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11.20A

There has been a barrage of information about the weather. That’s all I’ve seen or heard about lately. The newspaper hasn’t arrived in days. When I’ve gone to watch a show or listen to a radio program, I hear about travel bans and record breaking snowfall totals. I’m a bit surprised since I’m from the area and my motto is “It’s Buffalo. It snows. Get over it,” and let’s face it, when my area gets hit, no one cuts me slack since I’m in “ski country,” and apparently that means I must like the snow, which I do, but that is beside the point. There is more to my world than the weather. What happened with the XL Pipeline? Are the Kardashians still exposing themselves inappropriately? Has ISIS taken over the world? I’m asking because I don’t know. I only know about the snow. There’s been no mail either.

I’m in a funky weird state after learning (via email) great news about one story I wrote only to have that information followed by a heart breaking email about a completely different aspect of my so-called writing career.

Are you ready?

My short story,”Between a Vacuum and Empty Space,” was not only selected for inclusion in a Sci-Fi anthology by Divertir Publishing, but it is going to be the first story and serve as the TITLE for the collection!

How does that happen? I don’t know, but it did. I sent a note to Jim Tuttle (Half of JT and the Law–go follow them) to let him know first because he helped me with the details–I am so grateful to him! His response made me smile. After that, I told Husband, members of Write To Be, and then Chyo. So weird and flattering. I still have a happy about it.

Then, of course, there was the ego-deflating bit. An agent who had requested the first 30 pages of L&C decided she didn’t want to see anymore. Eh. What are you going to do?

These new sagas are a nice breather from the truck needing repairs and the “Help! I don’t know what I’m doing in my NaNo story” angst. It’s fine. It’s life. It’s not French wine, but I could hum a few bars.

And that’s another thing! On the journey to Indiana, we bought wine to take as gifts. One being a strawberry wine from a local vineyard, which Susie got. She opened it and shared a glass with me. It was delightful. I mention this because we hit the liquor store before the storm and we bought another bottle, which happened to be on sale, and there is the odd chance it will be around for the upcoming Christmas Relative Party Shuffle.

Anyway, the excursion netted a bunch of canning jars. I was told of this in advance and thought “a few boxes” meant 20 jars–30 max. Yeah, I haven’t been able to fathom the idea of counting individual jars, but they take up four and a quarter shelves in the basement. Ah, but back to the wine aspect. In clearing the shelves, Husband brought up a black bottle with cobwebs all over it. I was talking to Chyo at the time, described the bottle and the label. Turns out, it is her favorite sparkling wine, Freixenet, from Spain. Neither of us can remember if it was a gift from her to me or a gift I bought to give to her and it was just forgotten. Regardless, it was on its side for years so the cork is probably still good and if you want to know, I had taken it as a sign that the agent I’d sent pages to was going to ask for more, but that didn’t happen. C’est la vie.

Back on the shelf it goes. Maybe tomorrow I’ll hear from “the” agent for me. Until then, I’ll be inside, staying warm because snow is best enjoyed inside a house with wood heat.

11.20B

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

I love going places. It relaxes me to go to other realms, walk around, and see how other people live. It thrills me to hear about other people’s way of live, see the sights they’ve grown accustomed to, and buy things from their local stores.

Ctrip

Being a tourist, I love that.

My problem is that I live in those moments fully. That means that I remember it, but not in the way others might.

Husband and I recently went slightly west. This year, we had planned to travel east and attend the huge summer party in Binghamton as a guest of Jefferson Rose, but that party was cancelled so our (and when I say “our” I mean Husband’s) vacation time was up for grabs. A “Hey I was remembering when we were there” email to my ex sister-in-law led to a “Buddy Guy is giving a concert in October, why don’t you come then” response and we had rudimentary travel plans.

Much was discussed, things were ruled out, but what we ended up with was a beautiful reenactment with variations of our first slightly west journey when the cat was a kitten. I think.

Anyway, when we went to Cleveland, we saw Michael Burke again. This time, it was calmer and less hurried. I got a tour of Berea, saw the house where Husband grew up in, walked around the town, bought a hat and explored this amazing riverside walk by myself.

Ftrip

 

Gtrip

 

I met a woman who I may-or may not-have previously encountered in my dreams. (Coming out of the Berea Historical Building as we were walking by, she arbitrarily started talking to us. Come to find out, she’d been big in Berea Theater scene and knew my mother-in law. Fine, right? Except I had a dream a few months earlier about running into one of Carol’s friends who asked me how she was doing and I thought, ‘well, you’re not such a great friend if you didn’t know she died almost a decade earlier.’)

The Barking Spider was frequented, as was The Cleveland Museum of Art.

 

Atrip

 

(Yes, that is a falling angel giving the finger) In the Cleveland Museum of Art, I did not heed Michael’s advice to take in a small amount of work, instead I ran from picture to portrait to sculpture and immersed myself with the almighty depth, breadth and longevity of the pieces and bought a lot of postcards. It is an amazing place, inside and out.

Etrip

I wasn’t aware of the chandelier (bad picture, I know) or that Cleveland had the largest bank lobby–The Huntington Bank. Cleveland’s nightlife is far more “happening” that I would have thought.

Dtrip

From there, it off to Indiana. We saw Buddy Guy in Elkhart’s Lerner Theatre. Great music and a beautiful space. (When I find the right cord, I’ll get the pictures off the camera.)

 

In Plymouth, we spent time visiting with Sue and Kevin. I got to see my niece and her family, my ex mother-in-law and the brilliant nurse, Nancy Coney. Husband and Kevin got the glass doors on the bookcases while Sue and I toured downtown. We got to listen to albums up in the sunroom and because life is just too funny, their neighbor’s Ford Galaxy 500 convertible started up and I got to take a ride in it to the Dairy Queen, which sadly, I’d forgotten about until I saw the picture of the car.

Btrip

On our way home, we stopped in Fort Wayne to see Chyo’s new place, then headed east. Cat was not impressed with our leaving, but I think she’s finally forgiven us–at least she isn’t as loud.

So, that’s the problem, I start to lose the details and nuisances that made the trip so interesting. *Sigh* I know, I’ll recall them when I write (I’m only down a day on NaNo) but the story I’m writing this time–the one that I plotted out, well, the characters have decided that the people I saw them ending up with don’t want anything to do with those people and there’s very little from my trip that relates to this new novel.

In my absence, the last round of edits from my editor arrived, so now I’m feeling out XO man to see if he and Girlfriend will have time to read it before they take off on a trip of their own.

Ah well, that is a sad little glimpse into the gorgeous problems (ones she loves) that this writer has gladly endured recently.

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.

 

 

 

 

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 the 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!

9.18E

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.

9.18B

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.

9.18C

 

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.

9.18A

9.18D

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.

chair

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!

hatc

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.

ditch6

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.

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