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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Akers’

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.

4.27.2017

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.

4.3.2017

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

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4.4.2017B

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:

2-15-2017

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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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.

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On the 25th of September, I went to a Fashion Show that benefited the Hospital. It was interesting. On the 29th I drove to a place called Steer for a Girl’s Night Out hosted by the lovely and talented Kim Chinquee. That was a lot of fun. Between the two, I hosted the novel critique group and made quiche. Again, many thanks to Gina Miani and Mary Akers for making the drive and being fun to talk to and commiserate with over the nuttiness that is writing.

I’ve been busy piecing together this Pete and Tara saga into a book. Their hot sex scene is up — with all the warnings in the world implied for those with sensitive sensibilities– here at Bare Back Magazine. In pairing and/or extending the flashes into longer chapters, I have a solid 16,900 words in and haven’t got to that bit yet. I’m close to where “Something To Talk About” happens. *Sigh*

Otherwise, it’s been all about the canning.

(This isn't all I've canned)

Pictures of the wedding aren’t transferred yet, but I did scroll through them. There are one or two that aren’t bad. That task was on the weekend list…but Husband decided he’d –without my input– buy the new hearth rug. SO MUCH MEDITATION!!! I’m letting it go…and never combining my weekend list with his again.

Thanks for stopping by!

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*These are my creekside reflections. That is the creekside view this morning. Your experience and view should be very different.

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