agents

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…

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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.

Let’s wrap up this year already…

This is my last post for the year and — knock on wood — we get to the new one before yet another celebrity passes. Cohen, Bowie, Rickman, Prince, and Princess Leia all in one year is devastating! Sadly, there were even more…

I’ve ended up with a bit of a time buffer that I’ll be using to play catch-up-on-the-paperwork. Such a fun game! I made a decent dent in the filing of my writing over the weekend, have been winnowing the newspaper stack each night, but I’m dreading the receipt sorting/gathering tax paperwork part of the game. Yes, I know, it could be worse and I am grateful for the problems I have, but I still sometimes wish I had a secretary so I didn’t have to play one in real life.

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Speaking of real life, I really was appointed to the Board of Education. Is that life imitating art or me getting suckered punched into a bureaucratic and political quagmire? Either way, it will be more experience to plunder for another story or two…

Writing wise, I only know I’m not getting my hopes up. When I finished Life and Crimes, I thought it was the best thing I’d ever written. Full requests from agents was so damned sweet and then, when they said no, it hurt. This book, tentatively called Near Eden, New York, is better written than that — in my opinion by a lot. What if it isn’t enough though? What if I need to write another book that surpasses this one in quality before I have a book published? It’s such a heartbreaking profession — not at all the way I imagined it would be when I started dreaming about being a best-selling author. I know I’ll get there because I’m not smart enough to quit, but in the interim, I think I’ll return to the Hot Pants office at Zoetrope and start churning out flash.

I stopped in there last night before I glanced at my flash file. I don’t have a lot left to send out. Again, I know, that is the best problem to have — getting so much accepted that I have nothing left to submit. I am grateful. So grateful and I would love to continue kvetching here, but that isn’t reducing the paper stack.

Thanks for stopping by!

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

Weather Dictation

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.

Another Thursday, Another Blog


It’s getting to be that time of year again when the furniture gets changed around so we have a wall of firewood inside and can use the wood stove. If an antenna wire is installed, we might have the stereo in the living room this season. This bit of change is stressful since I start thinking I should get rid of things, but I rarely do since I have an attachment issue.

If that were the only issue I had…

My kindle’s battery was empty. That’s never happened before. I just figured out the new way to get stories from Submittable sent to it. All right, I didn’t figure it out, I had to ask for help after reading the FAQs. I’d like to add that the staff at Submittable are incredibly helpful and prompt. Thank you!

The book revision took over my life and I was frustrated since I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere and I wanted it to be done by Labor Day. Husband suggested I go in the library. I didn’t think it would work, but we went on an errand, which led to a trip to the Savage winery. We returned home, I went to work, and boom! That night I was finished…as finished as a 89,675 word novel gets. I’m doing a final read through and cutting a word here and there, but otherwise, I think that’s it.

At the novel critique group on Tuesday, there was a lively discussion on our respective pages and part of the conversation turned to agents. I was so dispirited. Two of the women are on their third agents. I’m weary of starting up the search again for my first.

I think I’ll start the new book instead.

*Sigh*

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

Priorities and/or delusions

Often, I have a list of topics to cover before I start my blog. Not so with this one. What I have is increasingly annoying notices that I am close to using up all of my monthly “usage,” so no pictures this time. I blame Snovember and having to send Husband’s pictures to his friends and family. If you need pictures, you can look on my Facebook page at a building that crumbled under the weight of the snow. We didn’t get a lot of snow here and I’m grateful for that.

It’s #PitMad on Twitter today. That will drive me over my usage amount, but if I get a tweet favorited by an agent, I’m willing to believe it will be worth it. I did get a favorite from an acquisitions editor last time, but even as I sent the requested material, I knew in my heart it wasn’t going to work out. Sometimes, I hate my sixth sense.

Thanksgiving was dignified and respectful. I’m glad of that. My niece and nephew will be flying into Buffalo in a few weeks for a Christmas visit, so after neglecting the housework while I worked on my latest novel, I’m cleaning the house, kicking out the spiders, and debating if I need to hold onto everything I touch. I’ve put several sweaters and shirts in the donation pile and three cookbooks are on their way, too.

So that is the fun going on around here recently. I’m enjoying this “break” from the novel. When I go back to rewrite it, I know I now have a much better sense of the character’s motivations that I didn’t in the first draft. One thing I will always love about writing is how characters come alive, reveal themselves, and alter what you thought their plotline was going to be. It’s the best kind of magic.

 

(These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences should vary.)

Being a writer is full of surprises.

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There has been a barrage of information about the weather. That’s all I’ve seen or heard about lately. The newspaper hasn’t arrived in days. When I’ve gone to watch a show or listen to a radio program, I hear about travel bans and record breaking snowfall totals. I’m a bit surprised since I’m from the area and my motto is “It’s Buffalo. It snows. Get over it,” and let’s face it, when my area gets hit, no one cuts me slack since I’m in “ski country,” and apparently that means I must like the snow, which I do, but that is beside the point. There is more to my world than the weather. What happened with the XL Pipeline? Are the Kardashians still exposing themselves inappropriately? Has ISIS taken over the world? I’m asking because I don’t know. I only know about the snow. There’s been no mail either.

I’m in a funky weird state after learning (via email) great news about one story I wrote only to have that information followed by a heart breaking email about a completely different aspect of my so-called writing career.

Are you ready?

My short story,”Between a Vacuum and Empty Space,” was not only selected for inclusion in a Sci-Fi anthology by Divertir Publishing, but it is going to be the first story and serve as the TITLE for the collection!

How does that happen? I don’t know, but it did. I sent a note to Jim Tuttle (Half of JT and the Law–go follow them) to let him know first because he helped me with the details–I am so grateful to him! His response made me smile. After that, I told Husband, members of Write To Be, and then Chyo. So weird and flattering. I still have a happy about it.

Then, of course, there was the ego-deflating bit. An agent who had requested the first 30 pages of L&C decided she didn’t want to see anymore. Eh. What are you going to do?

These new sagas are a nice breather from the truck needing repairs and the “Help! I don’t know what I’m doing in my NaNo story” angst. It’s fine. It’s life. It’s not French wine, but I could hum a few bars.

And that’s another thing! On the journey to Indiana, we bought wine to take as gifts. One being a strawberry wine from a local vineyard, which Susie got. She opened it and shared a glass with me. It was delightful. I mention this because we hit the liquor store before the storm and we bought another bottle, which happened to be on sale, and there is the odd chance it will be around for the upcoming Christmas Relative Party Shuffle.

Anyway, the excursion netted a bunch of canning jars. I was told of this in advance and thought “a few boxes” meant 20 jars–30 max. Yeah, I haven’t been able to fathom the idea of counting individual jars, but they take up four and a quarter shelves in the basement. Ah, but back to the wine aspect. In clearing the shelves, Husband brought up a black bottle with cobwebs all over it. I was talking to Chyo at the time, described the bottle and the label. Turns out, it is her favorite sparkling wine, Freixenet, from Spain. Neither of us can remember if it was a gift from her to me or a gift I bought to give to her and it was just forgotten. Regardless, it was on its side for years so the cork is probably still good and if you want to know, I had taken it as a sign that the agent I’d sent pages to was going to ask for more, but that didn’t happen. C’est la vie.

Back on the shelf it goes. Maybe tomorrow I’ll hear from “the” agent for me. Until then, I’ll be inside, staying warm because snow is best enjoyed inside a house with wood heat.

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