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If you’re looking for good news, I have quite a bit this go around. On April 8th, I received word that “The Girl Who Loved God” was accepted at Ruthless Peoples Magazine. It was posted on the 10th and I am thrilled! Dominic Hamer was the greatest editor to work with. Please do check this story out if you haven’t already. It’s one of my favorites.

On the 12th, I received word that the first 15 pages of my latest novel won third place in the Houston Writers’ Guild’s Genre Contest. I was up until after 3:00 a.m. last night working on it so I do hope to get that polished, corrected, and submitted before this is old news. So far, XO man does not appear in it, which I’m grateful for, though I couldn’t help myself and put in an inside joke: The water in the vase was gone, leaving the rose petals so dry they were crunchy. Yes, that would take far too long to explain.

I also found out that two of my poems that were accepted for the first issue of Wicked Banshee Press went live. You have to scroll about 4/5 of the way down to read them. (Sorry!) The titles are “My First Big Break” and “Some Mothers.” Many thanks to SaraEve, Jennifer E. Hudgens, and Michelle Nimmeo

Otherwise, the crocuses are in bloom, the daffodils are preparing for their opening and I’ve seen tulip leaves. I really do like spring.

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Well, now I’m off to read Mary’s new opening pages, then work on my own.

Thank you for stopping by!

 

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

I’m sure it’s a matter of paying attention more than anything, but when I have a certain book on my bedside table and flip through it before I go to sleep, the oddest coincidences occur. It’s called “There are No Accidents.” I’m still not convinced.

Anyway, I’m older. Yeah me for not dying in the last 364 days.

The weather was finally decent and I took a walk to the creek. Surprise! The idiot neighbor placed a branch in the middle of the path. *Sigh* If you happen to know this moron, could you please point out to him that it’s easier for me to walk over there and move his phallic symbol twice a day than it is for him to go up and down the hill? I’m really sorry his brain, penis, and prestige at work are all so tiny, but really, enough. I mean if there was a point to it, okay, but there’s not. All it does it irritate me and he needn’t bother. I have relatives for that. (I’m kidding. Most of them are decent human beings. One or two of them though, I’d like to run DNA tests on before condemning a whole alien species based on the behavior of just a few imbeciles.)

Otherwise, I may be going to the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair with Mary Jo on Saturday. Details are being worked out. I hope she’s feeling well enough to do her reading.

I’m still at work on “The Life &.”  My MC was going to start a fight and I didn’t want to her to, so I punished her by not writing very much for a few days. It’s strange–this writing gig. I love FB and Twitter, Zoetrope and the other sites I’ve been on in the past. If I had these characters in my head and thought I was the only one who knew them to be as real as real people, I’d commit myself.

I have queries sent to three agents. I know, I should get more out, but I’m still dealing with an April Fool’s joke or a missed rejection. I sent two stories to a magazine in January. Only one has been rejected so far. *Sigh* I’d love to think I have a shot, but it’s such a very long shot…

The three types of peppers I planted have come up. I expect to see the tomatoes any day. Spring is a lovely time of year.

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Anyway, if you wished me well on Facebook, I do appreciate the gesture. Sorry I’m not all happy happy joy joy about surviving this year. I took some big hits emotionally. I’m sure you’re sick of my remembrances of the dead and/or dying so I won’t do a recap. Really, that’s what I’m thinking about today. It doesn’t get any better than this does it? First world white girl problems. Yeah!

Thank you for stopping by and reading!

(*These are just my creek side reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

I occasionally fear I can make things happen by writing about them. At one of the novel critique meetings, Mary shared a similar thought. She’d written a story about someone needing to move and they unpacked the boxes before the people helping with the move could return to take away the next batch of boxes. It was eerie for her when a relative of hers did that in real life.

Recently, I thought it would be okay to write about a main character losing her mother since mine was already gone. I now think I’ll only write about attractive, wealthy, and attentive men who love me and want to console me about my grandmother and swear that my writing had nothing to do with it.

I’m not saying my grandmother was like a mother to me; she was more like a great friend who believed in me, wanted me to be my best, and always had my back. When I was little, she had me walk with dictionaries balanced on my head so I’d have poise and good posture. I brushed my teeth because she said they were important and you didn’t want to lose them. The biggest thing I learned was that life goes on and she taught that by example.

She didn’t know how to drive. When my grandfather died, she took driver ed and she got her license when she was 54–don’t hold me to that, she might have been a bit younger–but not by much. That amazes me, her being that old and deciding that was what needed to be done, then doing it. After that, she went out and got jobs, first at a cookie factory, then at Champion. She worked there for years and retired not because it was her choice, but because it was a company policy.

If she was ever in pain, I don’t think I ever saw it–except for the very end, and I wonder if that in part was just letting out all the hurt that must have been inside. I was not a perfect grandchild. She never said anything, but I know I disappointed her, and I am sorry about that. Constant friends, her brother, her parents, her youngest daughter, my dog that she adored all passed away while she remained–strong, standing, putting another load of laundry on the line, making another grocery list, calling Wes to fix the water pipe that burst and was spraying on the electric panel. I remember seeing her the day after that happened. Something that would have had me cowering in fear of floods and fire for weeks, she shrugged off and didn’t think was worth mentioning. The crisis was over; she’d moved on.

I don’t think of her as gone, someone that resilient has the power to remain in those she touched. I may not be able to call her and tell her I just got published in a magazine or show her that some check was for some words that I wrote. I may not be able to hear her when an episode of I Love Lucy comes on and some silliness makes her laugh. I may not knock on the backroom door and open it to the smell of her rolls, or cookies or roast beef ever again. There won’t be any more hugs or kisses from her, but I’m all right with that. I’m blessed to have had as many as I did when she was alive.

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I brought her flowers when I visited because even though she said I didn’t have to do that, I’d get a note or phone call saying that they were so pretty and a thank you. So, let me say thank you for reading this, whenever you happen across it, whether you knew my grandmother or not. I hope you have an amazing person like her in your life, and if you don’t maybe that’s because you’re the amazing one and you just aren’t aware of how other people perceive you. The world is a strange and wonderful place; spring is here; fantastic, good things happen every day and now that I’ve written that, maybe it will be true. I’ll let you know how I make out with my new rich, handsome boyfriends.

(These are just my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

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:

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I want this.

3.6.2014This 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.)

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Me!

T. L. Sherwood

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Gunilla Theander Kester

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Mrs. Morse reading George Morse’s Story

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Susan Lynn Solomon

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Trudy Cusella

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Mike Rera

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Gary Earl Ross

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George Morse, me, and his wife

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By the fireplace with Joanie Long

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Nancy Leone and Gary Earl Ross

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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.)

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.

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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…

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

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.

Tye

Otherwise, I guess that’s what’s going on around here. And as always, these are my creek side reflections. Your experiences may vary.

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