this post, but I’m working on line edits and I should get my plan of attack ready for the submission season and toughen my skin for rejections. Well, that’s easier said than done with aspirin thinned blood and antibiotics ricocheting through me, isn’t it? Luckily, it could be much worse and I’m glad it is not.

 

~And there you have my Creekside Reflections. Your observations may vary.

What I’m reading : Avalon by Gina Maini and Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks

Last snack: Pretzels

Currently watching: The Simpsons

Topic of the Latest Fight with Husband: Our bland sex life

Latest Scare: Cat having seizures

Last thing ironed: Several cloth napkins

Quietest recent moment: Sitting on the bench and noticing 4 frogs individually

Fingers crossed for: PANK acceptance for “Sign of the Dolphin”

Best chocolate: Taza

Great human who introduced me to Taza: Rachael Mongerson

 

 

Yes, it has been one of those times in my life–I’ve struggled with this blog; I’m a week late; I hope you’ll get over it.

I’ve been anxious gathering notes, suggestions, and corrections for The L&C of BS before the next revision. It’s a plunge I’ve been worried about, but I’m running out of things to clean, sort, organize and people to write, text and call to get their opinion on how to proceed.

*Sigh*

There is so much more I want to write about and explore, but I’m stymied with circumstance. Robin William’s death by suicide brought up a lot of emotion. I’m suffering angst, sads,  and doubt over so many things that I made a list instead of writing a post.

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A different suicide victim and me (1985)

 

(*These are my Creekside Reflections; yours may be happier.)

 

While r.kv.r.y. is closed to submissions over the summer, I continue to read for Literary Orphans and enjoy the hell out of that. I want to extend a super big lovely congratulations to Nellie Aberdeen–whoever you are. I pressed the awesome Mike Joyce to accept her story “Inoculate .” The best part–which I read in the cover letter after falling in love with her story–was that it will be her first published story. The B. B. King issue is looking to be one of the best issues ever!

A friend is going over “L&C” and while I wait on his suggestions, I’ve been working on short stories. I have a new one sent out; it’s in a form I haven’t tried often but I think it turned out well. I have another story in that form, but I can’t grab its throat and make it work so I’ve set it aside. The last story I wrote, I set in Texas which doesn’t happen often. I finished tweaking it yesterday and now it’s sitting in a folder waiting a week for another look. The story between those two doesn’t have a title yet. I think I might be working on more short stories today since it’s too wet to do much outside.

At least there are flowers.

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And when I can’t get outside to enjoy those, I find it’s hard to be sad about that when there are pink mini carnations in a cobalt blue vase nearby.

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We’ve had enough rain to make mowing impossible. Wind took down a box elder which fell into the yard instead of the ditch. The two dead pines were taken down. My watching Downton Abbey earned me props from Husband; he’d never before considered pulling out the stumps. With the winch and chains, they each came out rather easily–and the chainsaw blade didn’t get trashed, so thank you Lady Edith for your time on the farm.

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Firewood delivery is being arranged; we’re over halfway done with the woodshed extension cleanup and new floor. We have a trip in October forming–we’ll be traveling to Elkhart, Indiana to see Buddy Guy with my fantastic ex sister-in-law and her husband. Stopping to visit friends in Fort Wayne and Cleveland along the way–or on the way home–are options being considered. Just another case of summer in western New York going too fast, but I am enjoying it as best I can–plus I’ll have tomatoes soon. I can’t wait!

 

(*These are my Creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

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