February went out like a lamb, so…

The weather has been such fun! Yesterday, I was able to take a lovely walk out back. The snow was mostly gone; I traversed the labyrinth and collected a few polished pottery shards from the beach. Of course, it was muddy, but it was warm and smelled nice – very spring like. I started out with a light fleece jacket, but had it tied around my waist near the end. This morning was a bit cooler and I went into town. By the time I returned and was unloading groceries, the wet snow had begun.


A few hours later, branches are falling and I’m nervous. Tree limbs are heavy with the snow.


Oh, and the defunct telephone line was ripped right off the house. That was a delightful noise to figure out. Welcome to western New York’s winter, though some people consider this the first day of spring. Oi!


Tuesday was a great day to drive and the novel critique group meeting was in Lockport. I don’t recall having carrot soup before, but it is wonderful – at least the way Mary made it. Gina’s section had me asking so many questions – when her book comes out, I’m sure you’ll be wondering the same things and you’ll have it easy because you can read the next pages whereas I have to wait until she writes them and then another month for the day we exchange files – THEN I’ll know what happens. Next month, I’ll be sending the final section of my book to them. It’s hard to believe that one will be over and I have to create (refine) new characters. These last ones were a joy to spend time with – well, most of the time. I still remember Mary’s comment on the first section, though the beginning is now revamped, she echoed the original beginning by saying she fell in love with Tara. That sentiment is still heady and it boosted my confidence in this manuscript.


I’ve been reducing clutter and getting rid of things. My notebooks are sorted and I’ve made a major dent in the filing. I still want to gather the bits of “Near Eden, New York” and of the Letty stories and box them up. I’m done with both for the time being and I’m hoping that if they are out of my way, I can figure out what “new book” is about. So far, it’s not going the way I thought it would, but that’s fine.

In case you missed it, I did an interview. There’s a photo and everything. I have a request to do another one, which I haven’t finished yet. It’s odd to be on the other side of the questions. I’m still figuring out the managing editorship, but that, too, is okay. I attended a networking event that the Springville Chamber of Commerce hosted at Papa Jake’s. One of the stories told was about one of their guest speakers who encouraged people to say yes to an opportunity – even if you didn’t know how to do it because you’d figure it out. I did and now I am, though I’m not looking forward to sending rejections. If you get one from me, please know I found no pleasure in it at all.

I’m checking the mailbox because my copies of Ellipsis: Two should arrive any day now. I’ve seen posts on Twitter and can’t wait to dive in. I have plenty of other reading to keep me busy until then, but One was fantastic so I want to see what is in there. And I will continue to read and sort because I’ve sent out queries and checking Query Tracker every five seconds doesn’t speed things along any more than refreshing the Submittable page when I send out flash.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!



*These mere creekside reflections are mine alone and in no way should alter your unique view of the shore.



A Holiday Tip and Thoughts on the New Year

Here’s a tip I came across by accident: when you receive a personal/instructive rejection, print it out on holiday paper. It makes the sting of the “no” a bit easier to take.



Gina Detwiler’s book launch for Forlorn this weekend was spectacular! It was a great time, too.


Hello! It’s another Thursday here and I’m happy for two recent rejections that were not only personal, but gave great feedback. I know – it is so hard to even think about doing that at most (if not all) places, so I want to say THANK YOU to both JMWW and Forge.

You’re catching me on a good day, as I’m super excited for many reasons. Tomorrow, a piece I really like and thought turned out well will go live at Flash Fiction Magazine. I’ll also be donating blood, meeting up with Husband for his urologist appointment then off to Hamburg Writers’ Group. After that will be Saturday and we’re headed to Pennsylvania to spend time with great people, including our niece, Rachael. Bridge will be played. Other than that, we’ll see. Bridge is important. There was a threat that “heads would roll” if Bridge wasn’t played.

Of course, it’s not all fun and excitement. I’m cleaning the house – which is no fun – but I like coming home to a clean house, so it’s worth the tediousness.

As the end of the year is looming, I’m thinking about projects I want to complete, new ones to embark on, and my friends and family. At Donna Hoke’s party, I heard encouragement from Dave about needing to say “enough” at some point, so I’m coordinating with XO Man so that when I finish the next revision of Near Eden, it’s off to him. That scares me more than querying agents. Or putting a hat on the cat…


Ah well, what is life if you don’t face your fears occasionally. Thanks for stopping by and  for the read! May your holidays be happy and bright!







