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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Akers’

Apologizes for my tardiness, but I have fantastic excuses. The first is that the rewrite is going well so I’ve been focusing on that, but the biggest focus has been figuring out the details of our trip to Essex for the family reunion. The car rental is reserved, tickets for the play we’ll be seeing while we’re there are bought, and a cat sitter has been found. Now I’m down to packing, making pasta salad for 40 and cleaning the house before we leave. Piece of cake.

Yesterday there was a tornado in Hamburg. I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it to Tamara Grisanti’s place for her soy candle party, but I did and it was lovely. Iced Lemon Biscotti and Beach Linen were the two Hemlock House candles I bought and would recommend to everyone. We also got to sample some masculine scents that Tamara’s husband created for a bachelor party. I hope they make more of those soon. Kim Chinquee was there, too, and now I have a copy of Veer that will be traveling with me.

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There’s a novel critique group coming up and I’m psyched to see Mary Akers and Gina Detwiler again. It’s been too long! Tonight, I’ll be at Comfort Zone for the Hamburg Writers’ Group. Last week, I had the truck and spent time across the street at SPoT Coffee writing two new flashes. Yes, I’m back to being active in Hot Pants on Zoetrope.

Also, I want to say I was so happy to finally accept my first piece for Literary Orphans as Fiction Editor. Congratulations Tara Isabel Zambrano! Her stunning piece, Measurable Hours, will be in the September Issue.

Gardenwise, the hydrangea is blooming

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and the yellow flowers that attract so many different types of bees are opening up.

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Writing is a strange process. The more time I don’t have time to write, I write more. A friend of mine was lamenting that he’d just been given a chunk of time and space to do nothing but write and he’s written next to nothing. I’m thinking about ordering him a candle from Hemlock House so the amazing scents will reawaken his imagination.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

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

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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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Once again, I started this blog post only to discover I could write most of an essay without thinking about it. I don’t know if I’ll finish this one—I haven’t looked back at the last one yet. That’s out of laziness, not fear. This latest assemblage of words scares me a bit since I’d be unmasking a “truth.” Sigh. I don’t know. I suppose I should write it, try to find it a home, explain —like in most essays— that we, as humans, are less different than we suppose.

I had a bit of niceness writing wise. The editor at The Journal let me know that my story “Anum Cara” went far in the process but ultimately didn’t make the cut. The nicer part being that he genuinely seemed interested in me sending more work. What I have plans to do is pull up that story, look at it again and send it out. If it was close for a venue that sports a 1.09% acceptance rate on Duotrope, the odds are in its favor to be accepted somewhere. It worked for “Our Mother’s  Memoir was Published Posthumously. On Purpose.” Mark Budman at Vestal Review gave it a “good” rejection and the next time I pulled the story up, I changed a few words and sent it off and BOOM. It will be up in Blueshift Journal #7 soon.

The days of Board of Education duties are soon to be over and then it’s back to audience member for me. Whatever will I do with my free time – other than read books that I choose instead of Alison Duwe’s choices? Well, there is the revision of “Near Eden, New York,” which “Anum Cara” is a chapter of, to complete. Luckily, it’s in fairly good shape so knock on mahogany that won’t be a horrible slogging mess. I could be wrong though. Nina Fosati sent two pieces last night with the lament, “Are they ready? I can’t tell anymore,” and those were for short stories. Mary Akers is going through the same thing with changing the point of view in “The Belongers.” Sure, writing is rewriting but where does one get the gumption? If you hear of a sale, please let me know.

Otherwise, it’s been rainy outside. I need to pull out the tulip and crocus bulbs and plant the lilies I just got. The neighbors would probably appreciate it if the lawn got mowed—at least the roadside yards—but eh, it’s too wet and I don’t care about property values at the moment. It isn’t like anyone drives by to consider moving here. The road is in piss-poor shape and there are no new businesses to attract people to the area. Well, these two were attracted to our property. Probably because of the lack of traffic on the road.

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

 

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In Zoetrope, Mary Lynn Reed recently told of an inspiring ending to an old story. She dusted off some earlier work, sent it out again, and had it accepted. I’m exaggerating, but it was something dramatic like 10 years, 1000 submissions and boom! The piece ends up accepted at a great venue. You know where this is going…

I recently received a personal rejection from Vestal Review on a piece. I was ready to stash it, but after that post, I looked it over, tweaked it and sent it off to The Blueshift Journal. Three days later—on my birthday—I  received an acceptance from them. That totally made up for having to attend a Board of Education Meeting later on that night. Even that went well! I was given a bag of Girl Scout cookies that I shared with the administrators when they gave their reports, there were no public comments, no executive session, and we were out of there BEFORE 9:00!

The next day arrived with a mystery. I, and other writers were mentioned in a Tweet by Mr. Bear regarding a show on Boston Free Radio. I pinged my niece, she knew nothing about it. I asked Mary; she didn’t know, so I found the station online (mind you I was misdirected with “download this” for over 40 minutes or I would have mentioned it on Facebook) just before 8 so I was able to listen to the whole show. The title was These are No Ordinary Gardens and you can listen to the podcast here. (Mine is the last piece, sandwiched between songs by The MaMas and the PaPas’ and The Cure. Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Jan Stinchcomb, Jolene Mcillwain, Marilyn Horn-Fahey, and Jennifer M. Donahue are the other authors, and Georgia Bellas is the DJ.)  Let me tell you, that was the most amazing thing – to hear someone read my work! I have no idea how my flash came to Mr. Bear’s attention, but I’m so grateful! And that Jellyfish Review got a plug, too? Awesome!

The Monday birthday meant we went out for a nice lunch on Saturday. Shoe shopping and a trip to the bookstore were included, so it was a great day and on Monday, Husband brought me roses.

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Spring felt like it was here; we even had the usual signs:

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Now it looks like this:

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Ah well…Another lovely problem, right? I have another that I’m off to solve. I don’t have any more flash to send out! I have to create more. I love my problems. I hope you appreciate yours, too. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

*These are my Creekside reflections. Your experiences may 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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