Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ba-ba-ba-boo . . . Pennies From Heaven

I love Bing Crosby, and not just the Christmastime Bing, the 1940's blue-eyed crooner Bing. He had one of those voices that could melt a heart, take it out of its despair and turn it right side up again. I love old records like this.

You can just picture two people listening to this a long time ago. She's wearing red lipstick and has her shining hair all coifed up on top of her head. He smells like Old Spice and tobacco and is wearing a sweater vest over a long-sleeved cotton shirt. The room is dark, and the floor creaks as they dance. It's an old RCA Victor that they have the record spinning on; the thing crackles and whirs and a cold wind blows outside.


Scare me . . . please!

Fall always makes me want to read ghost stories, the true kind. I love the fictional ones yes, but nothing thrills me more than someone's account of a real haunting. Soooooo, since I've read pretty much everything on the internet about this topic, I need some fresh stories! Tell me if you've ever seen a ghost, had a paranormal experience, been awoken by shadow figures, watched things move in right in front of your eyes, heard voices out of nowhere . . . you know, basic spine-tingling stuff. The scarier the better!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sorry Honey, I ate cornflakes all day


I had to make an extra post because of something I read on the internet. Did you know that cornflakes were part of a "pure" vegetarian diet, including the avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine? Started by a Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, cornflakes were considered safe and bland; spices being considered a food that could incite "desires."

I just know them as the cereal you have to cover with a ton of sugar and eat really, really fast. If you wait too long, it's all over. Mush.

Being Positive

I'm reading Buffalo Girls by, yes again, Larry McMurtry. I tole you I jus' couldn't quit him! I like McMurtry because his phrasing is similar to mine, because he understands humans waaaay too much, and because every once in a while he writes a line that makes me laugh out loud. I love that. It's what I like to do when I write. I'll make a scene really serious then out of nowhere throw an absurd one-liner and then go back to serious again. It's like popping knuckles or something—I just have to do it.

Have you ever noticed how much writers need to be validated for their work? Not mentioning me, of course! We're always asking if our work is good enough, is it readable, does it run smooth, do you like it?!! What writers are really looking for is someone else, besides themselves, to read their work. Please, please, read this . . . like a beggar reaching out for food. Tell me it's gooooood. I know I'm guilty of this, but I have been trying to wean myself—although the honorable mention the other day made my life. MY LIFE. But no, I do want to wean myself and just have faith that what I produce is good enough, that I know how to edit properly, that I am capable of good work, and am no longer a clueless newbie.

One thing I know for sure, once you let doubt have its way with you, it's all over. A person has got to hold firm and say no to negative thoughts. I always equated it to someone painting a white wall black. It's very easy to do, but not so easy to cover the black wall with white paint. Being positive is a hard process, and takes great care and effort. It's delicate and needs protection.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Try, Try Again

Well, I guess I'll go another round with this old book of mine. A few months ago, before putting it aside, I made changes to the beginning chapters which represented Emma's voice in a much stronger way—it had become sterile and boring after tons of edits. I thought hard about what I had initially wanted her to say, and how I wanted her spirit of a sweet, yet feisty hippie girl to shine. I made those changes and put it aside to do other things, which was a really good idea. I was truly burnt out. Last night I compiled a whole list of agents to send queries to. I thought I'd gone through them all, but I guess not. Thank you agentquery.com!

And thank you to my friends who have always been so kind and supportive of me even when I couldn't be that way for myself. Keep your fingers crossed. Again!

Here is a cool video that little Julia is in love with. It's quite long, but well worth it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Julia's Birth Day

I woke up and knew it was time. There were strange things going on in my nether regions, and in my abdomen, a slow burning ache that would come and go in waves. It was seven a.m., a little early to be in labor, but Mother Nature doesn't work on schedules. I turned on the t.v and watched for a bit, knowing contractions could take all day before being really serious. It was rather exciting. Let's see, how many minutes have to be in between these suckers before going to the hospital? About three? Well then I'll just watch the news and. . . CRAP. My contractions were at five minutes already!

I woke up mister grouchy man and told him that things were progressing quickly and perhaps he'd better call in to work. "Ah, we have plenty of time." "No. We don't. Call and tell them your wife is in labor and you won't be able to work today." "We'll see. I think we have plenty of time and I could work a few hours before anything gets serious." "NO. CALL THEM." Do men not understand the wrath of a woman with a tiny human coming out of her vajayjay?! Don't argue with us. Seriously.

