Say, what dog?

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve reached a milestone birthday. Many thanks to the well-wishers, card senders, and gift givers! As I mentioned on Twitter, Husband FINALLY got me a card – by himself – and he did well. The one he chose had a giggly, red octopus inside holding wine glasses. I don’t think octopuses drink though…

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Slightly before that, we got a new (geriatric) dog. Welcome to our home, Kobe!

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And no, I’m not a woman who is going to knit sweaters for her animals, but when Kobe was rescued, he came with a skin condition and they had shaved him. (Naked dogs are just as attractive as naked cats – hence pet sweaters and vests until his hair comes back.)

The search for an agent continues. In the absence of one, I’ve been tossing out ideas to my writer friends about which book to pursue next. I keep circling back to Lettie – and changing everything I’ve written so far. I was jotting down notes while I was trying to go to bed Tuesday night and I’m taking that as a good sign. While I’d love to sit down and just start with the rewrite, I’m holding back because of Niece’s wedding in Lincoln, New Hampshire, and my upcoming trip to Duncannon, PA.

I just glanced over at my calendar and I’m exhausted. There are so many things to do this month, including the West Falls-Colden Library book sale on the 21st. It’s my turn to host the novel critique group on the 24th. There are multiple appointments and meetings, too. What I’m saying is that the second post this month might be delayed by a week as I sort out all the thoughts, feelings, happenings, and events. (Yes, I do have the best problems.)

Oh, Nina and I went to see Viet Thanh Nguyen at Kleinhans on the 23rd and on the 20th of April, we’re slated to see Junot Diaz. I have to say I’ve enjoyed this experience so much. Many thanks to Nina for suggesting we get season tickets, Just Buffalo Literary Center for creating the Babel series and Barbara Cole for her knowledge, warmth, and grace as moderator.

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Fierce winds took down a tree yesterday and it missed the lawn tractor, so I’m grateful for that. A few other limbs came down so the spring cleanup we were planning to do became a little more daunting. Ah, the life of a homeowner near a creek in western New York…there’s always something to do!

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(And look forward to!)

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

 

 

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections; yours should vary.

 

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There’s a cardinal banging on my window so it must be spring.

I don’t know why, but this year’s bird of mayhem is a cardinal and instead of just attacking the hallway windows upstairs, it’s decided my library windows are also things to batter. It makes waking up and traipsing off to do Pilates a bit disruptive. When the leaves come out, they generally lose interest in the perceived identical twin enemy, but until then, I have a “natural” early morning alarm clock that does not come with a snooze button. Joy, joy…

Another interview came out HERE. I saw the promo line and it was so appropriate – I’d forgotten I’d said it. Many, many thanks to the great, talented, and generous Tamara Grisanti and everyone at Coffin Bell.

The mad snowstorm I mentioned last time resulted in a lot of trees being damaged. Here are a few shots:

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It’s hard to show the extent of devastation to them, or my heart. I know, it sounds strange, but since I spend so much time here, trees do become like friends and any friend in pain hurts me…

Right, so, I rewrote my synopsis, reworked my query letter and sent it off to four more agents this week. I started my shifts at the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s Gift Shop. Behind in my submission goal, I’m off to bring those numbers up and try to end this excessive desire to clean and organize everything. My shoes have never been so orderly and that scares me a bit. My office looks like an efficient person works there. I joked with Nina Fosati at lunch on Monday that maybe I’m doing the opposite of “nesting” in preparation for New Book. I suppose anything is possible…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Easter, and don’t get fooled on the first of April. I’ll be older the next time I post, so birthday wishes will be happily accepted should you want to make this “milestone” truly great. Or not. Cheers!

Thanks for stopping by and for the read! As always, these are my creekside reflections and your experiences should vary, yaddah, yadah…

February went out like a lamb, so…

The weather has been such fun! Yesterday, I was able to take a lovely walk out back. The snow was mostly gone; I traversed the labyrinth and collected a few polished pottery shards from the beach. Of course, it was muddy, but it was warm and smelled nice – very spring like. I started out with a light fleece jacket, but had it tied around my waist near the end. This morning was a bit cooler and I went into town. By the time I returned and was unloading groceries, the wet snow had begun.

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A few hours later, branches are falling and I’m nervous. Tree limbs are heavy with the snow.

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Oh, and the defunct telephone line was ripped right off the house. That was a delightful noise to figure out. Welcome to western New York’s winter, though some people consider this the first day of spring. Oi!

