Bella Poynton

I was solicited. Not the worst thing that’s ever happened…

So that was a bit of a tease. The publisher at Hypertrophic Press contacted me about Chris DiCicco new collection, “So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds” and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the book or interviewing the author. I ran it by Brittany Warren, the Managing editor of The Literary Tavern. She said to go for it. I’m reading it now. It’s an interesting mix of stories.

I’m hoping to have it read and the interview conducted and turned in before Halloween, but I’m not going to kill myself trying to get it done. There is a wedding, a Bills game watching party, plus deadlines fast approaching. In an ideal world, I’d have clear slate for November, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’ve still “won” NaNoWriMo. Usually, I have some idea of what I want to write, but so far – aside from the title – I’m blank. After the tremendous amount of time I put into “Life and Crimes,” I think it’s to be expected.

I’ve done this enough to know that once I “see” the end, I’ll be able to get a rough draft down. It’s a tingly, full of dread and excitement phase now. Will I make it? Sadist (or insane writer that I am) I’m hoping to add more to “Dreaming Lettie” as well as writing 50,000 words toward “Considering the Alternative.” I’m covered for the 20 pages due for next month’s novel critique group meeting, plus I’ve got a few pages in my notebook for the December twenty (written during the boring parts of a Board of Education meeting) but otherwise, I’d hoped to be farther along. If we have pages due on December 1st, well, let’s just say I don’t see that happening…

Yes, I love the problems I have!

Nancy Leone, a woman I met in Bella Poynton’s playwriting workshop, has been reading the revised “Life and Crimes.” So far, so good. I had a lovely time with her yesterday over tea, apple crisp, brie, and grapes.

I finished the baby blanket and sent that off yesterday. The garden shed is cleaned up, the tool blades oiled, leaves raked and on the resting raised bed. I can’t say I’m “ready” for winter, but with all the garden tasks complete, I’ve been able to relax and enjoy the beauty of autumn. The Sweet Gum is changing color and it’s beautiful to see all of the colors it produces.





And my copy of Best New Writing 2016 arrived yesterday. I have to admit that it’s nice to see “Gover Prize Winner” associated with my name. Many thanks to Christopher Klim, Brittany Fonte, and everyone at Hopewell Publications.



Thanks for stopping by! Happy Halloween!





*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!


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.





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.


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.)


TGI August!

Happy August to all!

I’m happy to be stepping out of July’s Camp NaNo. I made my goal by the fudge factor of kicking in a story I wrote on the cusp of the June/July turn over–and I feel spent. I know each time I attempt this crazy idea, I do produce and I do grow as a writer, but I’m done with trying to do anything but a novel in 30 days. Short work/essays/poems are much too hard to try to produce on such a demanding schedule. Added to that, my best friend moved away and was settling into her new home, I took a play writing workshop, and had major property upheavals this month. I am in need of a vacation.

But do I get a moment to relax? HA!

The next draft of my play, “File it Under Whatnots” is due next week–and I want to get a copy of it to Bella Poynton before then so I can hone this piece to as close to perfection as possible. I love that is a priority in my life. I never thought I’d attempt to write a play, but I did.

Should you be clueless, western New York weather is a funky mix and during the summer I try to get up early to take advantage of the cool air to get things done…And getting things done has happened all over the property recently.

My garden was weeded…Not the surrounding area, just where the plants are growing in the raised bed.


Husband heard of a guy who scrapped cars, so we needed to clear out the Subaru. The things in the Subaru needed a home and the “temporary scaffolding” that held a bunch of pipes and things needed to be taken down, moved and reinforced. The leaded glass window he’d pulled out of the wall behind the bookcase earlier this year was in the way. Jim Tuttle had told us frogs need a place to do their thing so they’d stick around our garden.


The scaffold was cleared, dismantled, reassembled and the trees were trimmed–not that I have pictures to show you of that. The garden shed was measured,


cut with a grinder



and had the window installed.



We’re not there yet, but the liner is bought, the hole is mostly dug, and I’m looking forward to frogs moving in soon.


The scrapper–one of the nicest strangers I’ve ever met came, took the Subaru AND the 4 dead tires we’d pulled from the creek over the years.



