Hamburg Writer’s Group

The Day After the Day of Love

I’m disgusted. I could write about guns. Or mental health care. Or schools. I have written my misogynist representative. I’ve attended forums, school board meetings, bitched on Twitter. I hope this school shooting is the last one. There is no animal you can hunt with an AK47 and if you want to whine about how you think I want to take away your rights, save it. If you don’t believe children should be safe in schools, you don’t deserve to hold anything in your hands to protect you from the truth. As Kathy Fish so eloquently wrote in Jellyfish Review, it’s gotten to the point where children can be classified as targets. That’s wrong; end of discussion. We need sensible gun restrictions and the laws we already have enforced.

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In other news, Husband brought home a lovely bouquet on the 13th so I’d have an extra day to enjoy these beautiful blooms. (Translation: He was in Hamburg that day to run an unrelated errand and also wanted to avoid the last minute rush of other husbands on Valentine’s Day at the Hess Brothers Florist shop.)

I found out I was on the long list for the London Independent Story Prize and couldn’t say anything for a day. On the 8th, I went to JD’s Brew Pub to hear J.T. and the Law play, and to keep my mind off possibly losing. They have gotten better and it was great to hear J.T.’s brother sing a song called “Galileo” and Anna sang Maddie Larkin’s songs beautifully.

Last week’s meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group consisted of me, Patrick, and Michael. The conversation about craft and submitting was both interesting and inspiring. I read the piece that was long listed and Michael said he thought I’d win. I still had doubts. On Saturday, I went to the library for my shift. It was hard to concentrate on reading submissions because I kept refreshing the LISP page to find out who won. With Lent coming up, I wanted to go out to have a glass of wine with a meal before I couldn’t. Husband let me use his phone to check. Just as we were finishing our meal at Julie’s, the winners were announced. As anyone who was in the restaurant that afternoon can tell you, I won.

 

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So, today is the last day to submit to the American Short(er) Fiction contest and I’m preparing my entries. I’ve sent out some queries to agents and next week, I send pages to my darling, awesome novel critique group after the incredible Nina Fosati has gone over the book again. In this revision, she’s highlighted the parts she particularly likes. I’m now in love with the color turquoise and I’m seeing a lot of it, which I really need because “new book” is pure dreck at the moment.

Writing…not for the thin skinned or the impatient.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read. As always, these are merely my creekside reflections so I expect your experiences to vary.

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On the right path. I think.

In case you haven’t heard, I’m now the managing editor of Literary Orphans – words I never thought I’d be privileged enough to say. I’m still numb from the news. It came during the novel revision crunch. I wanted it done by January 31st – and I succeeded – but just barely. I’ve since extended the “listen to the whole thing being read by the computer to catch any glitches” deadline to Ground Hog’s Day and may have to go further – to Sunday – because I need to catch up on real life. While I was in the book, laundry piled up, the woodpile dwindled, and Husband’s truck acted up. I stayed off-line for two days and there are Twitter & Facebook messages to look at and respond to, along with the possibility of diving into the recent scandal.

Wednesday, I found out Shirley Palmerton, a dear friend from Hamburg Writers’ Group had her piece accepted and published in the Buffalo News “My View” column. It is sweet and made me miss my great grandparents and my grandmother.

I also got what I’m taking as a sign from the universe that I’m on the right path. In the emails with Scott, he said at one point I was “someone who lives and breathes indie lit,” which was so sweet. I received an email from Page & Spine accepting “Anam Cara,” one of the early flashes that were the genesis of this book. In the story, the two main characters mention Karen Stefano, Pat Pujolas, and of course the great Alex Pruteanu. Many thanks to N. K. Wagner for the acceptance and her lovely compliment.

Right, so I need to end this and get to work catching up on boring household chores so I can start the fun of querying agents. This time, I’m looking forward to the process. I’m also looking forward to finding out what the little rodent says tomorrow. Gardens in winter are forlorn looking, and kind of sad.

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Thanks for stopping by and the read!

