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Posts Tagged ‘Gina Detwiler’

Kudos to the wondrous Kathy Fish for hosting the Fast Fiction Reunion on Zoetrope this weekend. I met some wildly talented writers and had a blast. Plus, I wrote two new flashes. Yeah! It hasn’t been that long since I finished a piece, but it feels that way. Now, if I could just make time to submit…

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I’m in the middle of a minor kitchen project and when I say “I,” I mean Husband is doing the work and I’m coping with the displacement of things so of course this morning, Allison suggests coming round to drop off the “appreciation gift.” My life resembles a sit-com at times.

I’m honing “Near Eden, New York,” based on great suggestions from Nina, Mary, and Gina, plus my own thoughts after leaving it alone for a few months. My synopsis needs work, too. Being a writer is such fun, let me tell you. But I do take time to enjoy the roses.

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Literally. This is the sight that greets me on my way out the door.

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Sadly, the peonies are already waning.

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The bulbs that I can’t remember the names of are thriving in these days before the official start of summer. I hope you’re enjoying your time, no matter what you’re doing. As for me, I’ll be diving back into Tara and Pete’s story. It’s a lovely place to be.

Thanks for stopping by and the read!

 

 

(These are my creekside reflections. No sense getting worked up about them if they don’t agree with yours.)

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In case you missed it, I am Fiction Editor at Literary Orphans now!!! This thrills me like you wouldn’t believe. I thank Scott, Mike, and Brittany for being such wonderful people to work with and willing to let me join the next tier. And as I assured Mary, I will remain in my position at r.kv.r.y., too.

The Blueshift Journal published “Our Mother’s Memoir was Published Posthumously. On Purpose.” Oye, I’m so glad. The original version was written on 4/16/11. I worked on it occasionally and earlier this year got a higher tier rejection from Vestal Review. I looked at it again, tweaked it and boom! Six years later, acceptance.

And while that is a tale of not giving up, I admit that I did give up on this lilac bush. I planted it at least 5 years ago and nothing. I quit weeding around it, neglected it, really. Yesterday, it caught my eye.

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Gorgeous, isn’t it? And it smells great.

I nervously sent my pages to Mary and Gina. Nervous because “Sweet Spot” was part of it and in an earlier chapter I’d mentioned how badly written most sex scenes are so I was basically setting myself up for comparison to that and if I didn’t nail it, if it wasn’t right, organic, plausible, good, I feel the whole book would have failed. It worked. There were a few (very few) comments on that part so, now I have the confidence to proceed with the rewrite.

So here’s to more reading and writing!

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The Columbine and Iris are in bloom and even after all this rain, the tomato plants are in the garden. On a deeply personal note, Husband and I have made it another year so happy 17th anniversary to the man who never reads this blog unless I print it out.

Have a lovely day.

Thank you for stopping by and reading.

Remember, you are a great person!

Cheers!

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

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The problem with “not writing” is that when I do, I end up writing deeper than I intend. The blog post I started for today has – somehow – turned into a craft essay. If I remember, I’ll get back to it, but in the meantime: Congratulations Nina Fosati for your story in Breath & Shadow! Gina Detwiler , congratulations on finishing Antillia! You both ROCK! Thank you for inspiring me!

It’s warming up outside and lovely things are in bloom.

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The one raised bed has been plowed up. (Thank you, Husband!) If it’d stop raining, I can get the peas planted. Otherwise, I’m hoping to visit garden places soon and choose tomato and pepper plants. This is the first year I haven’t grown any from seed which I don’t feel bad about since there are first times for everything. I will plant squash, sunflowers, and other things by seed in May. So there you go, those are my garden plans of the year.

I’m eager to get the “cabana” back up and the swing inside. Writing out there last year was so fruitful; I can’t wait to recreate that magic. This Lent, I learned a few different things about myself and my writing. Allowing myself to not write was healthy in some respects, but now I feel “backed-up.” Like not drinking a whole beer the first time I have a drink after abstaining, I’ve grabbed a set of 5 words from Hot Pants (Thank you Kim Chinquee!) and tried my hand at 300 word flash this past week. It’s going well, though yesterday I ended up with a 981 story that needs to be expanding. Ah, the twists, turns, and so-called thrills of being a writer.

