Submitting

Bits of Spring with a Cartoon Sheepdog Impression at the End

There’s a meme floating around that gives a rundown on “spring” and how it takes several stabs before it actually arrives. Creekside, we’re at the spring where the snowdrops appear.

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They are a welcome sign. I’ve also spotted tulips and hyacinths emerging.

Later today I’ll be transplanting the roma and cherry tomato seedlings to pots so yes, for me, spring is here, and so far it’s fabulous. Happy birthday to XO Man because it’s his birthday. Mine is coming up soon and I’ve already gotten a gift, Mr. Fishy fish!

Isn’t he adorable? Mary Akers made him and I’m using him as a tea bag holder. She gave him to me (Gina got one, too) yesterday at SPoT Coffee on Transit. There, I started a new story. On the way home, Ben’s check engine light came on – right in front of Goodyear. They plugged in the scanner and it was an oxygen sensor so I drove to the Hamburg Library. I returned “The Friend” by Sigrid Nunez. Great book, but a bit harsh toward memoirists of trauma, I thought. I picked up the books that I had requested: Coetzee’s, “Disgrace,” Brautigan’s “The Abortion,” and Saroyan’s “Boys and Girls Together.” I’ve been waiting on “The Abortion” for months and the copy I received also has “Revenge of the Lawn” and “So the Wind Won’t Blow It all Away” in it. After I read the others, I might take up the extras. “Disgrace” was referenced in the Nunez book. I read “Boys and Girls Together” yesterday. It has been touted by Jim Miner in the Hamburg Writers’ Group for a long time. Now I need to find out what why. I’m on the fence about finishing Cathleen Schine’s “They May Not Mean To, But They Do.” She had the biggest blurb for the Nunez book, and I adored “The Love Letter” but I’m on page 83 of this novel and can’t figure out why agents and editors thought it was important to publish. Maybe I’ll change my mind if I finish it. Maybe it’s not coming to me at the right time…

On the 17th, Husband was being loud with the kitchen renovation which pushed me to get dressed and drive to Rust Belt Books. I wish I had left sooner so I would have had more time to browse, it’s an enchanting space. There, I saw Kim Chinquee read from her latest, “Wetsuit” and Joey Nicoletti read from “Thundersnow.” Afterwards, some of us went to the Gypsy Parlor for dinner and drinks. (Tonic for me – it is Lent after all.)

I met Nina Fosati at the Comfort Zone on Wednesday the 20th.   We had a lovely meal then drove to Kleinhans Music Hall to see Min Jin Lee.

She was funny and bright and the question and answer question section with Barbara Cole was a delight.

The story I’ve been writing for the SMOLDR contest is finished. I cannot thank Nina Fosati enough for her help. Her insight and sharp eye were paramount in getting the piece as good as it is. I also want to thank Mary Akers for spotting the tense shift in the third section, James Wood for his “action verbs,” everyone in the Hamburg Writers’ Group who has listened, commented, and suggested tweaks, and Gina Detwiler who read the final version yesterday and said it was, “So Good,” funny, sweet and clever. Let’s hope the judges think so, too – knock on wood.

So those are the highlights from the past two weeks. I’m off to do Pilates, transplant seeds and write. If the weather holds, I’ll probably take the dog out again for an extended walk. Notice his resemblance to the sheepdog from the Road Runner cartoon.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

 

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Strange days & happenings…

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I know I’m late with this post. It’s been weird. I started writing this Thursday afternoon:

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Today I had lunch at Julie’s with the SGI Superintendent. She is such a good person – and smart. It was a lovely time and I hope we do end up working on her book. It will be phenomenal when she has some time and it all comes together.

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Yesterday was a “regular” meet up at SPoT Coffee in Orchard Park to write with Gina. It’s been a long time and I was excited to find I could still sit down and write – that, too, has been iffy. The last time I posted, my brother-in-law was still alive. My, how things change. At the service, M and R wore their father’s shirts. I’m sure I’m not the only one who caught their breath – with the hat, the son resembles his father.

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Last Thursday, the cat was acting strange. Mary and Gina – my real life angels – picked me up and we went to Three Girls Café for bunch and catch up. It was so good to spend time with them and try to get back to a semblance of normalcy. I refused to check on the cat – figuring if she was dead, she wouldn’t be reviving, but she was on my mind. I came home, braced myself, and found she was alive. And since then she’s been improving which is miraculous since she’s 19-years-old now. That night, I went to the Comfort Zone for Hamburg Writers’ Group. That, too, was a taste of normalcy. I came home, let the dog out and he tangled with a skunk. Such a roller-coaster of a day.