We made it to the hospital and after filling out some forms, someone wheel-chaired me up to the fourth floor where I was strapped down to the hospital bed with i.v.'s and monitors. It was cold and the contractions were coming closer, getting stronger. We could see how they looked on the monitor, a black screen with jagged green electric lines. "Hey, look at that!" Hubby kept commenting. "Here comes another one." It didn't want to see. Looking at that machine filled me with panic. The contractions had grown worse, had gotten so one barely separated from the other anymore. I was always trying to catch my breath and started to writhe in bed in pain. It didn't help when my doctor came to check me and ended up breaking my water. "Are you ready for that epidural now?" Yes, yes, I'm ready!

An epidural is an i.v. of pain medication inserted into a major vein in your spine. A little tube is inserted first, then the thin syringe i.v. is placed inside that, and they tape the whole thing to your back to keep it from slipping. It's very dangerous and I was told to sit perfectly still even during contractions. Half an hour later, though, and I am watching the contractions come up on the screen and can't feel a thing. Wheeeeeee! Thank you Jesus!

A few hours later and I'm fully effaced and dilated, meaning, it's time. One nurse's job is to count to ten S-L-O-W-L-Y while I push as hard as I can. I'm told to take a few deep breaths and do it again. Again and again for almost an hour. When the doctor says she can see the top of Julia's head, I'm excited, but tired and worried. Julia's heartbeat had become erratic and a few extra nurses were called in. Finally, after one long push she is out. All the pressure and pain release from my body and I see her: a red, shiny little thing. She's crying; someone snatches her away and takes her to a side table for oxygen, and I'm crying with relief and worry. They take her out of the room for an hour to put her in the oxygen tent, where I am told she is very alert and feisty. Apparently she didn't care for the tent and had reached up a few times to get it out of the way.

Finally they bring her back to me—my little girl with the strawberry hair and beautiful little eyes. Someone's put a tiny pink bow on her scalp and has wrapped her in a flannel blanket. She's so tiny. But she's mine and I love her so much.

I wrote before of how I sang "Just Like a Woman" to Julia in the hospital. I don't know why, but that song kept repeating in my head. Everyone else was singing nursery rhymes to their babies and there I was in the dark of night singing Dylan. It just felt right.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Can I Get a Witness?

I had a nice surprise when I visited the fabulous Karen G's blog and saw I had received honorable mention for Best First Paragraph in the Lettuce Write Submission Contest. It's helped to restore some of my confidence so thank you very, very much Karen and Allie! You made my day!

So, I looked over the first few chapters with fresh set of eyes and fixed little things like cluttered sentences or passive voice. I think I'll do a whole edit starting this week and then see where that leads me.

The weather is great, very Autumnal. The leaves haven't changed yet so the colors don't quite match the crisp feel in the air. It might be too late, but I want to plant some radish and lettuce seeds for a small fall garden. I already have some turnips out there—Julia's favorite! She kind of . . . dumped a whole packet of seeds in one spot. But that's okay! I'll deal with those buggers as needed. So what if all the turnips turn out whackadoo? Anyway, tomorrow is Julia's birthday, which I totally can't believe because it feels like she was born only yesterday. Birth story coming up tomorrow.

Peace

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Manitou Springs


There are places on this earth that hold a bit of magic, and I think Colorado happens to be one of those places. Manitou Springs, nestled at the base of Pike's Peak, is a small Colorado town laced with an air of mystery. The red earth, the curving streets with rows of shops and mineral springs all seem too quaint to be real, and Miramont Castle with its hauntings and tales of days long past calls out to you with arched windows. There are stories of witchcraft and indian folklore. The houses all cling precariously to the ridges of earth and streets all go up and up . . . As a visitor, you feel there are many secrets that you must be born here to understand.