*These are my creekside reflections; your experiences should vary.

Happy Holidays and I hope you don’t have angst like mine.

So, I went to Gina’s last night. I thought I’d be late–Husband had filled the gas tank this time, but I wasn’t on the road two miles when a stupid light came on about the tire pressure and the squall was limiting my sight and I wondered if I was going to get there at all. I did, and I don’t know, it’s always awkward for me to go anywhere anymore. I feel like an intrusion with all my thoughts and insecurities.

In my head, everyone is a thousand times more pulled together than I could ever be.

Anyway, we were all sitting around the dining room table talking and discussing our lives, then went into the nuances of our current works in progress then back to real life matters.

Does anyone else get how comforting it is that Mary admitted that she sat there and had a panicky bit of time when she was talking about my novel to me? She said she twitched, but I didn’t see it, but when she said that, I got it exactly. It’s how I feel when I think about writing a book review.

The thing is that no matter my thoughts on another person’s work, it’s only my opinion, and who am I to judge PLUS they have a book published. Whether or it’s by a big house, a small press, or even self-published, it’s out there. Someone had the testicular fortitude to print it. Isn’t that an automatic 5 star review? I enjoy reading, but the writing about what I’ve read, not so much, which is funny because I don’t feel people are attacking me when they comment on my work–they are just talking about the story I’m trying to tell.

Don’t mind me, I had another rejection this morning so the career self-esteem isn’t there. And I feel like quitting. Not the writing, just the agent queries, the short story/essay/poem submissions, etc. Which is bunk. My hopes haven’t been completely dashed. Yet.

I will be taking a break as it is for the weekend. If I wrap up this post and the holiday letter, I’m done for the weekend, which is good since a slew of people are slated to arrive, dine, sleep and be on their way. After, I’m looking at a quiet few weeks where I’ll be assessing Mary’s comment that I put too much plot and too many characters in my books. Luckily, I was feeling that way about the latest that I scribbled out during NaNo–about having too many characters anyway.

I feel a bunch of colored index cards are about to be taped to the glass door soon. I may want to start with one as it is so someone doesn’t run into the damned thing, though it is so funny when it happens–mostly because it hasn’t happened to me. Yet. It looks painful.

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


Can I blame the most excellent kid for this happiness?

In case you didn’t know, I do have a kid and he’s awesome. For MD, he ripped a CD of Lost Souls, Inc. music for me. It was returned because of postage issues, but I got it on Saturday and listened to a song or two before the “Events” took over.

Brother-in-law was here for the Mike Korabek memorial. I’d never been to such a lovely thing before–being a part of the sending off of a man who loved the Grateful Dead. Suffice it to say I had a lovely, happy, joyful time on a Friday night before the trip to the cemetery followed by the VFW tribute. I’m still so happy about the whole thing–not that the guy I’d never met was dead, but that I got to be a part of such a great tribute. I mean there were red roses everywhere and people Husband has referenced since I met him were there to see and talk to–it was fantastic. I loved it.

Lately, I’ve loved a lot of things.

In the “joyous” part of that Friday night, I had a stupid tap hammer slam me in the forehead. I won’t say what, but a tie rod of plot support showed up. I was excited and awed. I mean, how did I not see the organic progression before?

I laugh.

I can’t wait for you to read it and then I can laugh with you when you agree with me–I should have seen it!

Since then it’s been Revision City.

Well, not quite. On Sunday, I went to Vineyard Conference with Mary Jo and everyone had lunch at the McClurg Museum. Shout outs to Mary Jo Hodge, Nancy Leone, Peter Hamilton, Chuck Joy, Michele Meleen, The Can the Man men, Ron Androla, Nancy Kay, Linda Lavid, and Tom Noyes for making it wonderful. (Yes, if I met you, remind me and I’ll tag you, too.)