I hope you’re well. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

 

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

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I’m back from AWP in D. C. and had the best time while I was there!

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For a long time, my novel critique group has been saying, “We should go to a conference together.” Well, things fell into place and after I spent the night at Gina’s house on Tuesday, Mary showed up and we drove to D. C. We got there Wednesday afternoon, checked into the hotel, registered with the conference then we had dinner with the brilliant writer, Pamela Erens.

Up early on Thursday, I went to a 9am panel called, “Demystifying the Business Side of Writing and Publishing.” Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum led it and I learned great things from him, Whitney Davis, Carmen Gimenez Smith, Paula Munier, and Joshua Shenk.

From there, I went to “Time, Space, and Community,” led by Jac Jemec. The ins, outs, and quirks of residencies were discussed by Rebecca Makkai, Rachel Cantor, Erinn Beth Langille (I ❤ her!) and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan. You know what’s fun? To know one’s underpants are part of this equation.

From the bowels of the Marriott Marquis, I went to the Book Fair and hit my prime targets. I tried to meet Paul Vega and failed. I did meet Kurt Baumeister—author of Pax Americana—and James Reich from Stalking Horse Press. (Talk about a thick business card!) I also tried to see Robert Vaughan at the Word Tango table and P. E. Garcia at The Rumpus, but all I got was an awesome tee shirt and mug that each say “Write Like A M-F.” (Sure, by M-F, I did mean mushroom finder. We can work with that, but I took a picture.)

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Mimi Schwartz, Phillip Lopate, Richard Hoffman, and Laurie Stone did a fantastic job of letting me know when real names were important or not during their panel called, “I Didn’t Ask to Be In Your Story: When Real Names Matter and When They Don’t.”

The next panel was awkward for the match up. I mean, ROXANE GAY was there—my hero! During “Beyond the Deadline: Surviving (And Thriving) In Magazine Publishing, it felt like  Katelyn Belyus was doing a great job but her panelists weren’t the target people to ask the questions she was asking. It was fantastic to listen to Chip Blake, Sy Safransky and Ms. Gay and watch them keep their cool.

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“Women’s Fiction: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It,” explained the reason why some agents requested comp titles. Thank you Dorian Karchmar!

Meeting up with Mary at the VCCA group meant I got to meet interesting people like Randon Noble. The conversation turned to food, which led to my first time eating Korean food. After that, I also had my first Uber ride with a guy who played a Mr. Rogers YouTube video and I fell a little bit in love with the whole idea of Washington, D. C. as a “city.”

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Friday meant Gina and I had breakfast together at the Washington Plaza near the pool. We attended the “Second Blooming: Women Authors Debuting After Fifty.” It was interesting, but I couldn’t help thinking that the people present kept saying they entered multiple contests, which required many dollars to enter so tier success seemed money driven and that bothered me. Does it mean only old people can be published IF they throw down thousands of dollars to win a prize? I didn’t raise my hand to ask Ellen Meeropol, Paulette Boudreaux, Jeanne Gassman or Cynthia Bond because I left there a bit early to call Husband.

From there, I went to “Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Organizing and Structuring Story Collections, but I couldn’t find the archives room on the map, and you know me with maps—I ended up in Salon F for “The Shape of Fiction: A Look at Structuring Novel Length Prose.” I sat down and Cliff sat on the end. A woman came in to claim the seat between us, but Cliff said, “Why don’t you sit in my seat and I’ll sit by my friend.” (Yeah, that’s right, Cliff Garstang referred to me as his friend!) Anyways, Christian Kiefer was the moderator and he was funny. It was an interesting panel with Jeff Jackson, Esme Weijun Wang, Janet Finch and Kristin Chen.

 

I then attended “From Flash Fiction to Microfiction: How Many words are Enough?” What an excellent panel! Pamela Painter, Sherrie Flick, James Thomas, Nancy Stohlman, and Grant Faulkner talked about prompts and results. Walking over to introduce myself to Grant, I ran into Len Kuntz! He was there with Robert Vaughan! They invited me to their table at the Renaissance for later that night.

