Novel

On the right path. I think.

In case you haven’t heard, I’m now the managing editor of Literary Orphans – words I never thought I’d be privileged enough to say. I’m still numb from the news. It came during the novel revision crunch. I wanted it done by January 31st – and I succeeded – but just barely. I’ve since extended the “listen to the whole thing being read by the computer to catch any glitches” deadline to Ground Hog’s Day and may have to go further – to Sunday – because I need to catch up on real life. While I was in the book, laundry piled up, the woodpile dwindled, and Husband’s truck acted up. I stayed off-line for two days and there are Twitter & Facebook messages to look at and respond to, along with the possibility of diving into the recent scandal.

Wednesday, I found out Shirley Palmerton, a dear friend from Hamburg Writers’ Group had her piece accepted and published in the Buffalo News “My View” column. It is sweet and made me miss my great grandparents and my grandmother.

I also got what I’m taking as a sign from the universe that I’m on the right path. In the emails with Scott, he said at one point I was “someone who lives and breathes indie lit,” which was so sweet. I received an email from Page & Spine accepting “Anam Cara,” one of the early flashes that were the genesis of this book. In the story, the two main characters mention Karen Stefano, Pat Pujolas, and of course the great Alex Pruteanu. Many thanks to N. K. Wagner for the acceptance and her lovely compliment.

Right, so I need to end this and get to work catching up on boring household chores so I can start the fun of querying agents. This time, I’m looking forward to the process. I’m also looking forward to finding out what the little rodent says tomorrow. Gardens in winter are forlorn looking, and kind of sad.

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Thanks for stopping by and the read!

 

 

 

 

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

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January Thaw Cleaning

I had the privilege of hosting the novel writing critique group in my home on Tuesday so last Thursday I was dusting, de-webbing, and otherwise cleaning the house. Hence the lack of a blog post on the 18th. With such a good start, I told Husband we were going out on Saturday so he couldn’t possibly start any projects; they invariably end up with sawdust and/or fiddly bits strewn about. We went out to Red Robin because he likes their burgers then to see Blade Runner 2049 on a big screen. I know I tweeted this, but it bears a repeat: If anyone ever says my plot is convoluted, I will point to that movie and say, “It’s not THAT convoluted.”

I had a lovely time with Gina Detwiler and Mary Akers. There were green grapes, coconut macaroons, and chocolate-covered pretzels. The conversation was fun; the ideas and suggestions flowed. I made cheesy cauliflower bites, quiche, and lemon ginger tea. And I got to use my pretty new teapot.

1.25.2018

After waiting far too many months, I received the critique I’d been waiting for. Even if it hadn’t come, I made a deadline of finishing the revision on January 31st – and I’m hoping I can make it. Friday I won’t be able to work on it at all. Saturday, I have my library shift, and Tuesday is the library appreciation dinner. Luckily, the book is in good shape and I finished the critical first 10 pages. I did more than that, but I listened to those pages repeatedly and know they are good. Of course, now I’ll have to have someone look them over and see if they agree – IF I don’t look at them today and decide it’s all crap and I have no business writing anything. At all. Ever.

Procrastination does work out sometimes. I’ve admired this one J. Peterman dress (yeah, only one. HA!) for a while but it was pricey and I didn’t have a good reason to buy it… Well, Niece in Boston is getting married in April (Congratulations!) so guess what I’m going to wear? And on top of that, there was a sale going on. I am so excited. I got notice it shipped yesterday so soon I’ll be able to try it on.

So those are the happy bits from here. Oh! I nearly forgot! My piece, “Spliced Alike” will appear in Ellipsis: Two and “In a Mad Girl’s Eden” is slated for the May/June issue of Ink in Thirds! I’m keeping up a can-do, positive attitude because Friday might be awful. That’s why I’ve made plans to be places and do things. Distraction can be a beautiful thing.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

1.22.2018

 

Oh, there were fresh flowers, too!

 

 

(*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.

tgf

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

First Post of the New Year Written in a New Location

I’m at Spot Coffee and my tablet decides to update Microsoft Office. That isn’t productive for writing this blog post, so I went ahead and jotted notes down on real paper to remind myself of what I wanted to say. That I was writing – or at least attempting to write – outside of my comfort zone of known places where I normally write being the big news. That, and the beaver damn failed. It had been providing this nice waterfall view from my kitchen window for a while:

BD

Snow and cold made it to our area and the number of activities I had lined up for this week went from four to one, so when the meeting of novelists was threatened, I pushed through my normal homebody tendencies and declared I wanted to get out of the house. Gina to the rescue! (She is awesome, inspiring, and encourages me to finish things.) She picked me up and now I feel all “writerly” on the couch typing this while we’re waiting for Mary to arrive.