I’ve been in a good mood for quite a while. Maybe because I haven’t been paying as much attention to the news as I normally do, maybe the purple flowers in my yard are giving me a happy, maybe the last hard scene for my MC was written yesterday and I’m down to the nitpicky edits for this latest book. I don’t know what it is, but it feels good to listen to Ronnie Hall and Phraugue on CD. I feel good even knowing some lousy rejections are bound to roll in soon. I’m okay with them. I warned Husband that I was partial to J. Peterman swag. Yesterday, I ordered a blue dress. It was on sale and beautiful and I cannot remember the last new dress I bought…maybe it will work out with a new car to pose beside like I did back in the day of wrapping up “Campus Crimes” with my car Grace.Grace2


It’s Not Cabin Fever Exactly… It’s More Like Cabin Anxiety

This past Monday, I attended the novel critique group meeting at Gina’s. I’ve never worked this way, handing over twenty–now up to 25 pages–at a time. As I’m revising “The Life and…” I’m realizing I really have to slow down the pace. The recent installment included an added scene I thought I’d get slammed on, but they seemed to enjoy it–Mary said it felt like I’d nailed the voice. I’m glad of this, as I felt I had lost it and that’s why I had to take it back a few pages so events I’d glided through in the rough draft could be strengthened. I think the end result will be tighter, but I’m only a quarter of the way there. I know, I said I’d send out agent queries for Ellie’s Elephants, and I did get two out after the ambiguous “this doesn’t sound like a form rejection, but I don’t know how to respond either” response from Sobel. Meeting new people is hard enough. Needing to introduce myself and say, “Please, like what I write, too”…that makes me anxious.

So, I had enough “when I” and put brush to canvas. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever made, and I’m nowhere close to finishing it, put it’s a start. It felt good to mix colors and paint. The longer I was painting, the more that came back to me–including the fact that you can’t finish a painting in one sitting. Well, the one guy could, but I’m not him nor do I have my own show on PBS.


Speaking of that realm…WBFO, my local NPR station is doing an extra pledge week. OMG, enough. Here’s the thing, I love their work, the coverage, etc. However, they are on there telling me if I don’t pledge, my favorite shows will disappear. How many years and how much money have proved that to be a lie? Everything was great until Mark Scott retired. The resulting crapola version of a program lineup disgusts me. Why this station pays for programs that are great but plays them when no one listens and plays boring shows when people are tuned in is just stupid. There was a time when pledge week ended early. The reason for that was simple. They had there shit together; now it’s not worth it. If you also tell me how I have to pay to keep the programs I want to stay on the air, I will recite the ones they dropped when I sent them a few bucks and when I say I, I mean Husband. Whoever is in charge of programming is clueless, or trying his best to kill off this station and the rapid decline in listenablity has me thinking it’s the latter. WBFO, please, hear this and fix it. The person in charge of programming needs to go.

Otherwise, I’m excitedly looking forward to the 15th when I get to do my first official reading. It will be at the West Falls-Colden Library where I volunteer, so I’ll have the home field advantage. I find it a bit strange that they have a signup sheet for it. I mean, that makes sense if it’s a card making class, but a reading? Gary Earl Ross will be there as well as Susan Solomon, George Morse, and Lou Rera. We will be reading from Queen City Flash at 1:00-3:00 on Saturday 15th if you’re up for it. Jeff Schober did a reading there on the 1st while I was working. It was good to see him again. Boneshaker is a follow up to Broken and Profane and he’s working on two more in the series. 

Anyway, I’ve had a few “close calls” on acceptances. I was told one piece made it to the final round of cuts. They only take four stories per issue, so I guess I made their top five or top eight, which is nice, but I then sent that piece to another venue where it didn’t make it past the first cut. *Sigh.* I also got INK!!!! from The Sun. They held it for 8 months, so I’m considering that something. I sent that story to two places yesterday. I don’t know what it is. It’s gotten so many “almosts” but that just makes it more frustrating that it hasn’t found a home yet. I know, I’ve heard the stories yet those don’t make the personal rejections any less disappointing.

