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Not enough hours in a days sometimes…

What’s this? Five minutes without something urgently in need of my attention? I must be slacking. No, that was yesterday when I had to work, and get my initial interview questions out to Kurt Baumeister about his book, Pax Americana, for the Tavern Lantern interview. Then it was off to home where I found a most welcome letter…with a deadline.

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Hence, my reasons for not getting this blog post up until just now. I have others, like surviving the reading on Tuesday at the Hamburg Library. Photos compliments of Husband!

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Me.

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Nina Fosati

 

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Shirley Palmerton and Jim Miner

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Debra O’Connor

Husband has been driving me nuts about the chairs, so I’m rearranging my schedule so we can go get them. I also need ink refills, so that has to be worked into the plan. I’ve also been spending too much time obsessing over the Pitch Madness Teasers for the Candyland Edition. I must stop going on Twitter, really. And today I’m looking forward to another bit of unexpected good news. My son is coming to visit next week! So, apologies for being late with this post. I’m juggling as fast as I can.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

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Possessed Lawnmowers, Explosions, and Break Downs.

The morning started with a strange noise. It didn’t go away and not being able to deduce where it was coming from, I got out of bed. I put coffee in the microwave and went out to get the paper only to find the strange noise coming from Husband’s riding lawnmower. I checked, the key was in the off position. I even pulled the key out. I called Husband. He told me it was trying to start itself and to press a button. It stopped making noise. By the time I returned with the paper, it had started again. I’ve been out there 4 times now, BUT I’ve since had my coffee so it’s a bit less disturbing to have possessed machinery in the yard.

 

That was the latest thing to go kerflunky. Last night, I turned on the grill and when it was hot, I started the chicken and went inside. I heard a “pop” and thought Husband was on the lawnmower and it backfired. No, he came in through the kitchen door to report the regulator on the grill had blown up. Apparently there were flames and everything. I’m glad I missed that and it didn’t happen when I was out there. The chicken went into the oven so dinner was able to be served eventually.

 

The worst thing–of course–is the Chevrolet Colorado broke down and had to go into the shop AGAIN!!!! This time because the fuel pump died. Yet another grand into that beast and it’s STILL not paid off. Of course it had been in for an oil change at the dealership just before the latest thing went wrong. On Twitter, Chevrolet was sad to hear about my “concerns.” They want me to send them the VIN. For what? A friggin’ coupon for an oil change? I am SO irritated.

 

Otherwise, this is where I’ve been and where I’ll be. The magic triangle of the screened in tent, the garden shed, and the garden. The fence – at least one side – is slated to go up this year. The gate went in this weekend.

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Look, a frog!

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The new bulbs bloomed!

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And in writing related news, I’ve been working on something and it’s over 5,000 words long so far. I don’t know what to call it yet, so I’m letting it progress at its own pace. I have a review to finish writing, a 300 word profile to write because Literary Orphans is celebrating its 25th Issue with a special staff page, and lord knows what else. Anyway, I should figure that out and get to it as soon as I crank up the computer and post this.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

Tipsy-turvy and beautiful colors

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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.

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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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Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

Fresh out of Data Usage Jail

Oye to the data usage hell I’ve been through recently. I’m convinced it is Twitter or a bug associated with Twitter that sends me over the edge, but it is now the 7th, the cycle restarts today, and I’m here. Welcome to the May 7th 2015 edition of Creekside Reflections. Aren’t you pretty? I’m so glad to see you!

 
So, besides the nail biting as to whether or not I would go over the limit, wonderful things have happened. “Like what?” you ask. Well, the reading. It was great. The 5 authors: Stephen G. Eoannou, Mary Akers, Gina Miani, Jeff Schober, and Kim Chinquee were wonderful. Class acts, each and every one of them. If you ever get a chance, go to their readings, buy their books, read their words. Totally worth it!

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Is that all? No! The readers at r.kv.r.y. went through a huge, respectful and insightful give and take on a piece we received. End shot, Mary resolved the differences and in January, there is an incredible issue in the works based on the title piece, Flame.

“That’s all?” you scoff. No! I’m preparing to send 25 pages of an old novel to my critique group today. Next week, I’m meeting with a woman I met through Bella Poynton’s playwriting class to discuss our stories. I’ve nearly psyched myself up to plunge into another revision of “Life and Crimes.” A story I couldn’t figure out is turning into a play that writes itself. And the topper of them all: I’m in a flash fiction workshop with the witty, the talented and the great flash fiction writer, Meg Pokrass. I have one draft of a story done and posted there and already have fantastic advice on how to improve it. I’m not even going to mention the awesome note she sent. I am so excited to work with her!

Outside, the trees are turning green, the apricot flowers bloomed, and I have peas coming up.

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Saturday night a gorgeous, well-trained Rottweiler with no collar came to our door. He wanted in in the worst way, but the cat said, “Oh, hell no.” I gave him Tye’s old blanket in the tractor shed and he was out there for a while. In the morning, Husband met him and then he left for town. When he returned, the dog was gone just as quickly as he’d arrived. I’d just been writing in a letter to a friend about how I kind of missed having a dog around, and boom, there he was.

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You know, I really want an agent, a 6 figure book contract, and a spot on the New York Times bestseller’s list. Just saying…

Thanks for stopping by!

