novels

Cats, Dogs, and Cleaning

This month wasn’t filled with as much new writing as I’d hoped. Dread was pervasive; who knew sore winners would turn out to be lousy losers? I’m so sick of that noise. Perhaps that’s why I’ve returned to re-watching Gilmore Girls and hunkering down for another round of edits on a novel and some flashes.

The day before the election, a flock of bluebirds appeared in the south lawn. They didn’t get close enough to photograph well, but I enjoyed the rare sighting.

We also had a surprise visit from a troupe of kittens. One splatted. This one is still around, but shy. Another was injured, but I was able to catch it. Once in my arms, it turned into a love bug. I kept it alive overnight and due to “foster” being checked instead of “foster to adopt” on the SPCA form, the tech who treated it now owns that cat instead of me. Lesson learned, there…

Thanksgiving: The Meal was not photographed. This is the table, that was the wine:

I wasn’t expecting to be nominated for anything this year, and I was fine. Nina Fosati was nominated for a Pushcart and a Best of the Net and I was thrilled to be close to a nominee but then, the amazing Cathy Ulrich at Milk Candy Review put “The Thinnest of Veneers” up for Best Microfictions. I was speechless, and so darn grateful.  

Husband has continued with the basement clean up.

You see this corner? I’ve never been in this corner. He hasn’t been in this corner in decades. And now, there are shelves…

Tomorrow, the last month of this long year begins. Kobie has a surgery scheduled.

I guess I forget to tell him. Well, now I have to talk him down. I never should have told him about my blog.

Right, well, thank you for stopping by and for the read! I appreciate you! Cheers!

Let’s wrap up this year already…

This is my last post for the year and — knock on wood — we get to the new one before yet another celebrity passes. Cohen, Bowie, Rickman, Prince, and Princess Leia all in one year is devastating! Sadly, there were even more…

I’ve ended up with a bit of a time buffer that I’ll be using to play catch-up-on-the-paperwork. Such a fun game! I made a decent dent in the filing of my writing over the weekend, have been winnowing the newspaper stack each night, but I’m dreading the receipt sorting/gathering tax paperwork part of the game. Yes, I know, it could be worse and I am grateful for the problems I have, but I still sometimes wish I had a secretary so I didn’t have to play one in real life.

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Speaking of real life, I really was appointed to the Board of Education. Is that life imitating art or me getting suckered punched into a bureaucratic and political quagmire? Either way, it will be more experience to plunder for another story or two…

Writing wise, I only know I’m not getting my hopes up. When I finished Life and Crimes, I thought it was the best thing I’d ever written. Full requests from agents was so damned sweet and then, when they said no, it hurt. This book, tentatively called Near Eden, New York, is better written than that — in my opinion by a lot. What if it isn’t enough though? What if I need to write another book that surpasses this one in quality before I have a book published? It’s such a heartbreaking profession — not at all the way I imagined it would be when I started dreaming about being a best-selling author. I know I’ll get there because I’m not smart enough to quit, but in the interim, I think I’ll return to the Hot Pants office at Zoetrope and start churning out flash.

I stopped in there last night before I glanced at my flash file. I don’t have a lot left to send out. Again, I know, that is the best problem to have — getting so much accepted that I have nothing left to submit. I am grateful. So grateful and I would love to continue kvetching here, but that isn’t reducing the paper stack.

Thanks for stopping by!

12-29-2016

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

The Post Valentine’s Day Post

Greetings! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day – and if not – realize it’s one day a year and it’s over now. On my Facebook Timeline, a “memory” from 3 years ago popped up. It was when Husband crafted a rose for me. I shared it and he ended up with mad props from a bunch of people. Does that count as my Valentine’s Day gift to him?

2016Rose

I chose a white rose with gentle red markings on the tips while we were at Wegman’s. I was/am happy with that. On Sunday – the day – Husband bought me a miniature rose bush. He is such a sweetheart.

miniroses

Next week I start a Flash Fiction workshop with Kathy Fish. I am so excited! I’ve admired her work for a long time. I can’t find my copy of Wild Life, but will be hunting it down to reread before class. Yes, I am that suck up.

The class is coming at a great time; I haven’t been producing much. I’m not blocked. It feels more like taking a breather. I’ve had several ‘insights’ into the book that I wrote for National Novel Writing Month – generally arriving seven minutes after I curl into bed for the night. I’ve dutifully jotted them down knowing the rewrite will be happening soon enough. I don’t know when, but it’s part of my process and I’ve learned to trust it.