 
I wrapped up my interview with Susan Tepper about her beautiful new book and that will go live at the Tavern Lantern on Monday (Yes! Handed in ahead of the due date!) “Dear Petrov” will be coming out on 2 February 2016.

Petrov

I converted a bit of prose from a book in progress into a flash for a magazine call on the theme of “dance.” That’s about all the writing I’ve gotten done recently. Oh, well, there was a short story, too, but it was mostly written and just needed some polish.

 

 
Christopher James at Jellyfish Review nominated my flash, “Pretty Changes” for inclusion to Best Small Fictions. For those keeping score, yeah, that’s a win of the Gover Prize, a Best of the Net nomination, my first Pushcart Nomination and the Best Small Fictions nomination all in the space of six months.

 
I am honored to have two new pieces of Mia Avramut’s art to frame. I picked out the matte this weekend and can’t wait for Husband to cut it so they can be hung.

MIAB

MIAA

Other than that, I’ve been reading. It’s a nice change of pace, though not “really” writing results in a host of new problems like titles, characters, and bits of dialogue popping into my head at odd times. I know I need to get back to a novel, but right now, I need a break. And new experiences so that’s how I ended up in Spot to write this post.

 
*These are merely my Creekside (though written in a coffeehouse this week) Reflections. Your experiences may vary.

Tipsy-turvy and beautiful colors

8Oct2015

My cat is quite upset. Yesterday, I fulfilled my Facebook obligation to do whatever was asked of me by the esteemed Tuttle’s as long as they picked me up and took me to their house in order to do it. Yeah, I roll that way–if I say I’ll do it on FB, it will be done. A journalist from Buffalo Spree wants to interview them about living off the grid, so they wanted to spiff up their yard. I got to dig. I was gone all day and the cat couldn’t go in and out as she pleased, plus she knows I petted other cats–and two dogs–while I was away.

8Oct205mist

 

It’s autumn and the weather has been good and the colors great. I’ve been catching this a lot–the dew point is just right so when the sun hits grass blades and tree leaves, a foggy, magical cloud appears. I find it a bit distressing–the sun accomplishing something tangible so easily and so early in the morning.

Life has been going quite well recently (knock up on wood) in the professional arena. After my interview with Karen Stefano went live, I was added to the Literary Orphan’s Masthead as an interviewer. I’ve been appointed Assistant Editor at r.kv.r.y. Quarterly and on Sunday, my Twitter feed went nuts with news that my story, “Prudence” was a Flash Fiction Sunday Edition pick. I was flattered by DeRicki Johnson ’s kind words.

I spoke at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday and plan to do so again at the next one. I really don’t want to run, but the more ignorance and tone deafness I hear from those so-called ‘leaders,’ the angrier I become and want to step in and give people a choice from the status quo. I hope these feelings pass soon. This energy would be much better spent on my writing.

That, too has been going well. I wrote past the problem I was having in the new book and got 20 pages out to the group. I came across a notebook where I listed stories that I’d roughed out. I opened up one and worked on it last night–it still needs some work, but it’s stronger and funnier than I remembered. So, that is what I’m off to work on though it’s a nice day so I might take a walk out back. Last time, I found this little guy on the creekside trail.

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Turtle1

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

Stops, starts, strange changes, and such…

With the addition of Kim Chinquee to our novel critique group, both Gina and I decided to submit new work instead of continuing with the books we had been working on. The next time pages are due, I’ll be busy with travel and appointments so I’ve been working on my pages. I have a good start on this new book and I know where it ends, but to get there is going to be interesting. Coming out of the flash workshop adds to my delight since I can take my time and explain things instead of compressing every nuance. Thank God!

 
The library’s summer hours began, so I’m out of there until September and yesterday was my last day mentoring. It worked out beautifully as I was able to attend the concert where Isabella and her friend Amy played. I am going to miss them—and being mistaken for a substitute teacher. Yes, the double loss of free Wi-Fi spots is going to suck, but I’m playing with the idea that the loss will make me concentrate on the new book and revising the last one. Hey, it’s possible.

6.18.2015B

The water lily in my frog pond bloomed. Thank you, Christy! I see frogs on there all the time, so I’m thanking you on their behalf, too.

6.18.2015C

Otherwise, the garden is doing well. Peas are growing and soon I’ll need to thin out the squash plants.

6.18.2015A

Husband reworked the sides of the driveway bridge this weekend and we have a plan on how it will look when we’re done.

