Month: January 2013

Siblings. Gotta Love Them Because It’s A Whole Other Crime If You Murder Them.

Working for r.kv.r.y. is ironic in that I’ve discovered I’m so adept at suppressing stuff that I don’t even realize I’ve done it.

For years, this date has found me holed up in bed and not getting up until after noon. This year, I had changed the date in my head. I believed the anniversary was the 19th. By then, I would have realized I’d missed the true anniversary date and life would have gone on. Progress.

Oh, no. There’s Facebook and a whole familial vigil going on this morning.

It’s just as well. I didn’t know what else I was going to write about to day, so I’d like to share my first published piece which appeared in the January/February 2009  issue of the now defunct magazine The Rambler.


JANUARY 16, 1997

by T. L. Sherwood

            This is what it looks like before everything shifts into surrealism for a while. Romeo stares down his master, me, asleep at the remote. A wet nose nudge does the trick and we’re off to bed. I’ve always been a night owl who likes to drink alone. I’m not the only bartender who will admit this if you ask. We prefer to serve ourselves quietly after work while a sappy movie plays in the background.

I don’t even drink that much. I want a clear head, if not eyes. The weather is spectacular. I regret hanging curtains as the lightening dazzles in the snow storm and I pace window to window to door. It’s blowing too hard to enjoy a more intimate view outdoors. The beauty is enticing but tiring. I finally go to bed; I lay down dreamless. The black backs of my eyelids flash and fumble in opposite colors, re-creating the electric display I’d just witnessed. I’m about to drift off.  It’s past midnight. I made it through another day on earth; I can rest assured my tombstone will reflect this.

Gentle tiptoeing sandman is on his way out the door when the phone rings. My temporary boyfriend doesn’t wake up. The dog shifts. I won’t get up. I swear I won’t,  though it might be my real boyfriend. Christ, I give up–the true love of my life that has slunk around the background of all my adult relationships. I’m willing to tell him how much I love him, be done with the pretense and go all the way to Texas to be with him; I am that ready to jump. I need to sleep. If I wake up–all the way–I might tell him all this.

Groggily I mumble, “Hello.”

Miles and miles away but closer than Texas is the most different voice. It is my Uncle. Hospital. Heart attack. My mother. Dead.

I sit in the kitchen chair.

I cannot come tonight. There is a snow storm.

He will take my Grandmother and my brother home. It’s a hell of a night for everyone. The connection is severed.

I sit. I stare. I try to lie down again. Romeo half-growls as I snuggle up to my temporary boyfriend. The thunder has passed. The wind is still whipping the snow around outside. I hear the snowplow roughly scrape the pavement with its curved blades. Give it six hours and the roads will be cleared. The sun will rise but nothing will ever be the same again, not even seeing a picture of a man who has fallen asleep in front of a television set.


I agree, it’s not my best work, but an editor thought enough of it to accept it and I am so grateful to Jonathan Tuttle for believing in my work at a time when I was wondering if I had any talent at all…

(*These are just my Creekside Reflections. Your experience may vary.)


The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Many thanks to the incredible Mary Akers for tagging me in this latest writer’s meme.

I am privileged to have attended one of her workshops and now serve as a reader and editor at r.kv.r.y Quarterly Literary Journal. I’m looking forward to reading her forthcoming book Bones of an Inland Sea. In the meantime, Women up on Blocks is available from Press 53.

Now for the questions:

What is your working title of your book?

Ellie’s Elephants

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few years ago in Buffalo, there were reports of employees at a collection agency that were illegally threatening and harassing people. I wondered what it would be like if a tax collector did that and came across someone who had a deep secret to protect.

What genre does your book fall under?

I think of it as literary fiction but it could appeal to a broader audience.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Interesting question! Casting directors must go insane trying to match up the ages, talents and work schedules for the actors they want. While it’s not a comedy, Lisa Kudrow for Ellie. Her work on “Who Do You Think You Are” is fantastic. For Selin: Colin Firth. If it was cast older, Jodie Foster and Jeff Goldblum. Brad Pitt for Kyle. Reese Witherspoon for Billie. Oh, and please, please, please–Pierce Brosnan for Lionel.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A woman who tries to escape her fame as a poet nearly succeeds until an underhanded tax collector enters her life and then all bets are off as to how far love, fidelity, and loyalty will take a family to protect one of their own.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Ideally, an agency, but I have been looking into different ways of self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Happily, I can say that the first draft was a product of NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in 30 days. The intensity was thrilling.I’m still editing and tweaking it though, usually while sitting here:


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

During my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I had this image pop into my head: Kyle was wearing boxer shorts, cowboy boots and nothing else. Ellie and Billie were engaged in an intense conversation. A dog came out of nowhere and then a shotgun went off. I needed to know what happened to these people, but having read the pitfalls of NaNo, I knew I couldn’t abandon the work I had already started. That year, I finished a first draft of “Dandelion Dreams.” I thought about those other characters and they grew, changed, and evolved until the next November rolled around and then I felt ready to write the book.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

While the main character is a poet, there is only one poem in the book and it’s by Tanith Lee.

I hereby tag Madeline Claire Franklin.

Happy 2013! I’m an Editor now!

I hope your 2013 is starting off to be a great year. Yesterday, I was promoted from a fiction reader to a Fiction Editor at r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal. Thank you, Mary Akers! I went through the receipts for the year and gathered all the tax information I have so that dreadful bit which I usually wait until the last minute to do is over and I already have a contest entry and three submissions sent off. My year is starting off very well, and last year was not too shabby. I went to a writer’s conference in Westfield where I met James Goertel, Reg Darling, LouAnne Johnson, and Linda Lavid. I traveled to Binghamton and met Jefferson Rose and his family. My son and his family visited. I saw Chicago again. My garden shed was completed. I had ten pieces accepted (including one which will appear in Rosebud–one of my “dream” publications) and an agent queried me.

While I don’t make resolutions, per se, I’m not immune to the hype for personal betterment in the new year. I do hope that my writing (and editing) skills improve and that my work is accepted in awesome venues. Payment would be nice and finding an agent that believes in my work would be fantastic. I think I have these vague “goals” at all points during the year, but they seem most pronounced in January.

I know it works for some people, but declaring a new start at the beginning of the year has never worked for me. When I quit smoking (on Saturday, it will be the eighth anniversary) it was something I had tried before. I hadn’t been as serious about it until then. And don’t get me wrong, the drugs helped, too. Without Welbutrin, I don’t think I would have made it past the hump. But, I quit on the fifth, not the first. Now, writing challenges and prompts are different. So are deadlines. I have a better chance of meeting another person’s parameters than deciding which things to impose on myself for some reason.

I’m so grateful the holidays are over. Husband has been home too much for my taste. I thought that today I might be able to get back to normal, but no. On the ride over to Weber City, he got a call and he’ll be putting a bid in on a job in Depew this afternoon, and since there will be no time for him to get back to the Buffalo Zoo and get tools out, he’ll be home early again. Yesterday, he was home early because he was all ‘manly’ and had three cavities filled during one dentist visit which numbed his tongue completely. *Sigh* Men…

Cats though, they are sweet and look lovely in ribbons. Since mine is a diva, here are two photos where I tried to capture her New Year’s Eve ‘costume.’



This month there will be an additional posting as I’ve been tagged to participate in the “Next Big Thing.”

Thanks for checking in!

(*These are just my Creekside Reflections. Your experience may vary.)