National Novel Writing Month

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.

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The Post Valentine’s Day Post

Greetings! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day – and if not – realize it’s one day a year and it’s over now. On my Facebook Timeline, a “memory” from 3 years ago popped up. It was when Husband crafted a rose for me. I shared it and he ended up with mad props from a bunch of people. Does that count as my Valentine’s Day gift to him?

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I chose a white rose with gentle red markings on the tips while we were at Wegman’s. I was/am happy with that. On Sunday – the day – Husband bought me a miniature rose bush. He is such a sweetheart.

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Next week I start a Flash Fiction workshop with Kathy Fish. I am so excited! I’ve admired her work for a long time. I can’t find my copy of Wild Life, but will be hunting it down to reread before class. Yes, I am that suck up.

The class is coming at a great time; I haven’t been producing much. I’m not blocked. It feels more like taking a breather. I’ve had several ‘insights’ into the book that I wrote for National Novel Writing Month – generally arriving seven minutes after I curl into bed for the night. I’ve dutifully jotted them down knowing the rewrite will be happening soon enough. I don’t know when, but it’s part of my process and I’ve learned to trust it.

Speaking of trust…I feel sorry for anyone who ends up with Leslie Gibbins as a lawyer. She is why I’m late posting today. Things that should have been taken care of in 2007 remain incomplete. Now, with a real lawyer, we’re figuring this out and correcting her ineptitude. Seriously, there is a couple in town that I do not like and I wouldn’t even want them to choose her as a legal representative. The worst part being that we didn’t choose her; someone else did. I know, maybe Leslie’s fun to drink with, but it’s Lent and I gave that up. Maybe she’s improved with age – I don’t know, but today, I am upset (but not surprised) by her failure to do something simple. Not that she cares, but it’s costing us hundreds of dollars. If it weren’t a pointless and costly endeavor to try to sue a lawyer, we’d be tempted. This, of course, is just my opinion, from my dealings with her…a reflection if you like. Creekside and all that…

Cheers! Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary (I should hope so!)

If it’s the 19th, I must be up to 31673 words.

 

{~Photos graciously provided by Joseph Fleckenstein~}

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Participating in National Novel Writing Month is a process that continues to fascinate me. I won’t say it gets easier, or that I am any closer to having a “real” book by the end, but each time I find a rhythm. I completely “pantsed” this year and so far, I’m finding my way – though by now, the beginning needs major reworking. Oh, how I love the problems I have.

 
I forget which “law” it is, but to me, writing is motion and once engaged, I write even more. My co-workers have been nailing comments on pieces sent to Literary Orphans, so I’ve mostly bowed out of commenting there because, “What Len said” and “Brittany summed it up nicely” grows tiresome, even to my own ear. I do read, and I vote. That is the loveliest thing – if you submit to LO, your piece is read by at least three people.

There’s more responsibility and leeway at r.kv.r.y. I made an executive decision Sunday night. A writer sent a piece and said he’d appreciate any feedback. It’s customary to wait a week before responding – I don’t know why that is, it just is. Anyway, the writing was good but the story wasn’t “there.” I offered my reasons and reasoning as to why I wasn’t accepting the piece. It was a bit scary – one never knows how another reacts – especially to rejection.

In the morning, the writer, Joseph Fleckenstein – my guest photographer today – responded with an abundance of gratitude. My time spent reaching out and talking to another writer ended in an offer of four beautiful images to choose from for my very own. The first was of a thistle. I chose that one because of it being a talisman to the family I married into – a thistle was on Gideon Whitson’s gravestone – and if the story I got from Husband is wrong, I’m sure my beautiful niece will correct me. So at the top and bottom are two gorgeous photos of thistles by Joseph Fleckenstein. My many, many thanks to him.

‘Tis the season to be grateful, isn’t it?

Nancy Leone came by yesterday with flowers, fresh rosemary, and her final notes on L&C. She had one major point I know I should consider fixing. It’s at the end and won’t require a lot, but I wish that book was “done” done. I know, it won’t be until it’s published – should I be that lucky, but it’s gotten to minutia and I’m tired. I want to move on. Is that wrong? Besides which, someone wondered if I wasn’t allowing too many critiquers into the pot, but the last major rewrite pleased him so I just don’t know anymore.

