Submitting

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…

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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.

Short month; full calendar

In a recent letter to a friend, I came up with the idea of sending out a submission a day for a year. Thinking about it further, I decided on a more sensible goal of 31 submissions in 31 days – or one a day in January – and achieved it. My thought was that if I did that much, I could continue, and if not, that was fine, too. I mean, really, 366 in 366 is a lot to commit to, but I’ll probably pick another month and do that again – just not this month.

For a short month, there is a lot on my calendar. I met with Nancy yesterday to discuss life and writing. Monday, I’m auditioning for a role in 1 of 9 ten minute plays. Lent is fast approaching so soon there will be dinners out on Fridays for fish fries (and no dishes to wash!) On the 18th, the novel critique group is meeting once again after its brief winter hiatus and later this month I have the amazing good fortune to be taking an online course about Flash Fiction with the incredibly talented Kathy Fish.

One thing I will be submitting to is the 21st Dear Lucky Agent contest hosted by Chuck Sambuchino. This time, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein from McIntosh & Otis is the judge. I’m sending the first page of “Ellie’s Elephants.” Wish me luck!

The news has been filled with the sad passings of people with enormous talent. Bowie will be read about forever and I want to give kudos to my cousin, Gregory Cason for being part of a tribute. He’s all bashful about it, but his name is on that byline and I’m proud of him. Hugs and high fives, Greg!!!

All right, I’m off to write, read, and make tomato sauce for dinner after our trip to the lawyer tonight. Thanks for stopping by!

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

Mad Quest: Organizing My Stuff

It got to the point where the papers in the “to file” box tumbled over the sides again and while I picked them up for the fifth time, I realized I really had to tackle that job. Bank statements, take-out menus, invitations to events I never had any intention of going to, and stray button batteries lingered in that box for up to two years – perhaps longer – but the box is now empty. Not only did I file, I went through the files and purged them of outdated material. It feels really good to have that done. I have some hope that I’ll get to the filing a bit quicker next time.

(Don’t laugh! It could happen!)

Occasionally, I’ll try the “touch it once” paper solution idea, but that rarely lasts longer than three days because I’d rather work on a story than go through mail the second it comes. Besides, I like lingering over J. Peterman catalogs…

Of course that “good deed” lead to others, like making an appointment with a lawyer to update our wills since the ones we had named a now dead person to be the executor in case we died at the same time, which led to the deed being “quick claimed” so if something happens, (knock-on-wood-it-doesn’t) probate can be avoided. Lawyers are expensive creatures! I mean, I knew that in general, but when I got the bill, I started wondering if I shouldn’t have stuck with my 6th grade goal and pursued a career in the legal profession.

I also went through the stack of “there’s an article/quote/cartoon/recipe I want in here” newspapers. Then, I tackled the print out stack in my office and I can now find the stories I want because they are in folders. It’s a New Year miracle!

All of that good stuff means I’m behind on collecting the tax stuff, but I’m close. I’m also upping my game with writing and submissions. I don’t know how long these good intentions will last, but they aren’t “resolutions” so they have a better shot of continuing than not. I hope.

I think the burst of ambition has a little to do with being inspired by beauty.

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They are both by Mia Avramut. Husband matted them last Saturday and they are ready to hang, but I have them on the shelves of the bookcase where I can admire them for now. They are both so gorgeous; these photos do not do then justice.

So, that’s what has been happening around here. Thanks for checking in!

 

 

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