 

 

 

 

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

Projects, Procrastination, and Self-Censorship

If you’re keeping tabs, more work was to continue in the kitchen. A dishwasher wasn’t exactly promised, but darn close. Anyway, that has been shelved because of a touch of mold in the bathroom has led to chaos, repainting, and tile. Or will soon.  *Sigh.*

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I completed Kathy Fish’s fabulous Fast Flash Workshop and highly recommend it. In the writing I was doing there, I went deeper than normal, which was a little unsettling. I didn’t post the “object” prompt because that led into something longer.  I thought I was being brave when I sent it to the incredible Nina Fosati for her thoughts. Her response was to go even deeper . . . so I’m considering it.

Let’s say it involves a messed up situation and I’ve self-censored about it this week already. Seriously, I had trouble with one piece that I really liked, but couldn’t get to end right. I imagined someone and it fell into place. Great. But then, it was accepted and someone quoted a line and this thrilled me and I went to post a link on Facebook .  . . and realized I shouldn’t. Luckily, I had a three-year-old memory pop up and pimped that instead.

It’s a miserable drizzly day here and I’m struggling to find bright spots.

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The baby waterfalls was the best I could do. I’m behind in my work count for Nano, my reading at both magazines and the extra reading I’m doing for the Best of the Net awards and a new member of Hamburg Writers’ Group sent a book that I said I’d read the first chapter of . . . and haven’t opened. So, thank you for stopping by. I know it wasn’t much, but I need to get back to the work I love and ignore the impending torn out drywall and paint drips.

*These are my creekside reflections and I hope your experience varies.

Taking Comfort in Small Things

If you haven’t checked it out, please take a look at Harryhausen, Issue # 31 of Literary Orphans. It’s the first one with me being a Fiction Editor there, and it includes the first – and so far only – piece I’ve accepted in that capacity. Many thanks and congratulations to Tara Isabel Zambrano for her awesome story, “Measurable Hours.”

This is an incredible issue with pieces by Meg Tuite, Paul Beckman, and a story called “Bendy Bone” by Jenna Lyles. Hannah Lanier’s poem, “The World is a Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothing” is an interesting piece worth the read. If you can’t tell, I love my job and am honored to read and champion work like this.

And thank God for art. I’m grateful for the daily choices Nina Fosati posts on Twitter. Last month was Women in Blue, this month is all about Autumn Women. It’s a daily dose of beauty and I appreciate it since the world feels like it’s gone particularly mad lately. Tuesday, I took a long walk in the woods. It helped some. The message I found while walking the labyrinth was to take comfort in the small things so I admired the sparkly rocks and the wildflowers. And then I went into the garden shed . . . There’s a window at the end which looks out at the frog pond. Lately, there have been 6-8 of them.

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I go in and peer out at them because they are skittish and will dive if I walk too close to the pond. Tuesday, I was passing through to go up the hill and I noticed something on the ledge. It was a frog. I walked over and he jumped off. I thought it odd. I left and when I returned to close the doors, the frog was back and I got a blurry picture.

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It was strange to become the watched. When Husband came home, we joked about how I’d missed my chance to kiss it and have a prince. Maybe. Maybe it’s good enough to have the small hope of inexplicable things in life. It beats thinking about the Las Vegas massacre and how disgusted I am because it wasn’t new. It wasn’t even news; it’s just life in the USA anymore.

Not that I’ve become jaded.

My piece, “The Basket Case” will be included in the Ellipsis One anthology. Magazines my work has appeared in are on display in the Concord Public Library (Thank you Kara Kane!) along with other local writers. Local Authors Live! – the occasional series I host – is coming up soon on the 21st.  The last few meetings of Hamburg Writers’ Group have been a delight and even though the novel critique group didn’t meet on Tuesday, we were in contact.

Perhaps the small things are the greatest comfort anyone can ask for . . .

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Thanks for stopping by!

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

Nope, no NaNoWriMo this year.

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.

Halloween isn’t as scary as this election campaign has been…

 

welcomeThis election cycle has been the worst one ever and I CANNOT wait for it to be over. Why was there NO trigger warnings issued? That’s what I want to know. So, that being said, let us move on to the beauty of the still blooming morning glories

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and the Sweet Gum changing colors.

