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Honey, I swear! The caviar was for research purposes only!

Yesterday was my turn to host the novel critique group. Spoiler alert: Early in Near Eden, New York, Pete brings caviar to Tara’s house to win over her cat. Anyways, at the previous novel critique meeting, Mary had said she hadn’t eaten caviar but thought it was salty and maybe the cat wouldn’t like it. Then, New Year’s Eve arrived and listening to NPR that morning, I heard Scott Simon interview Susan Stamberg. She described a dish called Caviar Pie. On the off chance they did, I asked a guy at Wegman’s if they sold caviar. They did, and some of it was reasonably priced.

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Obviously, not hosting the Christmas shindig created a groundswell of decorating and celebratory angst that needed to be expressed and I’m happy Gina Detwiler and Mary Akers made the drive to put up with it.

My cat didn’t like the caviar cold, but cleaned the stick that held 10 or so fish eggs later that night, just before I left to attend SGI’s French Honor Society induction ceremony. Valerie Brown was making crepes after, but I was quite full by then. When I got home, I received a call from my friend/line editor in California. He wants me to stop querying until we go over the book at least one more time. I don’t want to, though. I probably will, but I’m going to be pouty about it. I think Near Eden, New York is good, and he agreed, but he wants it even closer to perfection. He also hates my query letter because it makes it sound too much like a lighthearted story. I tried to convince him it’s just a romance. He says it’s so much more. I love fights like this and am so grateful these are the problems I have.

And, oh yeah, it’s official, I was duly sworn in and it was on Facebook so it has to be true. I’m a Board of Education Member! Photo courtesy of Colleen Mahoney and the Springville Journal.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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

 

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Tipsy-turvy and beautiful colors

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My cat is quite upset. Yesterday, I fulfilled my Facebook obligation to do whatever was asked of me by the esteemed Tuttle’s as long as they picked me up and took me to their house in order to do it. Yeah, I roll that way–if I say I’ll do it on FB, it will be done. A journalist from Buffalo Spree wants to interview them about living off the grid, so they wanted to spiff up their yard. I got to dig. I was gone all day and the cat couldn’t go in and out as she pleased, plus she knows I petted other cats–and two dogs–while I was away.

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It’s autumn and the weather has been good and the colors great. I’ve been catching this a lot–the dew point is just right so when the sun hits grass blades and tree leaves, a foggy, magical cloud appears. I find it a bit distressing–the sun accomplishing something tangible so easily and so early in the morning.

Life has been going quite well recently (knock up on wood) in the professional arena. After my interview with Karen Stefano went live, I was added to the Literary Orphan’s Masthead as an interviewer. I’ve been appointed Assistant Editor at r.kv.r.y. Quarterly and on Sunday, my Twitter feed went nuts with news that my story, “Prudence” was a Flash Fiction Sunday Edition pick. I was flattered by DeRicki Johnson ’s kind words.

I spoke at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday and plan to do so again at the next one. I really don’t want to run, but the more ignorance and tone deafness I hear from those so-called ‘leaders,’ the angrier I become and want to step in and give people a choice from the status quo. I hope these feelings pass soon. This energy would be much better spent on my writing.

That, too has been going well. I wrote past the problem I was having in the new book and got 20 pages out to the group. I came across a notebook where I listed stories that I’d roughed out. I opened up one and worked on it last night–it still needs some work, but it’s stronger and funnier than I remembered. So, that is what I’m off to work on though it’s a nice day so I might take a walk out back. Last time, I found this little guy on the creekside trail.

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

No joke, I’m posting early.

I thought the flowers had bloomed, but they were just teasing.

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Greetings and thank you for popping in. You picked a good time since I’ve got an amusing story.

Today was the start of Camp NaNo. I was upstairs working somewhat diligently on the new book when the passive-aggressive semi-smart phone told me there was an email. I opened it and it said the short list for the Gover Prize was listed. I hit the link and I was on there. As if…

I signed on to the computer and went to the site. It was true.

I did not see that coming. Talk about being humbled–by that and the amazingly kind words I’ve received from people on Facebook. I am so grateful.

Needless to say, I’m behind on my NaNo word count. C’est la vie. With any luck I’ll be able to make it up tomorrow at school. I’ll have time while I’m haunting the second floor teacher’s lounge when I’m not hanging out with Isabella. That’s the name of the kid I’m mentoring. Yes, I mentor now, and if that sounds strange to you, trust me, it sounds even weirder to me.

That’s why I can’t post tomorrow–I’m catching a ride with the Social Studies teacher. On Friday, I definitely don’t want to post because it’s my birthday. I’ll have that morning to catch up on my word count and get in an hour or so of Pilates. That’s the other thing that’s going on that is great: I hit a mini weight loss goal, which makes me want to hit the next one. Apparently, after listening to the same advice for years, it is sinking in–that it’s easier to get things accomplished if you break it down. I trusted that process implicitly for NaNo, but for other things, I balked. Now I see the physical results and I’m convinced.

And there you have it, my creekside reflections brought to you early and with happy news. May your days be just as wonderful.

Seriously, thank you for stopping by today and here is proof that I won’t be the only one waiting for you to drop in again…

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Pavlov’s got nothing on Samsung

So, I tend to be close-lipped on some things, a blabbermouth about others, right? I’m now confessing that we got rid of our landline–and our abusive relationship with AT&T–over a month ago. Of course, there’s still a little back and forth slapping going on with AT&T, but my blowup on Twitter did get me some satisfaction in that regard. Supposedly, the bill we shouldn’t have gotten in the first place–let alone with a late fee–has been taken care of, but I have a whole month to wait to see it in print.