When the sun is out you can see old Pike staring down in white-capped glory. When it's cloudy she disappears into the mist like a ghost, waiting, just waiting. There are a couple of ways you can get up to her peak: you can climb her yourself, take the Cog Railway, or drive. Paved roads leading out of Manitou take you all around her massive base. Pine trees gather, and when you look up she seems so far away, but the signs keep telling you to drive, so you do. A quarter of the way the road turns to dirt, and if it's winter, snow. On a few precarious turns you can look out and see, literally, forever. It's really spectacular. And you think, how can I get any higher than this? The answer is to drive. Pike is surrounded by a few sister peaks; they all start to look the same at one point, and it becomes difficult to decipher which one is the real thing. It's also strange how you can look out at one point and see the mountain that you're actually ascending. It's over there, it's over here, now it's above and then in another few minutes she's far off in the distance again.

Crystal Lake is a beautiful sight along the way. There, high above everything else, she lays reflecting the sky like a long sheet of glass.



I can't say that I've made it to the top; the roads were closed half-way due to a recent snow storm. But I was far enough to tell you that it's a real challenge, and something you will never forget.

So, you leave Manitou Springs and you drive out, heading for Kansas (or wherever you may live) and the little town slowly blends into the pines and the red earth. You look back and all you see is Pike's Peak; she juts out for hours. You're in western Kansas and you can still see her, very faintly, off in the distance.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Boys Go To Jupiter 'Cause They're More . . .

Okay, so like, I guess we're really close to Jupiter or something because if you go out and look at the moon, you'll see old Jupe hanging around lit up like the Chrysler Building. I think it must be a good time for creativity, 'cause all of a sudden I'm getting some actual progress with my old manuscripts in places I thought were dead. Yay! But the bad news is all the other stuff in my life (today) is really messed-up. The kids would barely get ready for school, and when we got there, the parking lot was full. I had to circle the place three times and finally settle on a spot all the way down the block. Front doors were locked (three minutes after the bell?) and we went to the office to get a tardy slip.

Then, I couldn't get the key to go into the new deadbolt, but the garage door is running out of batteries and it took me forever to get it to open up. Sooooooooo, I was thinkin' about taking the kids and Henry the dachshund for a walk 'cause it's so nice outside, but I'm rather worried. Perhaps it's just a good day to hang out, watch Graham Kerr, make cookies, and work on those old manuscripts.

Thoughts?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dreaming part II

I used to hang out at record stores, aimlessly looking, waiting. I used to think life would come to me, but now I know life doesn't come, it just happens. The man at the record store I frequented the most was tall with dark hair and a beard. He'd look at me and shake his head, knowing I'd probably get some Beatles record or The Doors. I wanted to reach out to him and talk, because he was older and could give me some wisdom, tell me stories of his life that I could cling to. Maybe he'd share a cigarette.

When I was a child I wandered the playground alone. Kids were all around me but I could not seem to trust anyone, and so I kept to myself, just wandering. I found an old tree with pools of water at its base, leaves drifting over the liquid glass reflection. I'd sit and stare at the pool, and the dark wooded roots, and the ants and spiders moving in and around. I called it my witches brew and every day I added something to the mix and stir it all up until recess was over. Sometimes mother would walk by on her way home for lunch and I'd cling to the wire fence with fingers dangling out to touch. "Take me home mother."

Home was still in fragments of memories: father and his beer cans flying against the wall, his retching in the bathroom, yelling, fighting, fear, pain, prison. Loneliness.

I had records and books. And dreams. Sometimes dreams are all you have to get you through a day. Sometimes you have to be patient and wait while all the memories and pain fade into a dull ache.

The man must have known I was still in a fragile state of metamorphosis. He was kind, allowing me to hang around. He'd greet me with a smile, even suggest records that he thought I might like. I was smart enough to know that eighteen and forty-something are bad numbers, but I still dreamed of him. Dreaming of him helped me get through each day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dreaming

I used to have this dream where I was sitting up on a roof, looking over the land (or neighborhood) with the sun on my skin. I don't know what that signified, but every time I had the dream, I'd wake up feeling as if I were trapped in my real life. I longed to be the person who could just let go and languish everything around them. So, I'd think hard each time about what was currently wrong and what I needed to fix. Sometimes it was just growing out my hair, to escape the visual expectations of society. At eighteen, I rebelled by dying my long hair black and wearing all black for a year. I was goth before goth was even cool. I came to think perhaps it was stupid to do such things so I went the other way and didn't dress up at all, I became a blender and looked like a mousy librarian type. It was my secret rebellion.

