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With the addition of Kim Chinquee to our novel critique group, both Gina and I decided to submit new work instead of continuing with the books we had been working on. The next time pages are due, I’ll be busy with travel and appointments so I’ve been working on my pages. I have a good start on this new book and I know where it ends, but to get there is going to be interesting. Coming out of the flash workshop adds to my delight since I can take my time and explain things instead of compressing every nuance. Thank God!

 
The library’s summer hours began, so I’m out of there until September and yesterday was my last day mentoring. It worked out beautifully as I was able to attend the concert where Isabella and her friend Amy played. I am going to miss them—and being mistaken for a substitute teacher. Yes, the double loss of free Wi-Fi spots is going to suck, but I’m playing with the idea that the loss will make me concentrate on the new book and revising the last one. Hey, it’s possible.

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The water lily in my frog pond bloomed. Thank you, Christy! I see frogs on there all the time, so I’m thanking you on their behalf, too.

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Otherwise, the garden is doing well. Peas are growing and soon I’ll need to thin out the squash plants.

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Husband reworked the sides of the driveway bridge this weekend and we have a plan on how it will look when we’re done.

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Eck! I don’t want to get into the ineptitude—let me correct that by saying the continued ineptitude—of certain Erie County departments and car dealerships, so I won’t. I’ll try to resolve those issues before I vetch about them here, but really, I am angry that people are more interested in making excuses than solving problems. I mean, if it’s your job to fix things—fix them. How hard is that to understand?

 
Whatever.

 

By the by, I hope everyone will join me in a toast to XO Man and his new bride. Cheers to them. I was thrilled we were invited to the ceremony, sad we couldn’t make it, but so happy for them both. Mazel Tov!

 

I’m having a fun time reading an advanced copy of “I Am Barbarella” by Beth Gilstrap. I have the privilege of interviewing her soon for The Tavern. I swear I love my job.

 

That is not the only thing I’m reading of course, but that one I’ll be posting about in the future—and I was on her site today—she gave me ideas on how to spruce up mine.

 

So, I guess that’s it for this post. Some things have wound down, others are ramping up—life. I guess that’s how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by to read my Creekside reflections. I trust your experiences will vary.

Here it is, the fourth of June and the garden is finally planted. The screened in tent went up last night and I moved the swing in there this morning. The weather man said it was supposed to be sunny today, but that is not how the sky appears. It is the start of fun part of the year where I’m better off waking early to get outside to beat the muggy heat and the biting bugs. I am not a morning person. I’m not sure I’m an outside person either.

 
The author and my editor liked my review of Muscle Cars. I’ve been asked to conduct an interview with an author I’m unfamiliar with, so when I get a chance, I’ll be expanding my repertoire at The Tavern. Also, I may be revisiting a part of my life soon. I’ll know more on Tuesday, and I don’t want to jinx it, but it involves politics.

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Husband and I made it to our 15th anniversary. It fell on Sunday and he brought me The New York Times, Dunkin Donuts coffee, and these gorgeous flowers. They are holding up well. I guess we are, too—at least we haven’t killed each other yet. The day before our anniversary, there were a few iffy moments.

 
Condensed to Flash: World Classics is out and available at Amazon. I am honored and proud to have a story in there. It’s a gorgeous book with so many great stories by incredible writers. Many thanks to Mark Budman and everyone at Vestal Review Press.

 
Last week was brutal with rejections, so I’m hoping things turn around soon. I’ve got 5 new flash pieces from the workshop—well, one wasn’t directly from there, but the association is close. I’m going to run them by a few friends and then submit. I’ve slacked off with that part of the process recently, but it is difficult not to go outside and enjoy being able to do just that. This winter was unrelenting and I’m so glad it is over. We’ve had the daffodils, the irises are blooming and soon there will be peonies.

 
Thanks for stopping by!

 
(These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.)

042903_1502[01]If you know my husband, you know he doesn’t text and his spelling skills are…special. Yesterday, he was in the elevator shaft, someone called his cell, he climbed out, chatted, set the phone down and climbed back in. A bit later, Ryan, the guy he’s been riding into Buffalo with, asked him if he just texted him. Husband said no. Ryan asked if he knew where his phone was. Husband grabbed for it and found it was gone. He looked where he set it down and it was there. Ryan cryptically told him, “Don’t leave your phone out where Don can get it.”