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

 

Pavlov’s got nothing on Samsung

So, I tend to be close-lipped on some things, a blabbermouth about others, right? I’m now confessing that we got rid of our landline–and our abusive relationship with AT&T–over a month ago. Of course, there’s still a little back and forth slapping going on with AT&T, but my blowup on Twitter did get me some satisfaction in that regard. Supposedly, the bill we shouldn’t have gotten in the first place–let alone with a late fee–has been taken care of, but I have a whole month to wait to see it in print.

Our semi-smart phone takes great pictures and since we got the case and touch screen stylus, I can type longer texts. The other good thing is that I can check my Gmail account without having to go upstairs, turn on the tower, and check a bunch of other pages like Duotrope, Twitter, and Facebook. The bad part is that now the semi-smart phone chirps whenever an email arrives. I’ve turned into a puppet for that sound. I tense up and feel the need to rush over and check what was sent. I’m learning–slowly–that most of my “mail” is actually Facebook group updates and not worthy of my immediate attention. Of course, as soon as I typed that, an actual important email did arrive…

I’m signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Just before I fell asleep last night, I found the “key” that was missing from the-new-piece-that-I-still-don’t-have-a-name-for. Looking at it again this morning, I felt stupid for not seeing the answer before since it is so obvious. Regardless, I think I’ve got it and look forward to writing it soon.

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Besides the melting snow, I have pansies and impatiens sprouting as well as deer coming too close to the house. My list of people I owe letters to has been reduced. I finished reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. I’m a quarter of the way through Thom Jones’ The Pugilist at Rest and half-way through Paulo Coelho’s Brida, which gets me closer to catching up to my goal of reading a book a week…but the idea of reviewing them, well, that has fallen to the wayside for now.

 

 

 

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I truly love the problems I have.

Thank you for stopping by! One of you lucky readers should be on the lookout for a small care package that I sent out Tuesday as a random act of kindness. Will it be you? By the way, these are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.

Priorities and/or delusions

Often, I have a list of topics to cover before I start my blog. Not so with this one. What I have is increasingly annoying notices that I am close to using up all of my monthly “usage,” so no pictures this time. I blame Snovember and having to send Husband’s pictures to his friends and family. If you need pictures, you can look on my Facebook page at a building that crumbled under the weight of the snow. We didn’t get a lot of snow here and I’m grateful for that.

It’s #PitMad on Twitter today. That will drive me over my usage amount, but if I get a tweet favorited by an agent, I’m willing to believe it will be worth it. I did get a favorite from an acquisitions editor last time, but even as I sent the requested material, I knew in my heart it wasn’t going to work out. Sometimes, I hate my sixth sense.

Thanksgiving was dignified and respectful. I’m glad of that. My niece and nephew will be flying into Buffalo in a few weeks for a Christmas visit, so after neglecting the housework while I worked on my latest novel, I’m cleaning the house, kicking out the spiders, and debating if I need to hold onto everything I touch. I’ve put several sweaters and shirts in the donation pile and three cookbooks are on their way, too.

So that is the fun going on around here recently. I’m enjoying this “break” from the novel. When I go back to rewrite it, I know I now have a much better sense of the character’s motivations that I didn’t in the first draft. One thing I will always love about writing is how characters come alive, reveal themselves, and alter what you thought their plotline was going to be. It’s the best kind of magic.

 

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

Critiques, Praise, and Preparing for the Next Phase

Good morning! The Buddy Guy concert is coming up quickly and Husband is looking forward to taking a vacation and traveling to see a Blues great while stopping by to visit great friends on the way there and back. I’m worrying over the details and making lists so we don’t forget the charger for the cell phone.

I’m also looking forward time spent Internet free. I’ll have my cell, but I’m leaving all of my passwords at home. I’m the neurotic who changes them constantly to bizzaro combinations, so no, I don’t have them memorized and really will not be able to check my email, Facebook, Twitter or Ello for a week. And as I type that, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have my email password at least, but am telling myself no. Whatever happens–good or bad news–can wait. Besides wanting time away from the screens to focus on the people and the experiences of the trip, I want time to think about new characters. National Novel Writing Month is soon here and I’m excited!

If you’re not familiar with Tarl Kudrick’s On the Premises, you should be and I’m not just saying that because I made it to the top 25 in the last contest. He and Bethany Granger are close readers with great taste. I have made it to the Top Ten before–which comes with a free critique of your story. Being close this time, I went ahead and got one. Worth it! Mine was fair and honest, and included a few suggestions on how to improve the piece. Granted, reading criticism the first time through (good or bad) makes me cringe, but writing as long as I have, I know to shrug it off, look at what is being said, and if it’s valid, rewrite with that in mind. I did rewrite it and if something good happens to it, I’ll let you know.

Two good things happened to L&C: I participated in #AdPit on Twitter and got a favorite from someone at a Harlequin Imprint and so much more importantly, Jim and Julie started reading it and their initial impression is favorable. One comment from them was that the MC was compelling. Can I be happy with that and let it go? No! I panicked and started a letter apologizing for the end being a disappointment to them.

I swear to Pete and Peter my next book has got to have a MC who is NOT neurotic…

The Dark Arts Group Show at Van Over Fine Arts is fabulous and if you have a chance, you really should go see it.

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The Colden Arts Festival was chilly and wet, but it was great to see JT and The Law.

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Otherwise, I hope you’re enjoying the sweater weather; I know I am. Thanks for checking in!

(*Everything in this blog is based on my creekside reflections. Your reality maybe skewed–or better remembered.)