6.18.2015D

Eck! I don’t want to get into the ineptitude—let me correct that by saying the continued ineptitude—of certain Erie County departments and car dealerships, so I won’t. I’ll try to resolve those issues before I vetch about them here, but really, I am angry that people are more interested in making excuses than solving problems. I mean, if it’s your job to fix things—fix them. How hard is that to understand?

 
Whatever.

 

By the by, I hope everyone will join me in a toast to XO Man and his new bride. Cheers to them. I was thrilled we were invited to the ceremony, sad we couldn’t make it, but so happy for them both. Mazel Tov!

 

I’m having a fun time reading an advanced copy of “I Am Barbarella” by Beth Gilstrap. I have the privilege of interviewing her soon for The Tavern. I swear I love my job.

 

That is not the only thing I’m reading of course, but that one I’ll be posting about in the future—and I was on her site today—she gave me ideas on how to spruce up mine.

 

So, I guess that’s it for this post. Some things have wound down, others are ramping up—life. I guess that’s how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by to read my Creekside reflections. I trust your experiences will vary.

Meant To Be.

Sunday was exciting for the conversation I had with XO man. The pillows on the couch in the library are still in the position they were when I stretched out and laughed at the shared plight of having an inept dentist. We also talked of music, dance, and cleaning women.

I’d been cleaning the house in anticipation of the novel critique group meeting here tonight. It has corresponded with the ‘so called spring cleaning’ time of year, though I’m not moving the furniture yet due to the still chilly nights. Regardless, “art” has been on my mind a lot recently.

My “style” is eclectic to say the least and as I go along, pieces have to hit me to disrupt the equilibrium I’ve established with the pieces in the house. Monday, I met the newest love of my life.

I had a doctor’s appointment at nine–because even though my insurance card says I don’t need a referral, I can’t see a dermatologist unless I have one, which is a bunch of BS, but that’s for a different post. Anyway, because we have the one vehicle, Husband dropped me off then was going to pick me up on his lunch hour.

Randomly, the Monday I went for a referral, I was also sentenced to an X-ray on my leg, blood work, and an ultrasound. After my appointment, I was able to get the x-ray and the blood work done and walked out of there at ten fifteen. Go figure. I had hours to kill. I went to Café 56 and had a snack while I edited. I was quite content until I felt something and looked over to see I was being stared at by some guy in the corner. I didn’t like that at all.

Flustered, I stayed and worked. I looked out the window and swear I saw Agent Chase crossing the street and enter the antique shop. I leisurely finished my coffee, wondering how far I was going to take this. I calculated that if a fictional character walks out of your head and into the sunlight, you want to pursue, but not so quickly as to scare them away.

Bill paid, street crossed, store entered, I found Agent Chase was gone. I wandered the store after a few words with the shopkeeper. Husband had told me his supervisor, Jody Buttons, owned it. I verified that, then took my time looking at all the interesting things in the shop.

Near the end of my walk around, I came to a framed print. In an oval frame with the glass protruding like a pregnant belly, there was the smuggest, sexiest, slyest picture I’d ever seen. It didn’t remind me of Van Eyck as much as Vermeer but I don’t think it’s either of those. The colors are wrong for both. I looked it over, and there was no price. I asked the merchant, he said he’d have to ask Jody. I told him my husband worked with him, hoping for a better price, When husband picked me up, I told him about it. At work the next day, husband said something about it and Jody said, “That was you?”

I called the shop on Tuesday and Jody hadn’t given a price even he was asked about it three times. Wednesday, at break, Jody walked over and just gave Husband the picture. Jody said he didn’t know whom it was by, but the frame was at least one hundred years old. He wouldn’t take any money for it. Norm was aghast as Jody doesn’t giveaway anything.

So it’s mine now and Husband and I agree, in the event of divorce, it is mine. Right now, it’s hanging on the wall, and I’m even fonder of it though I have to change out and move other pieces around to accommodate this gorgeous thing. Once the novel critique meeting is over, the furniture will move and the other artwork will move to accommodate this newest acquisition.

After I had talked to XO man on Sunday, I got a call on my cell from someone looking for Gail and wanting to make sure she got home safely. Gail is the name of the MC in my current WIP so that freaked me out a little, but without that nudge of the fictional and real blurring at times, I might not have followed a phantom that led to this, new love.

 

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Sorry, taking a picture through curved glass isn’t easy, but look at the interplay between the women. Exquisite.

 

 

pi

 

(*These are just my creek side reflections. Your experiences may vary.)