As musician, I could concentrate my feelings into a song and that was a nice healing sort of thing to do. I'm one of those people who need to be free, I'm not mean or crass, just a free-sprirt. Yet I've very often boxed myself into what others wanted, their needs, their ideals of what I should be. Very often I have given and given and then looked around and thought, "This isn't me. How did I get here?" The answer was that whatever I become is a result of my own work, and a lesson to be learned.

One dream I had was of climbing up a mountain with two guides. We stopped at a little cafe (on the side of the mountain?) where I asked for a drink, and while waiting I grew anxious that my guides were going to leave without me. A guy at a piano kept singing, "Yesterday" by The Beatles over and over. I woke up and realized how reflective it was of my current life (at that time), of always almost getting there, but failing halfway through. Very depressing.

I haven't had very many dreams lately. Must be from lack of sleep, or perhaps it's because when I write I purge all that I'm feeling inside. My characters, while not me, live out my fears and hopes, my desires. It's fun to take some small thought of my own and transform it into a whole storyline. That's intense!

So, I rebell through my writing now. I purge and I escape. I write my dreams.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Intimacy and Realism

I'm kind of shy to talk about this, but I feel a slight achievement with it, so why not? I have written a sex scene between man and wife, and I wrote it straight out with every detail. I don't know, is that considered erotic fiction? I guess I don't care. I wanted to write a story about a man who felt he had nothing, was annoyed with life, with marriage, with work and fatherhood, etc. With this sort of culmination of distaste I would have him see his wife and realize what a treasure she is: a beautiful creature who could save him from his own destruction. He would see her and be transformed with love. And so, of course, I wanted to write about them making love in such a beautiful intimate way, that it would be almost surreal to those reading it. I've always thought that when two people really love each other, and come together in sex, that it is like being high or like having a spiritual experience. That's what I wanted to express.

Anyway, it was hard to write at times. But I felt it was necessary, both for the story and for me as a writer. But yeah, will I be disowned by society now because I wrote a graphic sex scene? Well . . .I doubt it. It just feels that way!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Themes

I'm starting to see a recurring theme in my work: marriage. Its tradition, its disintegration, people heading toward it, people unhappy with it, sex in marriage, conversations, repression, reaching out, the humor of institution, and the hopelessness of suffocation. I can't seem to keep my mind from wandering to this topic. I wonder what it is that fascinates me so much? Perhaps it's because my mother's horrible marriage . . . I don't know.

It's very cathartic though.

I've always been drawn toward the idea of man and woman laying together having conversations. Or sitting in a coffee shop together . . . having conversations. I love to explore the two sides and think about the play that is constant. I think that's why I loved Thurber so much, because he was always writing about marriage and the parallels between man and wife.

Anyway. I guess I will just keep writing about it until I run out of things to say.

What do you love to write about? Do you have themes that you love to explore?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's Gonna Be a Ball at the Ball

My wonderful and dear friend, Cro Magnon, has invited me to join his entourage at the upcoming Willow Ball, September 30th. I'm going to try really hard to hitch a ride on the internet express to get there. I might have to stay a couple of nights at strangers' blogs before I can reach my destination, but I WILL get there! Anybody have a spare comment box I can sleep in, just for a night or two? Thanks!

My date is still unconfirmed, but I've been communicating with some long lost friends and they all thought it would be okay if we went together as a group. It'll be the Dead Rock Club with me as the human host and spiritual translator. Buddy Holly, Bobby Darin, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, George Harrison, Edie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Freddie Mercury, and the sweet, smooth Ricki Nelson (sigh). Yeah, there's no girls in this club. I sent an invitation to Janis Joplin, but she was a little busy sorting things out with Mama Cass. One of them had borrowed the other's dress and there was a slight tiff over that. I'm sure we'll work it out before the ball.

Well, it should be fun. There's so much to be done so I'm off. Take care!

I love Rick Nelson!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vinyl Kismet

I had an epic discovery at a local book/record store yesterday. I went in to browse and came out with The Eagles- their Greatest Hits 1971-1975. We're talking good. Liam doesn't have preschool on Friday mornings, so he's playing, I'm cleaning and listening to the record and it's amazing!



Side A:
Take It Easy
Witchy Woman
Lyin' Eyes
Already Gone
Desperado

Side B:
One of These Nights
Tequila Sunrise
Take It To The Limit
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Best Of My Love

I love it when I get all wrapped up in music. It sparks so many ideas for stories and just makes me so happy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Work work work . . .