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Tuesday was a great day to drive and the novel critique group meeting was in Lockport. I don’t recall having carrot soup before, but it is wonderful – at least the way Mary made it. Gina’s section had me asking so many questions – when her book comes out, I’m sure you’ll be wondering the same things and you’ll have it easy because you can read the next pages whereas I have to wait until she writes them and then another month for the day we exchange files – THEN I’ll know what happens. Next month, I’ll be sending the final section of my book to them. It’s hard to believe that one will be over and I have to create (refine) new characters. These last ones were a joy to spend time with – well, most of the time. I still remember Mary’s comment on the first section, though the beginning is now revamped, she echoed the original beginning by saying she fell in love with Tara. That sentiment is still heady and it boosted my confidence in this manuscript.

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I’ve been reducing clutter and getting rid of things. My notebooks are sorted and I’ve made a major dent in the filing. I still want to gather the bits of “Near Eden, New York” and of the Letty stories and box them up. I’m done with both for the time being and I’m hoping that if they are out of my way, I can figure out what “new book” is about. So far, it’s not going the way I thought it would, but that’s fine.

In case you missed it, I did an interview. There’s a photo and everything. I have a request to do another one, which I haven’t finished yet. It’s odd to be on the other side of the questions. I’m still figuring out the managing editorship, but that, too, is okay. I attended a networking event that the Springville Chamber of Commerce hosted at Papa Jake’s. One of the stories told was about one of their guest speakers who encouraged people to say yes to an opportunity – even if you didn’t know how to do it because you’d figure it out. I did and now I am, though I’m not looking forward to sending rejections. If you get one from me, please know I found no pleasure in it at all.

I’m checking the mailbox because my copies of Ellipsis: Two should arrive any day now. I’ve seen posts on Twitter and can’t wait to dive in. I have plenty of other reading to keep me busy until then, but One was fantastic so I want to see what is in there. And I will continue to read and sort because I’ve sent out queries and checking Query Tracker every five seconds doesn’t speed things along any more than refreshing the Submittable page when I send out flash.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

 

 

*These mere creekside reflections are mine alone and in no way should alter your unique view of the shore.

 

The Day After the Day of Love

I’m disgusted. I could write about guns. Or mental health care. Or schools. I have written my misogynist representative. I’ve attended forums, school board meetings, bitched on Twitter. I hope this school shooting is the last one. There is no animal you can hunt with an AK47 and if you want to whine about how you think I want to take away your rights, save it. If you don’t believe children should be safe in schools, you don’t deserve to hold anything in your hands to protect you from the truth. As Kathy Fish so eloquently wrote in Jellyfish Review, it’s gotten to the point where children can be classified as targets. That’s wrong; end of discussion. We need sensible gun restrictions and the laws we already have enforced.

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In other news, Husband brought home a lovely bouquet on the 13th so I’d have an extra day to enjoy these beautiful blooms. (Translation: He was in Hamburg that day to run an unrelated errand and also wanted to avoid the last minute rush of other husbands on Valentine’s Day at the Hess Brothers Florist shop.)

I found out I was on the long list for the London Independent Story Prize and couldn’t say anything for a day. On the 8th, I went to JD’s Brew Pub to hear J.T. and the Law play, and to keep my mind off possibly losing. They have gotten better and it was great to hear J.T.’s brother sing a song called “Galileo” and Anna sang Maddie Larkin’s songs beautifully.

Last week’s meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group consisted of me, Patrick, and Michael. The conversation about craft and submitting was both interesting and inspiring. I read the piece that was long listed and Michael said he thought I’d win. I still had doubts. On Saturday, I went to the library for my shift. It was hard to concentrate on reading submissions because I kept refreshing the LISP page to find out who won. With Lent coming up, I wanted to go out to have a glass of wine with a meal before I couldn’t. Husband let me use his phone to check. Just as we were finishing our meal at Julie’s, the winners were announced. As anyone who was in the restaurant that afternoon can tell you, I won.

 

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So, today is the last day to submit to the American Short(er) Fiction contest and I’m preparing my entries. I’ve sent out some queries to agents and next week, I send pages to my darling, awesome novel critique group after the incredible Nina Fosati has gone over the book again. In this revision, she’s highlighted the parts she particularly likes. I’m now in love with the color turquoise and I’m seeing a lot of it, which I really need because “new book” is pure dreck at the moment.

Writing…not for the thin skinned or the impatient.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read. As always, these are merely my creekside reflections so I expect your experiences to vary.

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On the right path. I think.

In case you haven’t heard, I’m now the managing editor of Literary Orphans – words I never thought I’d be privileged enough to say. I’m still numb from the news. It came during the novel revision crunch. I wanted it done by January 31st – and I succeeded – but just barely. I’ve since extended the “listen to the whole thing being read by the computer to catch any glitches” deadline to Ground Hog’s Day and may have to go further – to Sunday – because I need to catch up on real life. While I was in the book, laundry piled up, the woodpile dwindled, and Husband’s truck acted up. I stayed off-line for two days and there are Twitter & Facebook messages to look at and respond to, along with the possibility of diving into the recent scandal.