What I do know is that I took a break from a private office in Zoetrope. I didn’t think I was being useful and the prompts weren’t working. Late summer and early autumn are full of depression triggering time bombs. Events conspired, I wrote a creative nonfiction piece – something I shy away from writing, but I posted it and then could see the flaws. It felt great though, to dip back into flash. So, to you Kim Chinquee, I want to give my thanks for leaving that office door open. And thanks to Gina who has been such a positive guide. Thanks to Mary for her belief in me. Thanks to my incredible and kind Husband. To Sidney. To Alex. To Chyo. To XOMan. To my niece.

I could go on for a VERY long time naming people and things I’m grateful for but this post is already topping 600 words. That’s longer than the flash I wrote…which just proves the law I was talking about…

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thank you again, Joseph Fleckenstein!

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Another November, Another NaNoWriMo

I have good news to share…

Jellyfish Review, a gorgeous new venue for flash accepted “Pretty Changes” and it will be going live this Saturday. That’s wonderful enough, right? On top of that, the brilliant editor, Christopher James, told me he’d recently been interviewed by Jim Harrington for Six Questions For and he mentioned my image at the end of the piece as the type of thing he looks for in submissions. How flattering is that?

“Could Have Been Us” will be included in The Best of Vine Leaves 2015 Anthology. Thank you to Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius. You are both such gracious women and it’s been a pleasure to work with you. (Because of their nudging, I now have an author page at Goodreads.)

AND

Best of the Net Nominee! Best of the Net Nominee! You can call me a Best of the Net Nominee because Black Heart Magazine Editors and Readers remembered “Vocabulary Lessons” from when they posted it in November of last year as a story worthy of nominating. All I can say is THANK YOU to Laura Roberts and everyone at Black Heart Magazine. When I came across that, it was such welcome news. I’d been feeling a bit blasé about my writing career lately, but that news gave me a thrill. I’m still tingly!

Otherwise, I’m on day 5 of National Novel Writing Month and I’m a few words ahead. My MC is threatening to call me in for character abuse. Poor thing has so many problems going on as it is and I keep piling on more. Today there was a surprise I did not see coming. That’s the fabulous thing about writing, how characters know things you had no clue about. I don’t know where this book is going, but so far it’s keeping my interest.

Right, so

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Thanks for stopping by!

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Being a writer is full of surprises.

11.20A

There has been a barrage of information about the weather. That’s all I’ve seen or heard about lately. The newspaper hasn’t arrived in days. When I’ve gone to watch a show or listen to a radio program, I hear about travel bans and record breaking snowfall totals. I’m a bit surprised since I’m from the area and my motto is “It’s Buffalo. It snows. Get over it,” and let’s face it, when my area gets hit, no one cuts me slack since I’m in “ski country,” and apparently that means I must like the snow, which I do, but that is beside the point. There is more to my world than the weather. What happened with the XL Pipeline? Are the Kardashians still exposing themselves inappropriately? Has ISIS taken over the world? I’m asking because I don’t know. I only know about the snow. There’s been no mail either.

I’m in a funky weird state after learning (via email) great news about one story I wrote only to have that information followed by a heart breaking email about a completely different aspect of my so-called writing career.

Are you ready?

My short story,”Between a Vacuum and Empty Space,” was not only selected for inclusion in a Sci-Fi anthology by Divertir Publishing, but it is going to be the first story and serve as the TITLE for the collection!

How does that happen? I don’t know, but it did. I sent a note to Jim Tuttle (Half of JT and the Law–go follow them) to let him know first because he helped me with the details–I am so grateful to him! His response made me smile. After that, I told Husband, members of Write To Be, and then Chyo. So weird and flattering. I still have a happy about it.

Then, of course, there was the ego-deflating bit. An agent who had requested the first 30 pages of L&C decided she didn’t want to see anymore. Eh. What are you going to do?

These new sagas are a nice breather from the truck needing repairs and the “Help! I don’t know what I’m doing in my NaNo story” angst. It’s fine. It’s life. It’s not French wine, but I could hum a few bars.

And that’s another thing! On the journey to Indiana, we bought wine to take as gifts. One being a strawberry wine from a local vineyard, which Susie got. She opened it and shared a glass with me. It was delightful. I mention this because we hit the liquor store before the storm and we bought another bottle, which happened to be on sale, and there is the odd chance it will be around for the upcoming Christmas Relative Party Shuffle.