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And while real life was raucous, the career side has been going along swimmingly. Nina Fosati did a brilliant edit on a story I wrote and I sent it out to higher tier publications. She’s working through a piece I enjoy and – knock on wood – she’ll find the way into it match the tone she wants for it and then it will get published and nominated for prizes. I do think it’s that good.

I received my contributor copy of Bacopa. “Pirouette” is on page 6.

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Furtive Dalliance was released with “Sounds So Familiar,” and after YEARS of submitting, I finally cracked the top ten of On The Premises in the “near death” call for submissions. Weirdly, it was sent at the last minute and I didn’t think it had a chance. It’s a story that Jim Tuttle liked in an early draft. Fingers crossed – but honestly, I’ll be thrilled with the critique.

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The furniture was moved into the “winter mode” and I’ve brought in a few pieces of wood to dry out. Saturday, I start the fall hours at the library with my 10-noon shift. Sunday is Gina’s book release event that I’m so excited to attend. So, apologies for the lateness ~ it’s just the way things have been going as events have prevented sameness and ruts to continue here, creekside, where I haven’t been doing enough reflecting or Pilates…but there has been a lot of love and for that I am grateful.

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Thanks for stopping by and the read!

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There’s a cardinal banging on my window so it must be spring.

I don’t know why, but this year’s bird of mayhem is a cardinal and instead of just attacking the hallway windows upstairs, it’s decided my library windows are also things to batter. It makes waking up and traipsing off to do Pilates a bit disruptive. When the leaves come out, they generally lose interest in the perceived identical twin enemy, but until then, I have a “natural” early morning alarm clock that does not come with a snooze button. Joy, joy…

Another interview came out HERE. I saw the promo line and it was so appropriate – I’d forgotten I’d said it. Many, many thanks to the great, talented, and generous Tamara Grisanti and everyone at Coffin Bell.

The mad snowstorm I mentioned last time resulted in a lot of trees being damaged. Here are a few shots:

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It’s hard to show the extent of devastation to them, or my heart. I know, it sounds strange, but since I spend so much time here, trees do become like friends and any friend in pain hurts me…

Right, so, I rewrote my synopsis, reworked my query letter and sent it off to four more agents this week. I started my shifts at the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s Gift Shop. Behind in my submission goal, I’m off to bring those numbers up and try to end this excessive desire to clean and organize everything. My shoes have never been so orderly and that scares me a bit. My office looks like an efficient person works there. I joked with Nina Fosati at lunch on Monday that maybe I’m doing the opposite of “nesting” in preparation for New Book. I suppose anything is possible…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Easter, and don’t get fooled on the first of April. I’ll be older the next time I post, so birthday wishes will be happily accepted should you want to make this “milestone” truly great. Or not. Cheers!

Thanks for stopping by and for the read! As always, these are my creekside reflections and your experiences should vary, yaddah, yadah…

4 Degrees on the 4th of January

Hello and welcome to the first post of the new year! Most places in the US are cold right now because of some weather phenomenon I’ve never heard of before, so I won’t add to the griping since it hasn’t snowed yet today, but we do have snow.

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The holidays were fun and each started out right with pancakes and mimosas. I meant to take pictures, but when you’re drinking champagne first thing in the morning, it somehow makes one forgetful. Who knew?

What I do remember is unwrapping this on Christmas morning:

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This gorgeous piece of pottery was made by the multi-talented Mary Akers. Thank you Mary!

Husband and I took Ben down to PA for an amazingly wonderful visit with his Twin, Niece from Boston, and Nephew from near Portland. Bridge was played so everyone was allowed to remain unharmed. And look what Niece got for me!

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Isn’t it perfect? I’ve been thinking about “new book” and someone does have to die in it, so…

So, yeah, I have been thinking about it. I’ve also been thinking about how I didn’t submit as much as usual last year. And dreading the rewrite of the last book, but not as much as the idea of querying agents. Yes, I do have the best first world problems and I love every single one of them – including the abundance of new books to read.

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Congratulations to Alex Pruteanu on this – I’ve waited a long time to read it and I am savoring it.

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And mega-thank you to Susan Tepper! I’m looking forward to this delight!

Lousy weather does have its joy – curling up in front of the fire and reading.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay warm!