Our semi-smart phone takes great pictures and since we got the case and touch screen stylus, I can type longer texts. The other good thing is that I can check my Gmail account without having to go upstairs, turn on the tower, and check a bunch of other pages like Duotrope, Twitter, and Facebook. The bad part is that now the semi-smart phone chirps whenever an email arrives. I’ve turned into a puppet for that sound. I tense up and feel the need to rush over and check what was sent. I’m learning–slowly–that most of my “mail” is actually Facebook group updates and not worthy of my immediate attention. Of course, as soon as I typed that, an actual important email did arrive…

I’m signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Just before I fell asleep last night, I found the “key” that was missing from the-new-piece-that-I-still-don’t-have-a-name-for. Looking at it again this morning, I felt stupid for not seeing the answer before since it is so obvious. Regardless, I think I’ve got it and look forward to writing it soon.

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Besides the melting snow, I have pansies and impatiens sprouting as well as deer coming too close to the house. My list of people I owe letters to has been reduced. I finished reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. I’m a quarter of the way through Thom Jones’ The Pugilist at Rest and half-way through Paulo Coelho’s Brida, which gets me closer to catching up to my goal of reading a book a week…but the idea of reviewing them, well, that has fallen to the wayside for now.

 

 

 

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I truly love the problems I have.

Thank you for stopping by! One of you lucky readers should be on the lookout for a small care package that I sent out Tuesday as a random act of kindness. Will it be you? By the way, these are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.

All sorts of excitement around here…

Apparently, the top of a Thermos can go airborne. I heard something shatter and came downstairs. Husband was still in shock that it happened at all. After the top came off, the round rubber band part struck the purple and gold art deco figurine that Bob and Merv gave me years ago. I’m still trying to figure out the angles since the rubber part was found on the other side of the room by the refrigerator. Regardless, I’m grateful it was a thing that got hurt and not Husband–or the cat. Excitement like that–first thing in the morning–is not appreciated though.

Alex Pruteanu’s post on Facebook the other day offered me some relief. He made a comment that he needed to set aside a piece he was working on which made me feel better about setting aside my own. The latest “long work” was getting too close to opening every vein I own. Eventually, I know it will be a great story–and at this point it feels like it will end up being a novella–but not yet.

I have been writing though and had four pieces picked up, including “We Were Those Girls” which made it through the first round of The Gover Prize, so it will be published in Hopewell Publication’s The Best New Writing. I have a drabble called “Snowmancing” in Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015 (Thank you Jorge Salgado-Reyes and Roy C. Booth!) On Saturday, “The Gnomes They’ve Known” will go live on Slink Chunk Issue 3 (Thank you Tegan Elizabeth!) and “If Only” (a retelling of an Indian folktale) will appear in the anthology Condensed to Flash: World Classics (Thank you Mark Budman!)

For those keeping score, of the last eight pieces I’ve written, four have been accepted and three are still under consideration.

Outside, it’s been snowy and cold, but a flock of four turkeys have been out and about, sometimes coming close to the house.

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I cannot wait to get back to the garden, but it’s going to be a while. Stupid groundhog.

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Well, these are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.

Thanks for stopping by!

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.)

It’s My Birthday

I’m sure it’s a matter of paying attention more than anything, but when I have a certain book on my bedside table and flip through it before I go to sleep, the oddest coincidences occur. It’s called “There are No Accidents.” I’m still not convinced.

Anyway, I’m older. Yeah me for not dying in the last 364 days.

The weather was finally decent and I took a walk to the creek. Surprise! The idiot neighbor placed a branch in the middle of the path. *Sigh* If you happen to know this moron, could you please point out to him that it’s easier for me to walk over there and move his phallic symbol twice a day than it is for him to go up and down the hill? I’m really sorry his brain, penis, and prestige at work are all so tiny, but really, enough. I mean if there was a point to it, okay, but there’s not. All it does it irritate me and he needn’t bother. I have relatives for that. (I’m kidding. Most of them are decent human beings. One or two of them though, I’d like to run DNA tests on before condemning a whole alien species based on the behavior of just a few imbeciles.)

Otherwise, I may be going to the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair with Mary Jo on Saturday. Details are being worked out. I hope she’s feeling well enough to do her reading.

I’m still at work on “The Life &.”  My MC was going to start a fight and I didn’t want to her to, so I punished her by not writing very much for a few days. It’s strange–this writing gig. I love FB and Twitter, Zoetrope and the other sites I’ve been on in the past. If I had these characters in my head and thought I was the only one who knew them to be as real as real people, I’d commit myself.

I have queries sent to three agents. I know, I should get more out, but I’m still dealing with an April Fool’s joke or a missed rejection. I sent two stories to a magazine in January. Only one has been rejected so far. *Sigh* I’d love to think I have a shot, but it’s such a very long shot…

The three types of peppers I planted have come up. I expect to see the tomatoes any day. Spring is a lovely time of year.

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Anyway, if you wished me well on Facebook, I do appreciate the gesture. Sorry I’m not all happy happy joy joy about surviving this year. I took some big hits emotionally. I’m sure you’re sick of my remembrances of the dead and/or dying so I won’t do a recap. Really, that’s what I’m thinking about today. It doesn’t get any better than this does it? First world white girl problems. Yeah!

Thank you for stopping by and reading!

(*These are just my creek side reflections. Your experiences may vary.)