Gover Prize

First Post of the New Year Written in a New Location

I’m at Spot Coffee and my tablet decides to update Microsoft Office. That isn’t productive for writing this blog post, so I went ahead and jotted notes down on real paper to remind myself of what I wanted to say. That I was writing – or at least attempting to write – outside of my comfort zone of known places where I normally write being the big news. That, and the beaver damn failed. It had been providing this nice waterfall view from my kitchen window for a while:

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Snow and cold made it to our area and the number of activities I had lined up for this week went from four to one, so when the meeting of novelists was threatened, I pushed through my normal homebody tendencies and declared I wanted to get out of the house. Gina to the rescue! (She is awesome, inspiring, and encourages me to finish things.) She picked me up and now I feel all “writerly” on the couch typing this while we’re waiting for Mary to arrive.

 
I wrapped up my interview with Susan Tepper about her beautiful new book and that will go live at the Tavern Lantern on Monday (Yes! Handed in ahead of the due date!) “Dear Petrov” will be coming out on 2 February 2016.

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I converted a bit of prose from a book in progress into a flash for a magazine call on the theme of “dance.” That’s about all the writing I’ve gotten done recently. Oh, well, there was a short story, too, but it was mostly written and just needed some polish.

 

 
Christopher James at Jellyfish Review nominated my flash, “Pretty Changes” for inclusion to Best Small Fictions. For those keeping score, yeah, that’s a win of the Gover Prize, a Best of the Net nomination, my first Pushcart Nomination and the Best Small Fictions nomination all in the space of six months.

 
I am honored to have two new pieces of Mia Avramut’s art to frame. I picked out the matte this weekend and can’t wait for Husband to cut it so they can be hung.

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Other than that, I’ve been reading. It’s a nice change of pace, though not “really” writing results in a host of new problems like titles, characters, and bits of dialogue popping into my head at odd times. I know I need to get back to a novel, but right now, I need a break. And new experiences so that’s how I ended up in Spot to write this post.

 
*These are merely my Creekside (though written in a coffeehouse this week) Reflections. Your experiences may vary.

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I was solicited. Not the worst thing that’s ever happened…

So that was a bit of a tease. The publisher at Hypertrophic Press contacted me about Chris DiCicco new collection, “So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds” and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the book or interviewing the author. I ran it by Brittany Warren, the Managing editor of The Literary Tavern. She said to go for it. I’m reading it now. It’s an interesting mix of stories.

I’m hoping to have it read and the interview conducted and turned in before Halloween, but I’m not going to kill myself trying to get it done. There is a wedding, a Bills game watching party, plus deadlines fast approaching. In an ideal world, I’d have clear slate for November, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’ve still “won” NaNoWriMo. Usually, I have some idea of what I want to write, but so far – aside from the title – I’m blank. After the tremendous amount of time I put into “Life and Crimes,” I think it’s to be expected.

I’ve done this enough to know that once I “see” the end, I’ll be able to get a rough draft down. It’s a tingly, full of dread and excitement phase now. Will I make it? Sadist (or insane writer that I am) I’m hoping to add more to “Dreaming Lettie” as well as writing 50,000 words toward “Considering the Alternative.” I’m covered for the 20 pages due for next month’s novel critique group meeting, plus I’ve got a few pages in my notebook for the December twenty (written during the boring parts of a Board of Education meeting) but otherwise, I’d hoped to be farther along. If we have pages due on December 1st, well, let’s just say I don’t see that happening…

Yes, I love the problems I have!

Nancy Leone, a woman I met in Bella Poynton’s playwriting workshop, has been reading the revised “Life and Crimes.” So far, so good. I had a lovely time with her yesterday over tea, apple crisp, brie, and grapes.

I finished the baby blanket and sent that off yesterday. The garden shed is cleaned up, the tool blades oiled, leaves raked and on the resting raised bed. I can’t say I’m “ready” for winter, but with all the garden tasks complete, I’ve been able to relax and enjoy the beauty of autumn. The Sweet Gum is changing color and it’s beautiful to see all of the colors it produces.

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And my copy of Best New Writing 2016 arrived yesterday. I have to admit that it’s nice to see “Gover Prize Winner” associated with my name. Many thanks to Christopher Klim, Brittany Fonte, and everyone at Hopewell Publications.

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Thanks for stopping by! Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

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

Swift-Tuttle, Tuttle’s and a frog

Last night, I stretched out on the ground and watched the sky for half an hour or so and saw at least ten falling stars–one with a trail that remained for a second or two, and I was grateful. It was supposed to be the peak of the Swift-Tuttle meteoroids and uncharacteristically, we had a new moon and there were no clouds so I could actually see them. I thought about people who are no longer on the earth and some that still are, the beauty of the stars themselves, and distant planets.

It was nice to think of things that didn’t involve characters.

I’ve been engaged in the rewrite of L&C. Once inside Gail’s “head” I’ve found it hard to get out. I need to get through this revision and on to Lettie’s POV in the new book. I only managed five pages in the new book over the last month, so I sent the first 20 of the revision to the novel critique group this month.

“Prudence,” a story I wrote is long-listed on MASH stories and you can vote on it–and the other 46 stories there.

Literary Orphans got a fantastic shout out as being listed as one of the top 20 places for flash fiction (We’re No. 8! We’re No. 8!) Plus another one in Ploughshares. Scott gave me the go ahead to contact Karen Stefano about doing an interview, so I’m ecstatic about that. Over at r.kv.r.y. I spotted Andrew Stancek’s story long-listed on the Raymond Carver Story Contest and Joan Hanna’s poetry book The Miracle of Mercury is available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Go Joan! I love and appreciate working with such talented people.

Over the weekend, Husband and I attended a graduation party. He played croquet; I played volleyball. We had a great time at the Tuttle’s. It was great to see Jim and Julie, Mitzi and Paul, and Eric and Denise again. When we first got there, Jim introduced me as an award-winning author. I looked at him and he said, “Try and deny it.” It’s kind of cool that I couldn’t. The Gover Prize win was too fresh.

Husband and I are back on a District School Facilities Review Committee. The first meeting was last night. Oh, how I have not missed a few of those people, but it was great to see Joan and Linda again. There was a cute exchange with the Interim Superintendent where we were impressed with the other–she that I could write and me that she taught math.

This is a close-up of one of the frogs in my frog pond. He’s very loud.

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I guess that’s it, like I said, I’ve been in Gail’s head. I’m over the halfway mark, so wish me luck in getting it done this weekend.

Thanks for checking in!

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Good. Golden. Overwhelming.

Since last you read, amazing things have happened in my life:

Awesome Niece Rachael announced she is going to visit us in August.

Nancy Leone stopped by and we had a lovely morning together discussing writing.

I had a strange-but endearing-meeting with a person who will henceforth be referred to as “Trouble” about Matt’s presidential campaign.

The play by Donna Hoke I directed was performed by three amazing women (Shirley Reeves, Marilyn Heary and Jeanne May.)

My interview with Beth Gilstrap about her short story collection, ” I Am Barbarella” was accepted and went live on The Tavern with the support and care to detail that only Scott Waldyn and Mike Joyce can provide.

Kim Chinquee–the Queen of Flash–gave me, Gina, and Mary a tour of her awesome home before our novel critique group meeting.

The zinnias are blooming.   Displaying IMG_20150723_103133.jpg I WON THE GOVER PRIZE!

I know, nothing like burying the lead, is there? Anyways, I’m working on yet another revision of my book on the off chance the prize encourages an agent to contact me. Take care of each other until next time!

(These are my creek side 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…

cat

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!