Okay, so Husband says he said something about it to Don and after some back and forth, Don told him he’d need to sort things out with Norm. At that point in the telling of the story, I’m like “What the feck! Give me that.” I opened Husband’s phone and Don had texted to Ryan, “Can I sit on your lap and steer the truck?” I read it and after laughing for several minutes was finally able to tell Husband what it said.

Don texted to Norm, “I miss you,” which wasn’t horrid, but Norm texted back “I know,” upon which Don added, “What are you wearing?” No response. (All the words in the texts were spelled correctly and there was punctuation. Dead giveaway that Husband had nothing to do with those texts!)

I told Husband he should tell Don that I found the texts and got upset and woke him up in the middle of the night to explain. Apparently, he did and Don didn’t believe him, so Husband just called and I had to listen to Don grovel and say he was sorry for his bad taste in jokes. The whole time, I wanted to laugh, but restrained myself until after we hung up. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. It is stupid, I know, but it’s also kind of nice that the jokester got joked.

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My first “real” book review comes out tomorrow. I’ll link it here when it goes up and if I remember. There are just a few more days left in the Flash Fiction Workshop with Meg Pokrass. The story for the second prompt gave me trouble. It was too long and I was frustrated. I went back to it, finished it and wound up with 1340 words. From there, I trimmed. I cut. I eviscerated. At 995 words, I posted it and got good reviews. She thinks it may be “the one” to get me into Pank or Smokelong. Here’s to hoping. There are three more prompts, so after I post this, it’s back to work.

Otherwise, it’s been disappointing, this writing life. Several rejections arrived, I did not make the final cut for an anthology, but I did get an encouraging note from one place. I guess that is something.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

 

 

Oye to the data usage hell I’ve been through recently. I’m convinced it is Twitter or a bug associated with Twitter that sends me over the edge, but it is now the 7th, the cycle restarts today, and I’m here. Welcome to the May 7th 2015 edition of Creekside Reflections. Aren’t you pretty? I’m so glad to see you!

 
So, besides the nail biting as to whether or not I would go over the limit, wonderful things have happened. “Like what?” you ask. Well, the reading. It was great. The 5 authors: Stephen G. Eoannou, Mary Akers, Gina Miani, Jeff Schober, and Kim Chinquee were wonderful. Class acts, each and every one of them. If you ever get a chance, go to their readings, buy their books, read their words. Totally worth it!

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Is that all? No! The readers at r.kv.r.y. went through a huge, respectful and insightful give and take on a piece we received. End shot, Mary resolved the differences and in January, there is an incredible issue in the works based on the title piece, Flame.

“That’s all?” you scoff. No! I’m preparing to send 25 pages of an old novel to my critique group today. Next week, I’m meeting with a woman I met through Bella Poynton’s playwriting class to discuss our stories. I’ve nearly psyched myself up to plunge into another revision of “Life and Crimes.” A story I couldn’t figure out is turning into a play that writes itself. And the topper of them all: I’m in a flash fiction workshop with the witty, the talented and the great flash fiction writer, Meg Pokrass. I have one draft of a story done and posted there and already have fantastic advice on how to improve it. I’m not even going to mention the awesome note she sent. I am so excited to work with her!

Outside, the trees are turning green, the apricot flowers bloomed, and I have peas coming up.

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Saturday night a gorgeous, well-trained Rottweiler with no collar came to our door. He wanted in in the worst way, but the cat said, “Oh, hell no.” I gave him Tye’s old blanket in the tractor shed and he was out there for a while. In the morning, Husband met him and then he left for town. When he returned, the dog was gone just as quickly as he’d arrived. I’d just been writing in a letter to a friend about how I kind of missed having a dog around, and boom, there he was.

Trouble

You know, I really want an agent, a 6 figure book contract, and a spot on the New York Times bestseller’s list. Just saying…

Thanks for stopping by!

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

 

So last night I dreamt of even more things going wrong at Local Authors Live! It’s the reading at the West-Falls Colden Library that I’m hosting on 25 April. There were 50 people; I had no food. I borrowed pretzels from Eric Tertinek, then worried if they were all right because he had a half-eaten pan of Jell-O in his cupboard. A woman who wasn’t on the roster wanted to read first. I get her to understand there was a line up and so I go to introduce Stephen Eoannou, but I can’t pronounce the name of his book because his son wanted him to read from the different one. My print out with intros was lost not once, but twice. My mother was selling pop in a tent in the front, while in the back, a storm raged and an owl threatened to break the window. This set of dreamed problems is just as whacko as the other disaster dream I had the day before.

I’m exhausted and there’s still over a week before the reading.