Speaking of trust…I feel sorry for anyone who ends up with Leslie Gibbins as a lawyer. She is why I’m late posting today. Things that should have been taken care of in 2007 remain incomplete. Now, with a real lawyer, we’re figuring this out and correcting her ineptitude. Seriously, there is a couple in town that I do not like and I wouldn’t even want them to choose her as a legal representative. The worst part being that we didn’t choose her; someone else did. I know, maybe Leslie’s fun to drink with, but it’s Lent and I gave that up. Maybe she’s improved with age – I don’t know, but today, I am upset (but not surprised) by her failure to do something simple. Not that she cares, but it’s costing us hundreds of dollars. If it weren’t a pointless and costly endeavor to try to sue a lawyer, we’d be tempted. This, of course, is just my opinion, from my dealings with her…a reflection if you like. Creekside and all that…

Cheers! Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary (I should hope so!)

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!

25April

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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Aprflower

 

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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.

Trouble

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.)

 

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.)

The Muse is to Blame for the Lateness of this Post

Last night, there was a meeting of the novel critique group at Mary Aker’s house. I am loving this process. The people, the camaraderie, and the feedback are all impeccable. I also love seeing how their storylines and characters develop. Their plot twists and turns are fun to read and discuss. Plus, having people to commiserate with about the process isn’t too shabby, either. I feel so honored and privileged to be included, so yeah, I’m in a good mood. Mostly….

I’d come across a short story collection competition two hours before I left, and while my first attempt is intact, I’ve done revisions on several of the stories, so I reassembled the 24 pieces. I had ¾ of it compiled by the time I left the house. I got home around 10:20, finished adding the other stories and got it submitted well before the midnight deadline. With the steep entry fee, I let circumstance dictate if I entered at all.

Checking Facebook, I found Jeff Rose wanted to talk again, but I wasn’t there. The night before, I was quite animated and juggling several conversations. It was weirdly nice, to find I was wanted/missed on Facebook, even though it was in front of God and everybody.

I tried reading over the notes from Gina and Mary, but I was so whipped! Then, the second I put head to pillow, my story came to life. I heard so many conversations, saw so many scenes. My poor MC! I thought I just put her through hell. That’s NOTHING compared to what she’ll soon be going through. Poor thing. And while it was fantastic, to find out so many details about my story, at that time of night? Thank you muse. While jotting down a few key words, I saw it was 3:05 a.m. Hence the relative lateness of this post. You can thank the muse for that. I already thanked her.

Why yes, I do love the problems I have. Problems such as these:

cro

I want this.

3.6.2014This is what I’ve got.

I’m grateful the snow is melting off the roof of the garden shed, but I still can’t get inside.

Oh, I did want to apologize for last time–using mostly pictures–but it was my first official reading! I wish I’d saved them for this week’s blog entry, but choices and consequences, eh? Right, so Gina said her husband tapped his maples over the weekend and that has got to mean spring. It just DOES at this point because it’s been so freaking cold and snowy for so long. I need me some robins and crocuses, and another acceptance or two wouldn’t hurt my feelings, either. Did I forget to mention this? I had TWO poems accepted for the inaugural issue of Wicked Banshee. I am so freaking thrilled to be included in what looks to be a fantastic venue. Thank you SaraEve!

And thank you for checking in!

(Remember, these are just my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Catching up with the normal

Last month’s post should serve as a warning to all–if you’re in my view or thoughts while I’m writing my blog post, you will end up being written about. Husband can once again attest to that. Some writers threaten that you’ll be put in a book or a story, but I don’t write that way. How I write is crazy. I made my word count for National Novel Writing Month, but I don’t have a novel. I have a rough draft that ended up sputtering. I got so far in, went so deep and what happened needed to happen, but I wasn’t ready to write about it so I backed off until I could face those things in a later version of that tale.

And if that makes sense…you might be a novelist.

This has been awesome. I know more about of the characters now. I found out a few things that surprised me, so hopefully (knock on wood) after revisions and rewrites, if you ever read that story, you’ll be as surprised as I was to find out who Henri turned out to be–and trust me–it is surprising.

Otherwise, I’m still hanging on to hope. *Sigh* The agent hasn’t responded after I sent the requested material. He asks for an exclusive month. The day after Christmas, I should have an answer.

Either way, I’ll carry on with what I do. Read, write, revise, repeat. I’ve also been nudged into a not quite new thing: Review

So, if you’re into that sort of thing, I recently posted a review of a book on–get this–the Book Review page of this blog.

I can’t say I’m comfortable with this. “Don’t judge, lest you be judged” was rammed into my head growing up. *Sigh* Regardless, my thoughts and comments on other people’s work are mine–honest, true and as there is enough negativity in the world, I doubt you’ll see me rating a book low. That a person can get a book published at all ought to be celebrated. I’ll take my Grandfather’s stance on my Grandmother’s cooking. When she made something he didn’t like, he’d say, “Well, you don’t have to make that again.” My—most likely private—thought will be, “Well, I don’t have to read that again.”

There’s laundry to do and a grocery list to make.You know, the “normal” things that slip to last place during NaNo.  Outside, most of the snow is gone. This is the view of the creek from my kitchen window this morning.

Creekside

*(These are just my creekside reflections. Your experience and reading taste may vary.)