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After that, I hit the Book Fair again. I saw Gina who was going with Mary to see Emma Straub & Ann Patchett speak in the Ballroom. I thought about going but decided I needed some alone time. At the hotel, I texted Jimmy and arranged a night out with him. He picked me up and we drove to Arlington to pick up his lovely fiancée, Lindsay. From there, we went to the El Paso Café for margaritas and quesadillas. The drive back into Washington was beautiful—multiple monuments were lit up. At the Marriott Marquis, we attempted to find Mary, but couldn’t find her. We popped into the Sewanee Writer’s Conference Reception. I did find Cliff, but it was so loud, we left.

At the Renaissance, we found a table populated with the brilliant Robert Vaughan, Len Kuntz, April Bradley, Karen Stefano, David S. Atkinson, and Robert P. Kaye It was such a great time. Jimmy and Lindsay left after one drink because they had to drive home.

Mary texted, then came to the bar. As that collection was breaking up, Cliff and my new best friend Jody Hobbs Hesler came round and we went to the next bar and before I could believe it myself, it was last call. I toddled back the many blocks to my hotel and in my effort to be Best Roommate Ever, I took off my jacket, blazer, and shoes before I went into my room so not to disturb Gina. Well, I left my blazer hanging on the next door’s knob. I woke to see Gina gone, my blazer missing and vague memories from the night before—a few captured on my phone.

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(This last one was from Mary’s phone. Thank you Mary!)

Anyway, after quizzing Mary, I went downstairs, asked at the desk and got my blazer back. I went to the Book Fair, bought Robert’s Vaughan’s Funhouse and he signed it. At the Word Tango table, I got to chat again with the lovely Jennifer Kircher Carr and meet Elizabeth Pettie. I ran into David S. Atkinson and he handed me his book, Apocalypse All the Time, for possible review. I picked up the free book I’d won in a drawing by Writing By Writers. I was supposed to wait until 4 p.m. but as I was leaving, I was able to choose The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch.

I saw Pamela on the way out to meet Gina and Mary. While waiting, I saw the guy from the first panel and had a chance to talk to him and exchange business cards. Such a circle, huh?

It was lovely fun. I’ve left out meeting Gay Degani in the hall just before a panel and getting a hug…not having to feel bad about missing Kim Chinquee’s off-site reading…receiving Mia Avramut’s lovely message…randomly bumping into Claudia Cortese on the sidewalk…finding P. E. Garcia’s voice fine, not strange…getting to meet Paul Vega later on…Beth Gilstrap recognizing me…and a thousand other details that were fabulous though not as fabulous as you for having read all the way through!

THANK YOU!

It’s great to be back though I did have to have my picture retaken at the Board of Education meeting on Monday night and the weather returned to winter and it looks like this outside:

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Ah, home…

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

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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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This is the first time in years I haven’t committed to National Novel Writing month and it’s jarring. I’m far too involved with this book about Pete and Tara to drop it for something new. At roughly 43,000 words, I think it’s going to end up being 80,000. The midway was reached at 40,000, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Otherwise, I’m typing this at the office. I’m off work, so don’t think I’m blogging on company time, or that I’m working for a company for that matter. Actually, you can think whatever thoughts you want. I’m just waiting for Husband to come pick me up. Then it’s fun times ahead with a trip to the post office then home to make dinner and catch up on laundry before posting this to wordpress.

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That’s a picture of what it looks like from my work desk. Past the bench, there’s a table (Made by Husband) where the Bemer mat rests. The orange Post-it is where the metal brace is going to go so yours truly won’t have to stoop to press the controls. Yes, that’s my job, hooking up people and pressing buttons. Also, I serve water. If you try Bemer – and you should – drink water, it helps so much with the treatment.

I have two pieces that will be up shortly. I am so excited! One was a piece written during the Kathy Fish workshop and the other is a Pete and Tara story. Many, many thanks to the amazing Cristopher James at Jellyfish Review and Les Weil at The Flash Fiction Press. I don’t know which one of these acceptances makes me happier and I’m overwhelmingly grateful to have that as an issue in my life.

