Mary Jo Hodge

A Thursday in December

It’s only the 6th of December and I’ve already attended two Christmas parties. I’m not complaining, I just saying…I’m having a lovely time. Last Saturday, Husband and I attended the KiRST Construction Annual Family Bowling Christmas Party at Legion Lanes. We played against Nancy and Harry and it was fun. I hadn’t bowled since last year’s party and it showed.

The mail recently has been delightful. Out of nowhere, I received Shot Girls from Kim Chinquee!

I can’t wait to dive in to this collection and my copies of the Coffin Bell Anthology arrived. It’s just stunning. Tamara Grisanti and her team at Coffin Bell did a fabulous job and I’m honored to have a story included in it. Thank you Tamara!  And as an interesting “small world” coincidence, William R. Soldan has a story in there. I was his 700th Twitter follower, and because of that, he wrote a poem for me here: One More While the Wind Blows

Monday night had me visiting the Eden Library for the first time. It’s a lovely space. I was there for Christina M. Abt’s reading. She spoke about her book, Beauty & Grace  as well as how Mary Jo Hodge had not only inspired the book, but was the reason the book got finished at all.

Tuesday was more fun at the School Board Meeting. This time, it was surreal at the end where a fog seemed to have descended and no one knew what was going on. #electedpeopleatwork

Wednesday was the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Woman’s Association Holiday Dinner and Auction. The dinner was delightful as well as the company.

And today…is #PitMad. To all that see my tweet, retweet it only – unless you’re an agent. If you’re an agent, please heart it! I am grateful to this competition – it helps me focus on the PR aspect of my book…and my next one. I do love how the more I interact with other writers, editors and agents, the more I understand the business side of publishing.

This year I participated in The Common’s Weekly Writes Workshop. I doodled a few pieces, hoping for an amazing fiction piece to emerge. What happened? A few essays. I tend to shy away from those because I go too deep. Anyways, I worked on the strongest one and asked the amazingly talented Nina Fosati to look it over. She came back with great suggestions – many of which I agree with – and I submitted it. Now I wait, as I do…

And for a final bit of good news —– I tend not to dwell on or talk about the insane amount of rejections I receive — I’m happy to say The Remington Review got back to me recently to say they accepted “Anniversary Plans.” Look for it soon! I’m signing the contract today!

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

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Words. Oh so many words . . .

I’m day two into NaNoWriMo and day four into the fabulous Kathy Fish Fast Flash workshop. So, I’m writing. A lot. On top of this, there is the reading I’m doing. There are 14 participants in the workshop, so each day there are those to read on top of my normal reading, work reading at r.kv.r.y. and Literary Orphans, and because I just don’t get enough, I’m a reader for Best of the Net this year. My group was assigned 46 stories to read. I’m up to 14 and there are two I like. It’s an interesting process to read so much, in so many styles on so many subjects.

Before NaNo began, Husband and I went out to dinner at Julie’s and then we went to the antique shop that Jody owns. I ended up with earrings – now I need to earn them.

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Local Authors Live at the West Falls-Colden Library went incredibly well.

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Again, many thanks to Mary Jo Hodge, Mary Akers, Kim Chinquee, Jeff Schober, Gina Detwiler, Deb Madar and Barbara Early for their stellar work.

Okay, I’m off to immerse and ignore the rising creek.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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

Changes like Ben

This year’s autumn has brought a few changes. The upper greenhouse window that was broken last year now has a replacement.

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Bonus, these windows open!

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And Ben has come into my life. Everyone, meet Ben, the Grey Subaru.

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Isn’t he fierce? This is the first car I’ve had in 15 years. I picked him up and got him registered on Wednesday. Thursday morning, he passed his inspection so he’s official and legal and it’s so weird to look outside and see a vehicle here. I need to start thinking differently, too. Last night I said something to Husband like, “Well after you get home on Friday I can go -” No. I don’t have to wait. I can go. My thoughts went to all the places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do and see and I had to stop. Priorities must be determined and the biggest and the best one is coming up this weekend!

