A Holiday Tip and Thoughts on the New Year

Here’s a tip I came across by accident: when you receive a personal/instructive rejection, print it out on holiday paper. It makes the sting of the “no” a bit easier to take.



Gina Detwiler’s book launch for Forlorn this weekend was spectacular! It was a great time, too.


Hello! It’s another Thursday here and I’m happy for two recent rejections that were not only personal, but gave great feedback. I know – it is so hard to even think about doing that at most (if not all) places, so I want to say THANK YOU to both JMWW and Forge.

You’re catching me on a good day, as I’m super excited for many reasons. Tomorrow, a piece I really like and thought turned out well will go live at Flash Fiction Magazine. I’ll also be donating blood, meeting up with Husband for his urologist appointment then off to Hamburg Writers’ Group. After that will be Saturday and we’re headed to Pennsylvania to spend time with great people, including our niece, Rachael. Bridge will be played. Other than that, we’ll see. Bridge is important. There was a threat that “heads would roll” if Bridge wasn’t played.

Of course, it’s not all fun and excitement. I’m cleaning the house – which is no fun – but I like coming home to a clean house, so it’s worth the tediousness.

As the end of the year is looming, I’m thinking about projects I want to complete, new ones to embark on, and my friends and family. At Donna Hoke’s party, I heard encouragement from Dave about needing to say “enough” at some point, so I’m coordinating with XO Man so that when I finish the next revision of Near Eden, it’s off to him. That scares me more than querying agents. Or putting a hat on the cat…


Ah well, what is life if you don’t face your fears occasionally. Thanks for stopping by and  for the read! May your holidays be happy and bright!







*These are my creekside reflections; your experiences should vary.


A Different Thanksgiving

I was still feeling strange last Thursday, that’s why this post is a week late. My essay on attending last year’s International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day appeared in the My View column of The Buffalo News on the 8th – Election Day. I didn’t know if I was going this year or not. I decided last Thursday that I would. It’s a good program and a good place to be before the holidays begin.

Thanksgiving being held on different dates, the fact that my family often celebrated on the weekend before or after the holiday and the time factor blur what this is: the 20th anniversary of an argument that changed my life.

I’d let it go if I could. I was three days into not smoking, XO Man had invited me into his life, I was planning to go back to Texas and I was happy. Then my mother and I got into a fight. It left me devastated and feeling unworthy of love, happiness, or progress. Instead of going to Texas, I stayed in a miserable spot, started smoking again, and stopped growing as a person for a long time.

At Christmas, my mother was the opposite; full of delightfulness and laughter. I didn’t trust her. My “big” present was cash, which is what I wanted. I’d also gotten a bag of little stuff. I don’t remember now – whether I found them before or after – but there were a pair of earrings in that bag that I really liked but I didn’t have time to send her a thank you note. I wore them to her funeral; I haven’t worn them since then.

I suppose that is a pattern that repeats. I don’t know what my mother was going through when she picked that fight. I doubt my stepson realizes how pissed I was last year that I was not expecting him, his girlfriend, and her best friend to arrive the next day. I didn’t have time to clean properly, Husband had told me in no uncertain terms that the wedding reception was not going to be here and I told him to tell Stepson because I didn’t want to get involved in it. No. That morning, I got a request from an agent. I had no idea when they were going to arrive, or if they still were so I was working on getting my book submission perfect when they walked in demanding all of the attention.

Last Christmas, I tried to be tolerant of Stepson’s abysmal behavior toward all of my guests and his father and I could cope until he shoved something in my face and told me to do something with it. When I refused, he walked away telling everyone I was acting like a bitch. After that fight, I have no interest in having a gathering here over the holidays, if ever again.

I’m truly grateful that Shirley Palmerton invited Husband and me to her home for dinner today. I’m thrilled to be spending this day with fellow writers and their spouses. It’s good to have found this tribe. For Christmas, we’ll be at Husband’s brother’s house. I’ll bring some food there because Niece must have her quiche so she shall. We’ve agreed to no gifts, which is a huge relief.

The novel had a hiccup and now I’m dreaming the end. It shouldn’t take much longer to finish once I sit down to wrap it up. I had another flash picked up by 200 CCs. Thank you Paul A. Hamilton. And thank you Christopher James for my faux pas. I’m truly sorry and while I am still embarrassed to death, it’s a lot harder to pull that off than I thought, especially today.

I’m grateful for all my friends, the writers and artists, the editors and designers, the singers and actors, teachers and medical professions, builders and retail workers, musicians and thinkers of different points of view as well as the people who agree with me. If you think I left you out, know you’re in a class by yourself and I didn’t want anyone to think I was playing favorites…but we know, don’t we?

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.


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


Everyone celebrates the winter season in different ways. Husband and I rarely do the proper things on the “right” days due to a multitude of reasons. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t post last Thursday because I already had enough stress going on with getting things ready for the gathering at our home last weekend.

And all I can say about that is thank the Grinch it’s over. Some people were truly outstanding in their efforts to make that the suckiest weekend ever. I’d love to blame it on the full moon though Red Bull might be to blame. I’m not sure what else to think…other than a new year is fast approaching. Billy Crystal’s confusion about the meaning of the words to Auld Lang Syne at the end of “When Harry Met Sally” also comes to mind. The fact that I still haven’t made it through “Billy Jack” niggles away at my thoughts, too.