Speaking of gratitude, I sent the first pages of the Pete and Tara stories to Mary Akers (Congrats on the gorgeous edition of Bones of an Inland Sea) and Gina Detwiler for critique this month and they didn’t kill me for not finishing up with Dreaming Lettie. Again, it was a matter of being caught up with Pete and Tara and since I’m not writing it the way I usually write a novel, I feel I need to keep an eye on all the moving parts in here to make sure it turns out right before I go on to something else. I’m also polishing as I go, so hopefully, when I reach the end, I’ll be done. And that’s another thing that’s bothering me. I’ve always known the end before I begin a book and now, I’m working without that. It’s slightly terrifying. Such a lovely problem, too.

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The Best of 2016 came out! If you want a copy, email me and let me know. It was a great experience working with Nina Fosati and Nelson Locher on this edition of Hamburg Writers’ Group writing. It is a great group of people and I’m glad Mary Jo Hodge suggested I join and that Jim Miner allowed me entry.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

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

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This morning, between the spats of rain, I’ve seen a swallowtail butterfly flitting around the flowers. Yesterday, I spotted a newly hatched monarch and I was so grateful that Husband made an effort to mow around the milkweed.

I’ll often stop washing dishes when the hummingbirds come to the feeder on the window outside the kitchen, but Tuesday, it was empty and I washed and filled it. I still had my hand on it – standing right there so it wasn’t like I was trying to camouflage myself – and a hummingbird came to feed. I don’t know if it was extremely hungry or incredibly trusting, but it was a thrill to be so close and feel the wind from its wings. I have this lovely friend who sends out a newsletter about nature, animals, and spiritual concerns. Because of her, I’ve been more attuned to nature recently and noticing strange things like that occurring more often, probably only because I am paying attention.  (Thank you Kellie!)

Recently, I used my gift card to Barnes and Noble to purchase one of those calendar organizers, you know, the ones that look impossibly thick with pages to plan your week and list goals and you wonder why anyone would ever need one that size. Let me tell you, I didn’t realize it, but I have needed one for a very long time. I’ve only had it for a few weeks and I’m already amazed at how easy this has made my life. So, Stepson, if you’re reading this, thank you for the Christmas present.

Yesterday was Husband’s birthday and even though it was a milestone, he didn’t want a fuss, so he didn’t get one, but he did get a card, a pan of brownies instead of a cake, and a case of his favorite beer.

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I posted a similar pic on Facebook and was delighted at the number of likes and birthday wishes it generated. Also, I know it’s small minded and petty, but I do wish people wouldn’t use his first name on Facebook, because, well, I’m not sure he wants to be associated with the likes of me via social media.

And Husband’s birthday is not the only close family member’s birthday this month. There are at least seven, plus two friends that are like family, and there’s a baby shower to attend and an ex-in-law’s anniversary to celebrate, so yes Hallmark, I am keeping you afloat…not that I expect a big company such as yourself to send me a thank you card.

Besides sending out tons of greeting cards, I’ve also been weeding the garden, mowing the trails, weed-eating the labyrinth, reading, making and drinking gallons of sun tea, cooking, cleaning, stressing out over Stepson’s impending wedding and the guests we’re putting up and the accompanying dinner menus, who’s getting where and when, attending Board of Education meetings, Hamburg Writers Group Meetings, looking forward to the novel critique meeting, being thrilled for friends with book releases (Congrats Gina Detwiler, Jeff Schober, Mary Akers, Claudia Cortese), enjoying the results of the Bemer treatments, being excited to start as a Bemer tech tonight, submitting two things a day because I was down to something stupid like only four things out plus fretting over the pink hibiscus and goji plants that I bought at the East Aurora farmer’s market last week which haven’t gotten planted yet, but man do the bees love them both.

 

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If I was reading this, I’d think that was all I was doing, but actually, I’ve been doing a lot of writing. These two characters, Pete and Tara, will not leave me alone. I’m taking old and new word lists from Hot Pants and even though I can’t find a story with the words, “Boogieman, ankle, Dumbo, kiwi and tax,” they do, and make it all about them. I decided to make them have sex so they’d have what they wanted and leave me alone. Was that good enough for them? No, they were right back at it yesterday and used a Kathy Fish Workshop Reunion prompt to get there. I read that piece, “Sweet Spot,” to Husband and his response was “I didn’t know you had it in you,” which made me not want to associate with him on social media.

Oh, and we have new art!

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

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

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