Gina Detwiler, Jeff Schober, Mary Jo Hodge, Deb Madar, Barbara Early, Mary Akers and Kim Chinquee will be reading their work at 1:00pm at the West Falls-Colden Community Library on the 21st. You’re invited, so why don’t you come? It would be great to see you there! It’s autumn, the leaves are turning color. Gorgeous drive! What a great combination!

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Last week, Nina Fosati and I attended the Terry Temple Williams lecture that was part of the BABEL series. It was equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring.

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I know, bad shot, but that’s what I get for not thinking ahead. What was neat was that Jeff Schober and Kim Chinquee were there, too. Buffalo is such a small town and now that I have a vehicle, I bet it grows even smaller.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

Writing & Seasons

Yesterday, I got nine unique pieces sent out in hopes of finding a home. I couldn’t find it in me to get out another one. This year has been one of the lowest “submitting” ones I’ve ever had. I know, there’s still a few months, but I’m okay with accepting different years meaning different things. This one was all about a novel I loved, but since the rewrite, I’m worried over it, and worry takes up time.

The steps leading to the backyard have never been “right” so the most recent project is correcting them. We found out the drainage pipe is damaged, so that snag has delayed progress, but there is a solution and if the weather holds, we might finish this weekend. (And if I remember, I’ll take pictures for the next post.)

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The garden is a disaster – too much rain in the spring, ravenous slugs, and lack of time. I’ve been out there working with the baseball adage of “next year!” in my heart. Not every year of gardening will be bountiful. I did get some nice jalapeños and green beans. I think I’ll have a carrot and parsnip – unless something below the surface has nibbled them away.

I’m not Jewish – that I know of – but this post is sounding like I’m at a new year, doesn’t it? And I’m okay with that. In fact, I think it makes more sense to consider a year right now than at the end of December. I still won’t make a resolution, though. Promising to change isn’t the same as changing.

I do believe in goals and write them out, work toward them, cross them off. There is a list of ten 5-year goals on my fridge and I’ve reached some of them. In fact, seven out of ten is not bad with two years left. The ones not reached? All writing related. Ah well…I suppose I ought to work on the last three so off I go to edit, polish, rewrite and write anew.

Oh! And as a reminder: Saturday, 21 October 2017 at 1:00 there is an author reading. Please join me at the West Falls-Colden Library to hear Kim Chinquee, Barbara Early, Mary Jo Hodge, Gina Detwiler, Mary Akers, Deb Madar and Jeff Schober.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

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(It finally bloomed!)

 

*These are all my creekside reflections. Your experience 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.

Fireworks, Honey, and a Lily in Bloom

Did you have a happy 4th? Husband and I went out to watch fireworks in East Aurora on Sunday since I knew he wouldn’t want to be out late the night before he had to go to work. Capturing fireworks is tricky and after about 5 minutes it was deemed a better idea to just set the camera down and experience the barrage of color and sound.

Kudos to the people sitting by us who kept redirecting the drop-in mouthy guy who wanted to bash Trump/Hillary/Bernie loudly before I kicked him in the shins and said, “Guess what? No one is here to talk politics. There aren’t that many things we as a community gather for, so don’t be an idiot and tarnish it because you think if you’re loud you must be right.”

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(And in case you’re wondering, I’m an undecided registered independent voter and I don’t care about any of your opinions, so don’t talk to me about the election unless I specifically ask you to do so. Also, I’m not going to ask you.)

 

 

 

Beehunt

I’d hoped to have more bee pictures of the partial extraction. I asked Husband to put them on his laptop over the weekend. I even asked if he downloaded all the pictures. If they’re on there, I can’t find them. *Sigh* There’s a reason “Trust, but Verify” got to be a saying. Regardless, this is what I ended up with:

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A jar of raw honey from our very own wild bees.