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In other news, I went out for my birthday and well, so much for weight loss goals. The day after, Betty and Angela dropped by with wings and pizza and a gift certificate for the The Meat Shoppe. *Sigh.* I did get these lovely tulips from Angela. I have 9 flats of seedlings growing now. I’ll be getting a workout in the garden soon enough.

After this horribly long winter, the weather has warmed up and the crocuses are out.

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Husband finished the prototype swing seat. There are a few tweaks we’re considering and then he’ll make it out of cedar.

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The Camp NaNo book has stalled out. That’s all I want to say about it. At the moment, I’m in a reflective mood wondering if I even want to write anymore. It is hard and scary. With exercise, I can look in the mirror and see that I’m making progress. With writing, well, I’m a better writer than when I tackled Campus Crimes, but other than that? Eh. If I go farther in the latest manuscript I’m not sure I can write through the scenes well enough.

Why yes, I do have lousy self-confidence. Thanks for stopping by and reading my Creekside Reflections. I trust your experiences will vary.

I thought the flowers had bloomed, but they were just teasing.

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Greetings and thank you for popping in. You picked a good time since I’ve got an amusing story.

Today was the start of Camp NaNo. I was upstairs working somewhat diligently on the new book when the passive-aggressive semi-smart phone told me there was an email. I opened it and it said the short list for the Gover Prize was listed. I hit the link and I was on there. As if…

I signed on to the computer and went to the site. It was true.

I did not see that coming. Talk about being humbled–by that and the amazingly kind words I’ve received from people on Facebook. I am so grateful.

Needless to say, I’m behind on my NaNo word count. C’est la vie. With any luck I’ll be able to make it up tomorrow at school. I’ll have time while I’m haunting the second floor teacher’s lounge when I’m not hanging out with Isabella. That’s the name of the kid I’m mentoring. Yes, I mentor now, and if that sounds strange to you, trust me, it sounds even weirder to me.

That’s why I can’t post tomorrow–I’m catching a ride with the Social Studies teacher. On Friday, I definitely don’t want to post because it’s my birthday. I’ll have that morning to catch up on my word count and get in an hour or so of Pilates. That’s the other thing that’s going on that is great: I hit a mini weight loss goal, which makes me want to hit the next one. Apparently, after listening to the same advice for years, it is sinking in–that it’s easier to get things accomplished if you break it down. I trusted that process implicitly for NaNo, but for other things, I balked. Now I see the physical results and I’m convinced.

And there you have it, my creekside reflections brought to you early and with happy news. May your days be just as wonderful.

Seriously, thank you for stopping by today and here is proof that I won’t be the only one waiting for you to drop in again…

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So, I tend to be close-lipped on some things, a blabbermouth about others, right? I’m now confessing that we got rid of our landline–and our abusive relationship with AT&T–over a month ago. Of course, there’s still a little back and forth slapping going on with AT&T, but my blowup on Twitter did get me some satisfaction in that regard. Supposedly, the bill we shouldn’t have gotten in the first place–let alone with a late fee–has been taken care of, but I have a whole month to wait to see it in print.

Our semi-smart phone takes great pictures and since we got the case and touch screen stylus, I can type longer texts. The other good thing is that I can check my Gmail account without having to go upstairs, turn on the tower, and check a bunch of other pages like Duotrope, Twitter, and Facebook. The bad part is that now the semi-smart phone chirps whenever an email arrives. I’ve turned into a puppet for that sound. I tense up and feel the need to rush over and check what was sent. I’m learning–slowly–that most of my “mail” is actually Facebook group updates and not worthy of my immediate attention. Of course, as soon as I typed that, an actual important email did arrive…

I’m signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Just before I fell asleep last night, I found the “key” that was missing from the-new-piece-that-I-still-don’t-have-a-name-for. Looking at it again this morning, I felt stupid for not seeing the answer before since it is so obvious. Regardless, I think I’ve got it and look forward to writing it soon.

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Besides the melting snow, I have pansies and impatiens sprouting as well as deer coming too close to the house. My list of people I owe letters to has been reduced. I finished reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. I’m a quarter of the way through Thom Jones’ The Pugilist at Rest and half-way through Paulo Coelho’s Brida, which gets me closer to catching up to my goal of reading a book a week…but the idea of reviewing them, well, that has fallen to the wayside for now.

 

 

 

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I truly love the problems I have.

Thank you for stopping by! One of you lucky readers should be on the lookout for a small care package that I sent out Tuesday as a random act of kindness. Will it be you? By the way, these are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.

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