And with that happy enigma of odd sentences, I present to you either a repeat of what I already sent or a clearer picture of where my poor head is at right now during this festive time of year:




“Why do I have to sign these cards? You haven’t written your dreaded holiday letter yet.”
“I told you not to complain or you’d be the one writing it. And addressing the envelopes. Then you can stamp them and take them to the Post Office!”
“Touchy! Is this an example of your holiday cheer?”
“Yes. Yes it is. I don’t think you know hard it is to write these things.”
“You’re a writer. It’s what you do.”
“And you’re a carpenter. Don’t I still have a hole in the kitchen floor? Weren’t you going to fix that? Isn’t that what you do?”
“I told you it wasn’t that easy.”
“And neither is writing a holiday letter to friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues without ticking someone off.”
“So don’t tick them off. Just tell them about the good stuff.”
“I can’t think of anything.”
“Riener. asked Aaron to marry him and she said yes.”
“Yeah, I know your son is getting married in September.”
“Daniel and Christina had a baby girl.”
“That was on my Facebook page, and my blog…But yeah, having both a granddaughter and a grandson now is pretty cool.”
“We went to my family reunion in Essex this July. All three of my brothers were there and you got to see Champy the Lake Champlain Sea Monster.”
“That was a wooden toy somebody put in the water!”
“But you liked the old school house we stayed in and the fireworks display in the yard.”
“And didn’t you win a prize or get nominated for some writer thing?”
“The Gover. For the millionth time I won the Gover and was nominated for a Best of the Net and a Pushcart.”
“I still don’t know what any of those are.”
“Of course you don’t. You never listen to me.”
“And you listen to me? Really? Where have I been working this year?”
“You’re still working for Kirst.”
“Funny. Where have I been working?”
“Mostly at MRI. A few days at Steuben foods. Lately, Salamanca. ”
“So you do pay attention.”
“I’m a writer. That’s what I do.”
“Well, Miss Writerly Person, if you were paying attention, you would have realized we pretty much wrote the holiday letter just now.”
“You called it dreadful.”
“Dreaded. I called it dreaded. I knew you didn’t listen to me.”
“You’re one to talk.”
“Just write the letter.”
“Sign the cards!”
“Make sure you wish everyone a Happy New Year.”
“Don’t I always?”
“I wouldn’t know. I never read those things.”

Wishing You Yuletide Warmth and Best Wishes for the New Year
From our Happy Home to Yours
~ Me and Husband ~


AWP on my Mind

I can hardly believe that A) I’m going to Boston for a week and B) I’ll be leaving soon. I made a list of places I wanted to submit before I left and when it got to be the tenth, I starred the most important places. My starred places are complete. There is one contest (Arizona Mystery Writers) that I still have time to enter, but I don’t want to stress over it. They changed contest directors and it was sweet to receive an email inviting me to enter but…eh. I have a piece started, but I don’t know if I’ll get it finished in time.

The NEA was the most important thing. I read the comments from people on Zoetrope. They said not to stress over it, just send your best writing. (And this year I did a bang-up job on my description!) I had intended to send two short stories and a novel excerpt. I re-read them and changed what I submitted. Fingers crossed that I get the thick envelope in November.

And the Valentine’s day story… Husband is not big on holidays, but he agreed that I’d get a rose on my birthday and on Valentine’s Day. This year, he ended up working with Norm the Annoying Ogre and forgot. He felt bad about this, but oh well. I left to go grocery shopping. When I returned, he had crafted this:


A rose out of a wild rose bush stem and a sprig of rose hips, construction paper and poinsettia leaves. (Yeah, he is awesome.)

On Sunday, I got a bouquet of six real ones. I cut down three and put them here, in my office.


Well, thanks for checking in. I’m off to do pilates. See you in March.

(*These are just my Creekside Reflections. Your experience may vary.)


The Last Post of the Year

When last we met, I had a slew of writing projects going on and–No Surprise–I still do. I’m at an odd juncture where creatively, I’m excited and fulfilled but eh, when I’m away from the keyboards, I feel sad. I’ll attribute it to the pre-Mayan end of the world (even though they couldn’t predict the Spanish invasion) prophesy blues.

Besides displaying the Christmas cards, only the lamp lady was decorated this year. Doesn’t she look fancy in gold?


I need snow to get into the holiday spirit, and by the time we get it, it might be Valentine’s Day. Yes, that’s one Humbug to your Bah and I’ll raise you a candy cane that’s been turned into a Christmas shiv. I love the “idea” of the holidays, but with Christmas celebrations, multiple relative reunions, company parties, etc. I’m away from my craft more than I want to be and I know I’m lucky to have this wonderful set of problems, but they are problems just the same.

So, I’ll do what I can, step by step; bird by bird and carry on. Be grateful. Smile. And wish you a happy merry joyous holiday!


This is what happens when dogs are allowed on the table.


(*These are just my Creekside Reflections. Your experience may vary.)