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In theory, I should be headed to Lockport for the novel critique group meeting at Mary’s house. The threat of 2-3 feet of lake effect snow negated that trip so I was able to get farther along in the Pete and Tara book.  I’m so close to the end and I’m excited—in a tempered way. I’m trying desperately to not think about the next steps. I’ve been editing as I go, so that isn’t the problem, it’s the thought of another round of that fun game I call “Agent Hunt.” Hell, I’m still waiting on responses from the last round for the last book…

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Prize for “First Christmas Card to Arrive” this year goes to a dear friend in Kentucky. Poor thing thinks she’s behind a letter to me. Sorry Natalie, that’s me. I’m the one who owes you two letters now. I’m sure I owe other people letters, too. I get caught up with writing and then assume that social media will fill in the gaps, but the people that I write to and write to me are often not on social media. I need to be better disciplined about such things. I think I’ve said that before. It sounds familiar somehow.

Remember to shop local! I stopped in at Herbs & Things last Saturday and found gifts for the few I’m buying for this year plus a gift for me at Kellie Shanley’s shop. I’m loving the scent diffuser I bought there—far more lovely and useful than a lava lamp.

All right, it’s short this time, but I do want to say that I am so ecstatic that the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts accepted “Meeting Notes”— one of the original Pete and Tara stories (which didn’t make it into the book but became the genesis for it). THANK YOU RANDALL BROWN!!!! In the funniest bit of irony, that story is set at a school board meeting and today, the questions that are going to be asked of the candidates at Monday’s board meeting arrived in my inbox this morning. I’m going to have to start writing historical fiction so things like this will stop occurring.

Thanks for stopping by!

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*These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.

I was still feeling strange last Thursday, that’s why this post is a week late. My essay on attending last year’s International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day appeared in the My View column of The Buffalo News on the 8th – Election Day. I didn’t know if I was going this year or not. I decided last Thursday that I would. It’s a good program and a good place to be before the holidays begin.

Thanksgiving being held on different dates, the fact that my family often celebrated on the weekend before or after the holiday and the time factor blur what this is: the 20th anniversary of an argument that changed my life.

I’d let it go if I could. I was three days into not smoking, XO Man had invited me into his life, I was planning to go back to Texas and I was happy. Then my mother and I got into a fight. It left me devastated and feeling unworthy of love, happiness, or progress. Instead of going to Texas, I stayed in a miserable spot, started smoking again, and stopped growing as a person for a long time.

At Christmas, my mother was the opposite; full of delightfulness and laughter. I didn’t trust her. My “big” present was cash, which is what I wanted. I’d also gotten a bag of little stuff. I don’t remember now – whether I found them before or after – but there were a pair of earrings in that bag that I really liked but I didn’t have time to send her a thank you note. I wore them to her funeral; I haven’t worn them since then.

I suppose that is a pattern that repeats. I don’t know what my mother was going through when she picked that fight. I doubt my stepson realizes how pissed I was last year that I was not expecting him, his girlfriend, and her best friend to arrive the next day. I didn’t have time to clean properly, Husband had told me in no uncertain terms that the wedding reception was not going to be here and I told him to tell Stepson because I didn’t want to get involved in it. No. That morning, I got a request from an agent. I had no idea when they were going to arrive, or if they still were so I was working on getting my book submission perfect when they walked in demanding all of the attention.

Last Christmas, I tried to be tolerant of Stepson’s abysmal behavior toward all of my guests and his father and I could cope until he shoved something in my face and told me to do something with it. When I refused, he walked away telling everyone I was acting like a bitch. After that fight, I have no interest in having a gathering here over the holidays, if ever again.

I’m truly grateful that Shirley Palmerton invited Husband and me to her home for dinner today. I’m thrilled to be spending this day with fellow writers and their spouses. It’s good to have found this tribe. For Christmas, we’ll be at Husband’s brother’s house. I’ll bring some food there because Niece must have her quiche so she shall. We’ve agreed to no gifts, which is a huge relief.

The novel had a hiccup and now I’m dreaming the end. It shouldn’t take much longer to finish once I sit down to wrap it up. I had another flash picked up by 200 CCs. Thank you Paul A. Hamilton. And thank you Christopher James for my faux pas. I’m truly sorry and while I am still embarrassed to death, it’s a lot harder to pull that off than I thought, especially today.

I’m grateful for all my friends, the writers and artists, the editors and designers, the singers and actors, teachers and medical professions, builders and retail workers, musicians and thinkers of different points of view as well as the people who agree with me. If you think I left you out, know you’re in a class by yourself and I didn’t want anyone to think I was playing favorites…but we know, don’t we?

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

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*These are my Creekside holiday reflections. Your experiences may vary.