I went to another Girl’s Night Out, this time at Kim Chinquee’s beautiful home. It is such a treat to be around such smart and interesting women. I also met Tamara Grisanti and hope to work with her in the future. So MANY thanks to Kim for being an awesome host. I’m pushing my comfort zone to drive into Buffalo, but am so glad I am doing it.

The Hamburg Writers’ Group is putting out their second anthology and I’m privileged to not only have some of my work included, but to have been part of the editorial process. HUGE thank you to Nina Fosati for being the true mastermind behind the project. One of the pictures that wasn’t chosen as the cover photo was so inspiring to me that I plan to incorporate it into one of the stories and should I ever get to the end, maybe use that as the cover for the Pete and Tara Stories or whatever title I eventually come up with should I go with the self-publishing option.

That seems so far off in the future though. I‘ve never written a book this way before and I can‘t say I hate it because it seems to be falling into place, but I find myself nit picking and tweaking every time I turn around so, to me, the progress seems slow. I’m at roughly 35,000 words now. When I do NaNoWriMo, I put that many words out in about 21 days and technically, I’ve been working on this since August.

And I’m nervous about the whole thing. Yes, I’ve had some success with individual flashes that have since become fuller chapters, but I could not switch out of this book and return to “Dreaming Lettie” so I sent the first 24 pages to Mary Akers and Gina Miani for this month’s critique. I am so anxious to hear their opinions on these characters. Ugh! The angst of waiting.

Plus I’m not sure I’ll be able to participate in NaNoWriMo this year and I’ve been doing it so long it feels weird to not do it. Another ugh.

I know…it could be worse. There could be another year of the presidential campaign instead of mere weeks.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

Vote for Joan Kelly on 17 May 2016 for SGI : A blog post

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Happy Cinco de Mayo and welcome to this post which is being written at a Chevy dealership while waiting for an oil change. One of the dealers is calling to wish people happy birthday and I’m wondering how I’d feel if they called me. If it was to say “Happy Birthday, you’ve won a free car/one month’s car payment/a free oil change, I’d probably like that a lot.

I’m here because one thing led to a minor renovation and since my novel writing group is coming on Tuesday, I really need things finished so Husband is at home painting instead of sitting here. Originally, the thought was that I wanted the space under the kitchen sink painted brilliant white so it would be easy to see things underneath. The next thought was that he wanted to buy a good paint sprayer to tackle that job.  That led to other things I’d like painted, which made him consider getting a fairly decent sprayer and after that, well I forgot the logic, but there was some and now all sorts of cleaners are hanging out on my kitchen counter instead of on the shelves above the washing machine closet because those are torn out and will be replaced once the painting is done.

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If you live in the Springville Griffith Institute area, I urge you to vote out the nonsense and vote for Joan Kelly. Joan is decent, hardworking, and listens to people. Of course you’ll need to vote in the atrium of the high school instead of the library because of “safety concerns.” Allison Duwe’s safety of being reelected is under threat due to her complete incompetence so she’s punishing the elderly in the area who thought her idea of a new gym was ridiculous and voted against it 1553 to 348 or something close to that. No one can accuse her of being a good sport, or a gracious loser, or even a decent person for that matter, and that is my opinion so settle down if you don’t agree. It’s my blog and I get to have my say—at least until next January it’s supposedly a free country with freedom of expression and freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment.

Otherwise, the miniature rose bush that Husband got me for my birthday is about to bloom again, the world out my Creekside window is going green and the peas are planted. I got another 20 pages written for a book, I’m working on two essays that may combine into one long one and I just got an ARC of “Hoopity Time Machines” by Christopher DeWan which I’ll be reviewing for The Tavern Lantern portion of Literary Orphans. I also have two pieces by Nina Fosati from the Hamburg Writers Group, a paper by Nancy’s niece, and the novel pages for my novel critique group to either read or reread and leave comments on and…yeah, I could go on about other reading and writing, but I brought “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr with me so I’m off to read that and will post this when I get home.

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Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!

(*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences might vary.)