*These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences should vary.

It’s snowing and my snow tires are on

Who knew the first “real” snow of the year would be in December? It’s been falling steadily, but so far, the accumulation isn’t much. It’s covering things, making the outside world cold, but pretty. I love the first snowfall of the season most of all, but I’d send it to California if it would help the fires.

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It took forever to get tires on the car. First the wheels were too big, then I had an alignment problem, which led to replacing ball joints. . . All this car ownership fun I’ve missed for 15 years? I didn’t miss that at all, but I truly enjoy being able to go and attend events. One of the first was driving to Buff State for a reading by Joan Wilking. Afterwards, I went out to dinner at Cole’s with Joan, Kim Chinquee, Tamara Grisanti and a few others. There, I learned a piece I sent to Elm Leaves Journal was accepted for the Blues issue. It was a great time and Mycology, the 2016 Wild Onion Novella Prize is a great read. I literally gasped at one part. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

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Last Saturday was the Kirst Christmas party held at the bowling alley in Hamburg. It was fun, but so strange to see people I only once a year. Scott “the bee guy” recognized me, but he grew a mustache and I didn’t realize that was him. Husband and I bowled with Don and “not Eric.” I don’t think I’d met “not Eric” before, but that’s what I misheard and now I don’t remember his real name. Husband was given a plaque for working there 10 years. Somehow, it feels both longer and shorter than that.

We went to the community meeting about the possible round about on Route 240 and 12 people – out of possibly 100 – were loud and opposed to the idea. No one else was willing to say they wanted it. When the one man left and returned, I honestly feared he’d gone and got a gun. That’s how pissed off and irate he was and how scary and uncivil this town has become. Well, probably the nation. Talking about possible solutions no longer seems possible, it’s the loud mouths with guns who hold all the power. Some America this has turned out to be. . .

Otherwise, I’ve been rewriting a few flashes and I’ve submitted 10 pieces this week. I’m nearly ready to go back into the new novel that I started in November. I know, I should finish it first, but I’ve done that before and I recognize that every book of mine gets written differently, so this is the way this one is going – with fits and false starts. And so it goes . . .

Oh! I nearly forgot! This is how the tub area turned out. I am loving the light, the tiles, and even the grab bars. I now have a place to hang my washcloth. It is the small things in life, after all, that make life better and easier to get through, especially when the world’s gone mad.

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Thanks for stopping by for a read and as always, these are my creek side 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.

Of Islands and Such

First off, let me just say the Kathy Fish Fast Fiction Workshop is a lot of fun. It’s almost over and I have several new pieces fleshed out – some I couldn’t quite get right in time to post, so I have “extra” which feels great. I also got some insight into characters I want to use in a book – though in the notes for that piece, Kathy suggested it could be a screenplay…and that I should write screenplays if I don’t already. I mentioned to her that from what I read, screenplays were even harder to sell than novels.

Last Friday was my first day back at the Montessori school. This year I’m working as a literacy volunteer. I did 5 forty-five minute classes and then needed a 7 hour nap – which I didn’t get. Matt said he’d cut it down to 4 classes tomorrow. Something told me years ago I couldn’t cut it as a teacher; I’m glad I didn’t let myself get talked into working for a teaching certificate “just to have it.” I applaud and am in awe of teachers. You are AMAZING human beings doing incredibly difficult work. There is a “Teacher’s Day” in May. That’s not enough. There ought to be at least one “Teacher’s Day” a month.

The flash workshop has taken my focus away from submitting, though I did get a few things out. Submittable is a blessing and a curse. Being on the staff side, I know I can go to a submission and read it without tripping it to “in-progress.” Does that mean other editors are doing that, too? I have 18 submissions in my own queue; 10 are open. I have no idea what that even means anymore…

The ever-changing creek has given us an island.

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It’s been too cold to explore it and it may be gone by spring – though the daffodils are coming up – so maybe it is spring. With this ditzy weather, it’s hard to tell what season we’re experiencing. It was 20 degrees last night and supposed to be up in the 60’s next week. On Facebook, I saw that Gina’s husband is making maple syrup. I guess it’s time to pull out the seed starter kits and think about starting my tomato and pepper plants. It seems a little early, but with this weather, who knows. Maybe I’m starting them late for this year’s weather.

Thanks for stopping by ~ now go thank a teacher!

*These are my Creekside Reflections; yours should vary.