So, enough of this ranting about the problems I have because I love them all, including the fact that there’s more snow and I can’t wait to go for a walk in the woods, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ah well…


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


A nice start to the New Year

And what to my grateful eyes did I find in my inbox on New Year’s Day? A note from a publisher who is planning another anthology and offered the previous authors a crack at the new one. That is definitely a much better start to a year than a rejection. By that token, I’ve held off on sending rejections (sorry if you get one!) to several submitters. I really do try to treat submitters to r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal the way I’d like to be treated and I know I didn’t want to get a rejection on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

So, I’m concussed. How are you? Seriously, it was such a stupid thing. I took mail out and on the way back, I fell on the icy driveway and smacked my head. And do you know what you can do to help a concussion? Nothing but watch for signs. Modern medicine is come so far…Yes, I’m grateful that it wasn’t worse, like a broken leg or arm or wrist.

I don’t make resolutions since the year many, many years ago to not make resolutions. That one I knew I could keep, and I have. Even when I quit smoking, I quit on 1/7, not the first. However, I’ve been toying with the idea of going a year without drinking. Since New Year’s Eve is a big drinking night, and I shouldn’t be drinking with a brain injury anyway, I decided that I’d start on the first so I’d remember when I began. There are a few caveats. I’m allowed to drink on my birthday, if I sell a book, Husband’s birthday, Thanksgiving and one freebie, but only one. So, this will be my year of not drinking.

Otherwise, nothing has changed much. I’m working on new pieces and enjoying going through the latest book twenty pages at a time with Mary Akers and Gina. I’m so glad to have been asked to joining that novel critiquing group! After the 14th, I’ll be touching up the query letter, getting ready to send Ellie’s Elephant’s to another group of agents I’ve researched. I’m preparing applications for Breadloaf and NYFA. Same old, same old, but good.


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


One Trip Leads to Another

This week I feel as though things are returning to what passes for normal. Our regular postal carrier is back, I volunteered at the library on Saturday, a few rejections have rolled in, I read the NY Times on Sunday, etc. but now it’s time to make a list and pack a few bags.

Soon after I arrived in Boston, my brother-in-law suffered a heart attack. It was scary and surreal. I thought my niece and I would be changing plans and leaving for Pennsylvania, but we didn’t. The blockage was removed. A stent was put in. He made it to a medical facility in time…

Rachael drove home this past weekend. Husband and I are going this weekend. We’re going to visit and make sure he’s ok.

I talked to him last week. He called his heart attack a “wake-up call.” I wonder how far he’ll take it. He’s quitting smoking (again) and choosing better foods. I think it’s a great start, but he confessed he had a beer already. I thought it was a bit too soon.

Currently, I’m on the “preachy” side of sobriety where I am well aware of what drinking does–and doesn’t do–for me. I stop drinking every year for Lent. Somehow, it is easy. Then I restart. Searching in old notebooks for notes on Ellie’s Elephants, I came across a thought last year that maybe last year would be the year I just stop drinking for good. I’ve had the same thought this year, too, but I sense the reason I do restart is that it makes life easier.

This realization is a complaint of sorts, but I don’t think I’ve made it before. Being away from home during Lent let me see things in a different way. Yes, Husband is not a neat person. I don’t think it would kill him to help a little more. Nothing drastic–just not rip open the shower curtain so the hooks come off the rod OR hooking them back on when he’s done. Little tiny things. I know I ask him to do these things and occasionally he’ll remember to, then he forgets. I think I go back to drinking so these things bother me but I can block them out, get up the next day, notice more minor irritations, block them out or sleep them off and begin again.

Sad, isn’t it?

Right now, I think it is sad, but, will I turn that realization into a “wake-up call” for my life? I don’t know…

What I do know is that I’ve gotten a milder wake-up call–a nudge really–from a few places about my own poetry. I received a few higher tiers and a personal rejection in the past two weeks. A writer friend wrote “…however, you are a poet; prolific it seems to me, but you don’t let the poet come out very much in your workaday writing…” I had decided to be mad at him for that, but a story I read for r.kv.r.y had me look at something in a way I hadn’t considered before, so maybe being a “poet” is what I’m trying to recover from, or block out or choose not to deal with because poets rarely get respect, let alone paid, and then a poetry submission to r.kv.r.y. from someone I briefly met in Boston came in and showed me beauty and passion with a few words so perhaps–this is just my sobriety speaking–perhaps being a poet wouldn’t be the most tragic thing in the world ever to happen to me if I decided to pursue it. Maybe.

* These are just my creekside reflections. Your epiphanies may vary.