Wednesday, I found out Shirley Palmerton, a dear friend from Hamburg Writers’ Group had her piece accepted and published in the Buffalo News “My View” column. It is sweet and made me miss my great grandparents and my grandmother.

I also got what I’m taking as a sign from the universe that I’m on the right path. In the emails with Scott, he said at one point I was “someone who lives and breathes indie lit,” which was so sweet. I received an email from Page & Spine accepting “Anam Cara,” one of the early flashes that were the genesis of this book. In the story, the two main characters mention Karen Stefano, Pat Pujolas, and of course the great Alex Pruteanu. Many thanks to N. K. Wagner for the acceptance and her lovely compliment.

Right, so I need to end this and get to work catching up on boring household chores so I can start the fun of querying agents. This time, I’m looking forward to the process. I’m also looking forward to finding out what the little rodent says tomorrow. Gardens in winter are forlorn looking, and kind of sad.

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Thanks for stopping by and the read!

 

 

 

 

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

January Thaw Cleaning

I had the privilege of hosting the novel writing critique group in my home on Tuesday so last Thursday I was dusting, de-webbing, and otherwise cleaning the house. Hence the lack of a blog post on the 18th. With such a good start, I told Husband we were going out on Saturday so he couldn’t possibly start any projects; they invariably end up with sawdust and/or fiddly bits strewn about. We went out to Red Robin because he likes their burgers then to see Blade Runner 2049 on a big screen. I know I tweeted this, but it bears a repeat: If anyone ever says my plot is convoluted, I will point to that movie and say, “It’s not THAT convoluted.”

I had a lovely time with Gina Detwiler and Mary Akers. There were green grapes, coconut macaroons, and chocolate-covered pretzels. The conversation was fun; the ideas and suggestions flowed. I made cheesy cauliflower bites, quiche, and lemon ginger tea. And I got to use my pretty new teapot.

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After waiting far too many months, I received the critique I’d been waiting for. Even if it hadn’t come, I made a deadline of finishing the revision on January 31st – and I’m hoping I can make it. Friday I won’t be able to work on it at all. Saturday, I have my library shift, and Tuesday is the library appreciation dinner. Luckily, the book is in good shape and I finished the critical first 10 pages. I did more than that, but I listened to those pages repeatedly and know they are good. Of course, now I’ll have to have someone look them over and see if they agree – IF I don’t look at them today and decide it’s all crap and I have no business writing anything. At all. Ever.

Procrastination does work out sometimes. I’ve admired this one J. Peterman dress (yeah, only one. HA!) for a while but it was pricey and I didn’t have a good reason to buy it… Well, Niece in Boston is getting married in April (Congratulations!) so guess what I’m going to wear? And on top of that, there was a sale going on. I am so excited. I got notice it shipped yesterday so soon I’ll be able to try it on.

So those are the happy bits from here. Oh! I nearly forgot! My piece, “Spliced Alike” will appear in Ellipsis: Two and “In a Mad Girl’s Eden” is slated for the May/June issue of Ink in Thirds! I’m keeping up a can-do, positive attitude because Friday might be awful. That’s why I’ve made plans to be places and do things. Distraction can be a beautiful thing.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

1.22.2018

 

Oh, there were fresh flowers, too!

 

 

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

4 Degrees on the 4th of January

Hello and welcome to the first post of the new year! Most places in the US are cold right now because of some weather phenomenon I’ve never heard of before, so I won’t add to the griping since it hasn’t snowed yet today, but we do have snow.

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The holidays were fun and each started out right with pancakes and mimosas. I meant to take pictures, but when you’re drinking champagne first thing in the morning, it somehow makes one forgetful. Who knew?

What I do remember is unwrapping this on Christmas morning:

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This gorgeous piece of pottery was made by the multi-talented Mary Akers. Thank you Mary!

Husband and I took Ben down to PA for an amazingly wonderful visit with his Twin, Niece from Boston, and Nephew from near Portland. Bridge was played so everyone was allowed to remain unharmed. And look what Niece got for me!

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Isn’t it perfect? I’ve been thinking about “new book” and someone does have to die in it, so…

So, yeah, I have been thinking about it. I’ve also been thinking about how I didn’t submit as much as usual last year. And dreading the rewrite of the last book, but not as much as the idea of querying agents. Yes, I do have the best first world problems and I love every single one of them – including the abundance of new books to read.

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Congratulations to Alex Pruteanu on this – I’ve waited a long time to read it and I am savoring it.

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And mega-thank you to Susan Tepper! I’m looking forward to this delight!

Lousy weather does have its joy – curling up in front of the fire and reading.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay warm!

*These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences should vary.