None of the pictures I took turned out well enough to show you that I got my hair cut and colored as a test run for attending Mary Aker’s book launch at the Roycroft coming up soon. You should join me there!  Plus, while they were in bloom, I appreciated these flowers:




All in all, a great few weeks around here.

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

I Constantly Notice the Difference, Don’t You?

Yeah, so I know the adage that without bad things going on, you won’t appreciate the good, but seriously, I’m pretty sure I would. A bunch of happy things have been going on–writing wise–but the rest of life has been irritating. To the powers that be, I’d like to point out that I know these beautiful flowers are fabulous:


I don’t need hungry, mean deer flies attacking and biting me every time I go outside just to make me appreciate the beauty of the blooms. Minga!

Anyway, last week, I started taking a playwriting workshop with Bella Poynton. I am loving it. The first session was such a revelation to me–I’ve gotten so many comments on rejections that whatever else was wrong with my manuscripts, the dialogue was good. I had my free writing/first attempt at a play read aloud. It was so exciting. It was one of the first times where I wrote something and came to the end and recognized that. It was a fabulous.

Then, after learning to strip down the conflicts and characters to just “voice,” I came home to find a lovely email from Southeast Review about a story I wrote during June for their Writers Regimen. My “Turtle” story was selected as a finalist for their “spotlight.” I sent two stories in. I thought the other one was stronger, but whatever. The ironic bit is that the story they liked was one where I focused on details of the senses. It didn’t win, but I now have a good story to send out during the upcoming August/September/October Submission Opening Madness. (I love the problems I have.)

Today, was the community blood drive. I thought I’d have time to do that then go to the café and grab a sandwich or a salad or something for dinner before the workshop began. Stupid me for thinking that things would work out! Anyway, I went in to donate, got done, and as I was eating my cookie, I looked down and there was blood all over. The monitor rang a bell; I was taken back and swabbed down and had a new, larger bandage applied. Which would have been fine, but I looked at the blood swabbing and saw the blood all over my shirt and I felt lightheaded, aw hell, I almost went down. I’m good with blood in tubes and bags, but on my arm and shirt, not so much. So, I was sent to rest. I got out of there and had to go buy a new shirt–not an easy task when it’s a “have to”–and I had barely enough time to get to the playwriting workshop, so no dinner for me.

Meanwhile, at home… Husband had called when I was in the intake area. He was looking for a phone number. I couldn’t leave to go get it for him, so after the blood donation/bleeding through the Band-Aid, I called him back and gave him the number. That was at 5:35. There were a few things I’d asked him to do, but by the time I got home–four hours after that phone call–and I had left originally at 4:15–so really, he had 5 hours. FIVE HOURS to do these simple things: a) pull open a tin of food and put it in the dog’s food bowl b) Take a shower c) rinse some bagged lettuce, put it on top of the ton of vegetables I’d already rinsed, peeled, cut up, and put in a salad bowl d) add salad dressing and e) heat up meat and a roll and combine them for a small sandwich.

He managed the meat and roll. That’s it. I’m still SO pissed. How is 5 hours not enough time to get those tiny minor things done? If there was some television show he watched, maybe, but no. There isn’t one, so there is no excuse.

Yes, I’ll stupidly talk to him about this tomorrow. Again. But I don’t think he gets this. I want/need to go out to conferences and workshops and meetings with other writers. When he dicks around and drinks and watches episodes of M*A*S*H for the fiftieth time instead of doing minor things like eating, it makes me feel like I can’t leave the house at all. I’m starting to REALLY resent that. I just hope he doesn’t think that’s a ploy that will keep me. I’m not even trying to be a bitch, I’m just saying that I do see the good and the bad and appreciate the difference. Right now, blood drained and playwriting workshop high, I’m feeling like he’s taking advantage of what I’m providing in the “good” so much that he isn’t recognizing the “bad” if I disappear and stop doing what I do. It hurts. It hurts a lot. Worse than the blistering deer fly bite on my neck.

(Yeah, so, wow, that would be my wounded wife creek side reflections for this week. I hope to god your experiences do vary.)