Nancy Leone

August has arrived

When I finish writing projects, I’m usually thrilled to be done…not so much this time. I know, I know, I plan on this being a trilogy, but in roughly two days, this draft of Dreaming Lettie will be done and that makes me sad.

I’m thrilled to have such lovely problems.

The “fun” story I mentioned last time was polished up and I want to give a shout out to Nancy Leone and Nina Fosati for their help and insight and to Saundra for laughing when I read an early draft at the Hamburg Writers Group meeting.

The heat has been getting to the plants. The garden is doing great, as well as the trees and shrubs I’ve been taking water out to every day in the far backyard but today I noticed the hydrangea, one that’s been doing well for at least 6 years, was stressed so I hauled water out to it, too.

The bee saga came to a peaceful conclusion. When Vikki, my amazing and brave sister was here, she soaked cotton balls in almond extract and plugged them around the entry. The wood that was pried off, stayed off.  I had a plan to entice them to a new home, but when I secured a bottle of lemongrass oil, (Thank you Nancy!) the bees had moved on. Husband replaced the wood last weekend. Soon the gutter will be repaired, the tree taken down, caulk applied, the window washed and scaffold taken down. Now that’s a project I will be glad to be done with!

The timing of that will be convenient since the vegetable canning has already begun. I put up three quarts of green beans yesterday using the outside stove my incredible Husband made for me years ago. It is such a great thing to do water boiling outside in this weather.

And so, out to the screened-in tent to begin the end of my latest book. If you’re interested in reading another book, here’s what I had to say about Christopher DeWan’s soon to be released collection, “Hoopty Time Machines.” Thanks for stopping by!

 

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*These are my creek side reflections. Yours may vary.

If it’s the 19th, I must be up to 31673 words.

 

{~Photos graciously provided by Joseph Fleckenstein~}

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Participating in National Novel Writing Month is a process that continues to fascinate me. I won’t say it gets easier, or that I am any closer to having a “real” book by the end, but each time I find a rhythm. I completely “pantsed” this year and so far, I’m finding my way – though by now, the beginning needs major reworking. Oh, how I love the problems I have.

 
I forget which “law” it is, but to me, writing is motion and once engaged, I write even more. My co-workers have been nailing comments on pieces sent to Literary Orphans, so I’ve mostly bowed out of commenting there because, “What Len said” and “Brittany summed it up nicely” grows tiresome, even to my own ear. I do read, and I vote. That is the loveliest thing – if you submit to LO, your piece is read by at least three people.

There’s more responsibility and leeway at r.kv.r.y. I made an executive decision Sunday night. A writer sent a piece and said he’d appreciate any feedback. It’s customary to wait a week before responding – I don’t know why that is, it just is. Anyway, the writing was good but the story wasn’t “there.” I offered my reasons and reasoning as to why I wasn’t accepting the piece. It was a bit scary – one never knows how another reacts – especially to rejection.

In the morning, the writer, Joseph Fleckenstein – my guest photographer today – responded with an abundance of gratitude. My time spent reaching out and talking to another writer ended in an offer of four beautiful images to choose from for my very own. The first was of a thistle. I chose that one because of it being a talisman to the family I married into – a thistle was on Gideon Whitson’s gravestone – and if the story I got from Husband is wrong, I’m sure my beautiful niece will correct me. So at the top and bottom are two gorgeous photos of thistles by Joseph Fleckenstein. My many, many thanks to him.

‘Tis the season to be grateful, isn’t it?

Nancy Leone came by yesterday with flowers, fresh rosemary, and her final notes on L&C. She had one major point I know I should consider fixing. It’s at the end and won’t require a lot, but I wish that book was “done” done. I know, it won’t be until it’s published – should I be that lucky, but it’s gotten to minutia and I’m tired. I want to move on. Is that wrong? Besides which, someone wondered if I wasn’t allowing too many critiquers into the pot, but the last major rewrite pleased him so I just don’t know anymore.

What I do know is that I took a break from a private office in Zoetrope. I didn’t think I was being useful and the prompts weren’t working. Late summer and early autumn are full of depression triggering time bombs. Events conspired, I wrote a creative nonfiction piece – something I shy away from writing, but I posted it and then could see the flaws. It felt great though, to dip back into flash. So, to you Kim Chinquee, I want to give my thanks for leaving that office door open. And thanks to Gina who has been such a positive guide. Thanks to Mary for her belief in me. Thanks to my incredible and kind Husband. To Sidney. To Alex. To Chyo. To XOMan. To my niece.

I could go on for a VERY long time naming people and things I’m grateful for but this post is already topping 600 words. That’s longer than the flash I wrote…which just proves the law I was talking about…

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thank you again, Joseph Fleckenstein!

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

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.

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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.

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Thanks for stopping by! Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

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

Good. Golden. Overwhelming.

Since last you read, amazing things have happened in my life:

Awesome Niece Rachael announced she is going to visit us in August.

Nancy Leone stopped by and we had a lovely morning together discussing writing.

I had a strange-but endearing-meeting with a person who will henceforth be referred to as “Trouble” about Matt’s presidential campaign.

The play by Donna Hoke I directed was performed by three amazing women (Shirley Reeves, Marilyn Heary and Jeanne May.)

My interview with Beth Gilstrap about her short story collection, ” I Am Barbarella” was accepted and went live on The Tavern with the support and care to detail that only Scott Waldyn and Mike Joyce can provide.

Kim Chinquee–the Queen of Flash–gave me, Gina, and Mary a tour of her awesome home before our novel critique group meeting.

The zinnias are blooming.   Displaying IMG_20150723_103133.jpg I WON THE GOVER PRIZE!

I know, nothing like burying the lead, is there? Anyways, I’m working on yet another revision of my book on the off chance the prize encourages an agent to contact me. Take care of each other until next time!

(These are my creek side 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

Pictures from a Reading

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Me!

T. L. Sherwood

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Gunilla Theander Kester

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Mrs. Morse reading George Morse’s Story

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Susan Lynn Solomon

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Trudy Cusella

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Mike Rera

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Gary Earl Ross

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George Morse, me, and his wife

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By the fireplace with Joanie Long

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Nancy Leone and Gary Earl Ross

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This is the book that was launched at the West Falls-Colden Library on 15 February 2014

Queen City Flash

Many thanks to all that attended.

Photos by Husband

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