This is the first time in years I haven’t committed to National Novel Writing month and it’s jarring. I’m far too involved with this book about Pete and Tara to drop it for something new. At roughly 43,000 words, I think it’s going to end up being 80,000. The midway was reached at 40,000, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Otherwise, I’m typing this at the office. I’m off work, so don’t think I’m blogging on company time, or that I’m working for a company for that matter. Actually, you can think whatever thoughts you want. I’m just waiting for Husband to come pick me up. Then it’s fun times ahead with a trip to the post office then home to make dinner and catch up on laundry before posting this to wordpress.

office

That’s a picture of what it looks like from my work desk. Past the bench, there’s a table (Made by Husband) where the Bemer mat rests. The orange Post-it is where the metal brace is going to go so yours truly won’t have to stoop to press the controls. Yes, that’s my job, hooking up people and pressing buttons. Also, I serve water. If you try Bemer – and you should – drink water, it helps so much with the treatment.

I have two pieces that will be up shortly. I am so excited! One was a piece written during the Kathy Fish workshop and the other is a Pete and Tara story. Many, many thanks to the amazing Cristopher James at Jellyfish Review and Les Weil at The Flash Fiction Press. I don’t know which one of these acceptances makes me happier and I’m overwhelmingly grateful to have that as an issue in my life.

Speaking of gratitude, I sent the first pages of the Pete and Tara stories to Mary Akers (Congrats on the gorgeous edition of Bones of an Inland Sea) and Gina Detwiler for critique this month and they didn’t kill me for not finishing up with Dreaming Lettie. Again, it was a matter of being caught up with Pete and Tara and since I’m not writing it the way I usually write a novel, I feel I need to keep an eye on all the moving parts in here to make sure it turns out right before I go on to something else. I’m also polishing as I go, so hopefully, when I reach the end, I’ll be done. And that’s another thing that’s bothering me. I’ve always known the end before I begin a book and now, I’m working without that. It’s slightly terrifying. Such a lovely problem, too.

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The Best of 2016 came out! If you want a copy, email me and let me know. It was a great experience working with Nina Fosati and Nelson Locher on this edition of Hamburg Writers’ Group writing. It is a great group of people and I’m glad Mary Jo Hodge suggested I join and that Jim Miner allowed me entry.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

*These are my office reflections. Your experiences may vary.

 

welcomeThis election cycle has been the worst one ever and I CANNOT wait for it to be over. Why was there NO trigger warnings issued? That’s what I want to know. So, that being said, let us move on to the beauty of the still blooming morning glories

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and the Sweet Gum changing colors.

I went to another Girl’s Night Out, this time at Kim Chinquee’s beautiful home. It is such a treat to be around such smart and interesting women. I also met Tamara Grisanti and hope to work with her in the future. So MANY thanks to Kim for being an awesome host. I’m pushing my comfort zone to drive into Buffalo, but am so glad I am doing it.

The Hamburg Writers’ Group is putting out their second anthology and I’m privileged to not only have some of my work included, but to have been part of the editorial process. HUGE thank you to Nina Fosati for being the true mastermind behind the project. One of the pictures that wasn’t chosen as the cover photo was so inspiring to me that I plan to incorporate it into one of the stories and should I ever get to the end, maybe use that as the cover for the Pete and Tara Stories or whatever title I eventually come up with should I go with the self-publishing option.

That seems so far off in the future though. I‘ve never written a book this way before and I can‘t say I hate it because it seems to be falling into place, but I find myself nit picking and tweaking every time I turn around so, to me, the progress seems slow. I’m at roughly 35,000 words now. When I do NaNoWriMo, I put that many words out in about 21 days and technically, I’ve been working on this since August.

And I’m nervous about the whole thing. Yes, I’ve had some success with individual flashes that have since become fuller chapters, but I could not switch out of this book and return to “Dreaming Lettie” so I sent the first 24 pages to Mary Akers and Gina Miani for this month’s critique. I am so anxious to hear their opinions on these characters. Ugh! The angst of waiting.

Plus I’m not sure I’ll be able to participate in NaNoWriMo this year and I’ve been doing it so long it feels weird to not do it. Another ugh.

I know…it could be worse. There could be another year of the presidential campaign instead of mere weeks.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

Girly things

On the 25th of September, I went to a Fashion Show that benefited the Hospital. It was interesting. On the 29th I drove to a place called Steer for a Girl’s Night Out hosted by the lovely and talented Kim Chinquee. That was a lot of fun. Between the two, I hosted the novel critique group and made quiche. Again, many thanks to Gina Miani and Mary Akers for making the drive and being fun to talk to and commiserate with over the nuttiness that is writing.

I’ve been busy piecing together this Pete and Tara saga into a book. Their hot sex scene is up — with all the warnings in the world implied for those with sensitive sensibilities– here at Bare Back Magazine. In pairing and/or extending the flashes into longer chapters, I have a solid 16,900 words in and haven’t got to that bit yet. I’m close to where “Something To Talk About” happens. *Sigh*

Otherwise, it’s been all about the canning.