Anyway, the excursion netted a bunch of canning jars. I was told of this in advance and thought “a few boxes” meant 20 jars–30 max. Yeah, I haven’t been able to fathom the idea of counting individual jars, but they take up four and a quarter shelves in the basement. Ah, but back to the wine aspect. In clearing the shelves, Husband brought up a black bottle with cobwebs all over it. I was talking to Chyo at the time, described the bottle and the label. Turns out, it is her favorite sparkling wine, Freixenet, from Spain. Neither of us can remember if it was a gift from her to me or a gift I bought to give to her and it was just forgotten. Regardless, it was on its side for years so the cork is probably still good and if you want to know, I had taken it as a sign that the agent I’d sent pages to was going to ask for more, but that didn’t happen. C’est la vie.

Back on the shelf it goes. Maybe tomorrow I’ll hear from “the” agent for me. Until then, I’ll be inside, staying warm because snow is best enjoyed inside a house with wood heat.

11.20B

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

Catching up with the normal

Last month’s post should serve as a warning to all–if you’re in my view or thoughts while I’m writing my blog post, you will end up being written about. Husband can once again attest to that. Some writers threaten that you’ll be put in a book or a story, but I don’t write that way. How I write is crazy. I made my word count for National Novel Writing Month, but I don’t have a novel. I have a rough draft that ended up sputtering. I got so far in, went so deep and what happened needed to happen, but I wasn’t ready to write about it so I backed off until I could face those things in a later version of that tale.

And if that makes sense…you might be a novelist.

This has been awesome. I know more about of the characters now. I found out a few things that surprised me, so hopefully (knock on wood) after revisions and rewrites, if you ever read that story, you’ll be as surprised as I was to find out who Henri turned out to be–and trust me–it is surprising.

Otherwise, I’m still hanging on to hope. *Sigh* The agent hasn’t responded after I sent the requested material. He asks for an exclusive month. The day after Christmas, I should have an answer.

Either way, I’ll carry on with what I do. Read, write, revise, repeat. I’ve also been nudged into a not quite new thing: Review

So, if you’re into that sort of thing, I recently posted a review of a book on–get this–the Book Review page of this blog.

I can’t say I’m comfortable with this. “Don’t judge, lest you be judged” was rammed into my head growing up. *Sigh* Regardless, my thoughts and comments on other people’s work are mine–honest, true and as there is enough negativity in the world, I doubt you’ll see me rating a book low. That a person can get a book published at all ought to be celebrated. I’ll take my Grandfather’s stance on my Grandmother’s cooking. When she made something he didn’t like, he’d say, “Well, you don’t have to make that again.” My—most likely private—thought will be, “Well, I don’t have to read that again.”

There’s laundry to do and a grocery list to make.You know, the “normal” things that slip to last place during NaNo.  Outside, most of the snow is gone. This is the view of the creek from my kitchen window this morning.

Creekside

*(These are just my creekside reflections. Your experience and reading taste may vary.)

NaNo Started, Or I started NaNo

If you’re reading this, it means I have successfully made it through the first day of NaNoWriMo 2012.

It was a bitch. I struggled, but as I was hovering around the last three hundred word mark, ready to give up for the day–tell myself I could come back and put in extra tomorrow, I caught a break and made it to 1806 with ease. I started a new sentence and saved the file in two places. I know enough of NaNo to not get too far ahead of myself.

Eck. So it’s a start. And I don’t talk about ongoing books because I’ve lost them that way, so how are you? Are you making Christmas plans?

My lovely niece is in negotiations to get as many people visited while she and her brother are in Pennsylvania for Christmas. I haven’t begun to take my Halloween decorations down yet. It’s on my list to have that taken care of before Thanksgiving. Or my sister’s visit–whichever comes first.

So, I know, it’s not much of a post. Please forgive, but if you’re looking for something to read, and you haven’t already, would you please at least consider buying Short Lean Cuts? I think it’s like a dollar for the kindle version. I started to read it yesterday.

I feel a wee bit guilty as I promised Alex that yesterday was the last day I was going to bitch, carp, cry, and complain about my submission to a certain magazine taking so long to go through the process when, on Duotrope, people are posting 70, 90, 100 day rejections and I’m like 270 days in now. For Feck’s sake! It’s annoying. If I had gotten pregnant on the day I submitted there, I’d be in labor now–or close to it. The third of November is the nine month mark. And since I just complained on the day I promised to stop for a month, I owe it to Alex Pruteanu to tell you that he’s a great writer. You can google him and read several of his stories for free before you decide to buy his book, but come on, it’s less than a dollar. Buy Short Lean Cuts. He’ll thank you for it and I won’t feel so bad about complaining about not getting a rejection (or acceptance) from a ‘top’ magazine in almost nine months.

Until next time!

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