MANY, many thanks to Vikki, my incredibly knowledgeable and brave sister. Love you!

 

The July issue of r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal is up and gorgeous. Jerri Bell’s “Care Packages” is deliciously written. Lucinda Kempe’s “On Perseverance: 5 Shorts” is wonderful and Len Kuntz’s “Twisters” will leave you breathless. Check them out, as well as the other amazing work made all the more incredible by Fay Henexson’s photography.

After last month’s scramble to get my 20 pages done in time for the novel critique group, I decided to drop “New Thing” and work on “Dreaming Lettie.” I’ve already gotten my required pages written plus a couple extra, though I need to slow one scene down. After I post this, I’ll be editing that and then continuing on. Working on the same thing for a little bit each day helps so much to encourage continuation. Hopefully, it will lead to completion.

I had a lovely evening last night in Eden at the Hodge’s. Mary Jo invited me and Nina Rochella Fosati for a light supper and a discussion about writing. Charles played butler beautifully, especially when he brought dessert. Mary Jo, Nina, and I talked about our writing process, submitting, agents, the good parts and the frustrations of doing this crazy thing where we take the same 26 letters and turn them into characters and force those fragile constructs into conflicts.

Otherwise, it’s been hot and dry here so I’m developing upper arm and leg strength taking multiple buckets of water out to the 4 remaining pines, 4 mounding perennial flowers and 3 blackberry bushes early in the mornings. Each time I do, I’m reminded that I’m not a morning person. Ah well, I guess that’s proof that I do love plants. Especially when they do things like this:Lily

Thanks for stopping by!

 

(The above are my creekside reflections. Your reflections may vary.)

Pics of Nearly Summer

The problem with living in the moment things is that events in the forefront are what get written about in this blog as opposed to what has already happened. As an example, I forgot to mention Husband and I went to the Arboria luminarium at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor and Tifft Nature Preserve over Memorial Day weekend.

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This past weekend was memorable for the swarm and that I learned how to post a video, but on Facebook, so you’ll have to go here, (SORRY!):

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This is the back of the house. We were outside on the patio talking as we normally do when he gets home from work. I heard a buzzing I couldn’t figure out – it wasn’t the dryer hum, it wasn’t the air compressor kicking on, etc. It got closer and I was drawn right into it. Husband had seen a swarm earlier this spring and talked to Scott, “The Bee Guy” from Delevan who told him they would be docile. Husband took out the camera and around the minute thirty spot, you can see me waving in the bedroom window, trying to get his attention.

The Swarm

This is the first video – I’d hoped to figure out how to edit the video by today, but no dice. It is clunky, and some of you have seen it before.

Regardless, we’re now looking for someone to retrieve the queen.

After that excitement, I went to the Comfort Zone for the Hamburg Writers Group meeting. Mary Jo Hodge was there and it was good to see her again. Nina Rochella Fosati read a revised version of the story she read last week. I am so impressed with her ability to go back with fresh eyes and strengthen a piece in new and interesting ways. My rewrites rarely get overhauled that much. I hope to learn that skill from her.

This weekend, we got enough gravel so our driveway resembles an actual driveway.

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The herb garden was finished.

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In three days, I wrote over 5000 words in “Dreaming Lettie” for the novel group. Deadlines are the only way some writing gets done. I’d been working on the “new thing” and stopping to go back to Lettie was a bit of a challenge. Keeping up with the lawn and garden has been fun, too. I wrapped up the labyrinth yesterday.

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The garden “complex” is closer to having a fence.

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Ten pines are our newest addition.

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And I’ve got to find time, space and energy to plant these blackberry bushes.

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Also, the beavers are back.IMG_20160616_114330

 

Good times and almost summer fun all around. Thanks for stopping by!

 

*These are only my Creekside Reflections and if yours didn’t vary from mine, that would be awkward.