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Archive for March, 2012

After posting last time, I went shopping. Upon my return, I found an email from one of the women in my RL writer’s group. There was a writer’s conference in Westfield on Sunday and if I was willing to drive, she’d pay my conference fee. On Saturday, Husband took me to Eden so I’d know my way to her house. We stopped in and had a lovely visit. Then on Sunday, she and I went to the gorgeous Patterson Library.

It was the first time they had done a conference there and kudos to Peter Hamilton for putting it together. Mary Jo and I went to the same sessions. The first was done by James Goertel who tackled the Writer’s Craft . He’d just gotten back from AWP (I was so jealous! He could have heard Roxane Gay  give a reading while he was there. I would have!) and even though James was tired, he was a motivated instructor.

We broke to listen to LouAnne Johnson, author of My Posse Don’t Do Homework which turned into the movie Dangerous Minds. She read from Muchacho. It was very entertaining. She sat at the same table as we did for the lunch which was held at the church across the street.

After lunch was Marketing Your Work by Linda Lavid. I thought it was informative and I found out a few things I hadn’t known. Some things I was doing already and it turns out they were the ‘right’ things to do which was gratifying to hear.

Then, the people who signed up drew numbers to choose the order to read their work. I went second and read “Wildflower Wishes.” Mary Jo went fourth and read from her book, “Under Cover.”  While the conference had been scheduled to go until after six, we got out of there around 4 p.m. It was a great day all around.

Facebook revealed a chance for women’s essays to be included in an edition of Brevity titled Ceiling or Sky: Female Nonfictions after the VIDA Count and in response to the recently revealed VIDA and its nearly identical pie graph which shows 75% of most magazine’s contributors are male. I sent in “Finding Peers.” An editor of the new cool zine to read, Jumping Blue Gods asked for my submission. (Much appreciation to Jennifer Bridges!)

Robert Tucker at Chrysalis Reader sent the edits he made to “Delaware and the Rip-Off King.” We disagreed on a single line and he agreed to use the one I offered, so that is now wrapped up.

This past Saturday, I happened to see in Gusto that there was a reading being done at the West Falls library. I went and listened to Jeff Schober. Oddly, as he was signing my book, he mentioned the Arcade & Attica Railroad Mystery Train. Turns out, he was writing the script for this year’s production and he had been an actor in the last one with Betty. Tiny little world, isn’t it?

Then, later on this past Saturday, there was the most awesome news: The return of NPR’s Three Minute Fiction! Round Eight was announced. In case you missed it, hit the link above. I heard about it on FB before the show started and didn’t take long to come up with a story and write it. Seriously, maybe an hour tops to write–though I think it was closer to twenty minutes. I’d thought of an ending line, then two characters arrived, and as I wrote toward the end line, the story took me to a different place.

I trimmed it until I could read it in under 3 minutes, then read it to Husband, who–get this–thought it was nice. I sent it in. Usually, I end up with regret when I send things in so soon after they’re written, but the next morning, I still thought it was a good story.

On Monday, I sent it to Chyo, and except for one word choice, she thought it was fantastic. I wound up in a brief email exchange with Long Distance Friend and sent it to him. He not only liked it, but wanted to share it with his Secret Girlfriend. Now, I wait on Guy Roz and the judges at 3MF to decide if they like it, too.

In a teensy tiny way, I’m a bit on edge over the idea of finally having one of my stories chosen by 3MF. I mean I am the self-proclaimed Susan Lucci of this contest. Can I give up that continuing sting of disappointment? Well, it’s out of my hands now. And if it isn’t chosen as the winner, I hope it isn’t chosen as an also ran. I have three magazines I want to submit the story to. Sigh. We’ll see how it goes. In the other rounds, I’d written to win. This story I wrote because it was something I wanted to read.

Speaking of which.. One of the things Chyo said was that the story I wrote was a piece which would cause her to look up other work by the same author. She then told me of series of books she’s bought because of short stories she’d come across in an anthology. So, while I’m waiting on yet another person’s thoughts on Ellie’s Elephants, I’ve opened up the third book of the Dreaming Lettie series, and I think I’m falling in love all over again… How could I forget about the Dreads!

Until next time!

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

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Welcome! I hope this first day of March finds you well. I’m fresh off two writing competition losses, but letting the disappointment fizzle out by plunging back in to Ellie’s Elephants. A friend of mine is going over the last draft and providing detailed notes and a woman I met at the Writer’s Workshop is also offering her insight. Both are picking up on little quirks that need to be altered before I try another go at representation.

None of the notes are huge which I’m taking as a good sign. On top of that, at the end of Chapter Four, I found the following aside from the detailed note provider, “It’s good–I like the way it builds all the way through. I love the humor. Best Seller! I want 1 2/3 %.” Such a comedian…

As to submitting, I’ve been slacking there, though I did get two sent out on Monday.

The boards on Zoetrope were down to less than 50. I freaked and threw Foxes on the Lake on the read page. I’ve gotten two reviews so far. Once again, I got assigned to a newbie. At least this one sounded like he read the story, but the last one taught me an unfortunate lesson: Until they are on there a while, do not speak to them. The last one’s cockiness dripped off the screen and tainted my Zoetrope experience. On the other hand, I was thrilled to find a review from Cezarija Abartis. I was not expecting her to review me, but she offered great advice and I’m so grateful for that. If you want a short story collection that will transport you, I do suggest hers. Nice Girls and Other Stories was fantastic.

Other than that, there’s been a whole lot of not drinking going on here, much reading, several dreams about seedlings and the garden and the occasional nightmare over errant commas. A calm before a storm? Now that I think about it, it has been unusually quiet around here for the last two weeks…

* These are just my reflections. Your experience may vary.

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