(This isn't all I've canned)

Pictures of the wedding aren’t transferred yet, but I did scroll through them. There are one or two that aren’t bad. That task was on the weekend list…but Husband decided he’d –without my input– buy the new hearth rug. SO MUCH MEDITATION!!! I’m letting it go…and never combining my weekend list with his again.

Thanks for stopping by!

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*These are my creekside reflections. That is the creekside view this morning. Your experience and view should be very different.

Here be bad jokes

So, congratulations to Stepson and his beautiful bride. The wedding was on Saturday and theoretically, I should be able to post pictures from the actual event, but I’m not sure the camera has enough juice to download even if I tried. I do have a picture of one of the table toppers though, since three of them ended up at my house.

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It’s been clean and catch up since then. Things are nearly back to what passes as normal. The credit company called to complain that we hadn’t activated our new cards yet. Did they not realize we were busy for the last few weeks and didn’t have time to deal with that sort of thing? Same thing with the dentist who texted and called excessively about the appointment that was in my book? We went last night so that’s over. We both had numb tongues after; good times.

Otherwise, don’t tell my Aunt Marie, but I sold a Pete and Tara story to a “Mature Content” magazine. I consider that “Adulting.” Yes, hanging around a select few people does invoke a bad habit of punning and/or not very good joke telling. And I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time I just spent with Niece, Nephew and his delightful girlfriend, and my brother-in-law. Also, I just want the world to know that it was awesome that Tiffany not only said she liked my work, but gave specifics. So awesome! So cool!

The tomatoes are plentiful this year. I’m cooking down another batch now and have many more to go. I also think I might be damned well close to having a book’s worth of P&T stories. Apparently, writing a flash a day (often three) has given me a lot to choose from. The second I have some free time, I’m going to corral the loose pages and see if I can’t put them in order and see if it works.

Free time!

Now that was funny!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for stopping by for a read. I’ll try to get pictures up soon. And, my darling Niece has a hysterical video of that she said she’d post on my Facebook page so, look for that. Eventually. She’s a teacher. She’s busy. And she’s awesome.

*These are my pruny fingered creekside reflections. If you’re canning tomatoes this year, your experience might be similar. Except for probably the adulating part.

notblueThe large calendar continues to be useful. I even put the notation, “Blog!” on last and next Thursday’s squares. When I realized that meant writing one during Stepson’s wedding week, I switched that around and so you’re reading this now and not then – or last week.

Husband and I still have a lot to do to get ready for the guests that will be staying with us and normally I’d be outside mowing or weeding, but the humidity is brutal. It was bad yesterday, too, but I managed to get the rest of the wood in, Husband pulled out the old tractor to see if that transmission can be married to the one we’ve been using and I pushed the steps to the south lawn closer together. All of this with chipmunk scurrying underfoot, under leaves, under steps and in the trees. They are plentiful and brave this year.

I had an AMAZING run of acceptances recently. Christopher James took “It Only Hurts When I Smile” which came out of Kathy Fish’s workshop! It’s scheduled to appear in Jellyfish Review on 17 December. Kae Sable took “Something to Talk About” for Dime Show Review and it’s live. I felt unsure about “Birth Control” and put it up in Hot Pants in Zoetrope to workshop…and the incredible Kim Chinquee loved it as is and took it for New World Writing. It’s live HERE. And on Sunday, A. E. Phillips wrote to say she’s taking “An Alice is An Alice is an Alice” for both the print Fall Issue and the 2016 Year End Collection of The Donut Factory. Two weeks, 5 acceptances. Hell yeah!

(I did enter the bizarro world where the rejection from Apogee was welcomed. All that winning was starting to freak me out.)

Both “Birth Control” and “Something to Talk About” are very new and from the stack of flashes involving the characters Pete and Tara.  I thought the piece I wrote on Tuesday where Tara meets Pete’s mother for scones (with clotted cream – Thanks Mary Akers!) didn’t work and I was disappointed in myself. I went back yesterday and found it isn’t bad at all.

I was discouraged that only one sunflower came up this year – I planted two rows – but look at the multi-headed one that came up!

sunflower

Saturday, I’m back to my piece of heaven — volunteering at the West Falls-Colden Community Library. I won’t be there as often this season as I’ll be working some Saturdays. (Yes, Virginia, I did get a job.) And I’m glad I put that in the book, because I nearly forgot! So much is going on in the next two weeks from Husband doing things he’s never done before – including getting his hair and beard tended to by a hairdresser – to hosting a group of writers hours (I hope I have hours to prepare!) after our houseguests leave.

So, barring that it’s too much and does kill me, I’ll be back in two weeks to tell you all about with pictures of Husband in a tuxedo!

Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.