Just busy working on another short story, part of my Woodsocket '79 project. I wanted to write a collection about a town using a voyeuristic viewpoint. Whoever I wrote about had to be picked apart in some way and their greatest insecurity, fear, held up and thrown at them. I also just wanted to have fun. After working day and night on the last book, through swine fu and everything, I just wanted to have some fun. And I am. I love the seventies, so this is great fun for me. Sometimes I feel like I've put my finger down on a map location and this whole story will come to me and then I get to go live it out on paper. Ned's Bed was sooo fun to write.

The unfortunate thing is, I can't share anymore of it with you guys until it's actually in magazine or book form. Why? Well, apparently when you post something on your blog it is considered published. Big bummer. I really liked sharing with you guys, but, you know . . . whatever. I'll get stuff published eventually and all the hard work will be worth it. I'm so thankful for all the nice comments that have helped me move forward!

What's everybody working on these days?

I love New York!

I don't know why, but I really want to go to New York now . . .

Oh yeah, here's this cool jingle I found.



Monday, September 13, 2010

A lot of Boring stuff in my life that I like

Last night I read The Chrysanthemums by Steinbeck, The Unicorn in the Garden by Thurber, and A Respectable Woman by Kate Chopin. Thurber doesn't really fit in with those other pieces, but Julia likes it when I read his stuff to her so he made the cut.

I didn't think I would enjoy The Chrysanthemums but I did. When I read the last few lines, all the other parts of the story flashed through my head, and I felt that epiphany again. I felt her sadness. "Strong woman" her husband calls her, and yet she's crying over her flowers in the road.

And then in A Respectable Woman, I again, felt her moment of release and understood her confusion, or I guess, her awakening.

One thing that stood out though, was the usage of semicolons. Can I just say how much I dislike these little buggers? I try to use them when I see fit, and sometimes I actually enjoy doing so. But it seems to me no one really knows what to do with them. They're like the salad fork of the writing world: Does it go here? No . . . it definitely goes here. When do I use it? Oh forget it, I'll just use a dash. Anyway, I noticed that these classic authors used them not so sparingly in places I would have thought to use a comma. Have a look at the first few paragraphs of A Respectable Woman and tell me what you think.

How do you feel about using semicolons? I have to admit, as much as I complain I do enjoy the challenge. It's good to have something to be neurotic about to replace all the other things I usually obsess over.

Anyway, I love the movie Minnie and Moskowitz. It was on Retroplex (my favorite channel) and it, very loosly, inspired a recent short story. I just liked the opposites of these two characters. Something about them makes me feel all emotional (snif snif). Plus I love his Fu Manchu. You don't have to watch it; I just put it there as a reference.


Peace : )

Friday, September 10, 2010

Symbols

I am finding it more and more difficult to balance my home life, blogging, writing, and all the other stuff like getting kids to school and picking them up, etc. I just want to apologize for not visiting everyone's blogs the way I used to. Thanks so much for visiting mine, I appreciate it!

Remember last week when the praying mantis was in my car, on my seat? Well, it's funny because that whole experience made itself useful yesterday when I was finishing up a story. I needed to use a vivid metaphor in one spot, and the only thing that came to mind was that praying mantis. Little Julia and I had later watched some videos showing how this creature snatched out at its prey. It was a perfect visual for the way my character snatched out at an object. Swack! Perfect metaphor! I would have never thought of it or anything close for this particular sentence, if I hadn't had an actual praying mantis in my car. Life is so cool and mysterious like that. We don't even know how deep the mystery goes. I totally believe in synchronicity. Nothing, to me, is a coincidence.

When I used to work at the library I would go in to work thinking, "I really need to learn this or that, or read about this artist or musician or author." And not one, but ten, sometimes twenty books on that very subject would come in through the return slot. Every time. I believe there are symbols and signs everywhere but we're usually blind to their presence. It's really amazing when you do start to look for them, how many you find.

It can be something mundane as being late for work one morning. You're mad about it, until you see the wreck at the intersection you would have been at ten minutes earlier, had you been running on schedule. It can be a title in a newspaper in the gutter in the street. It can be a call from a friend. It can even be a butterfly landing on your shoulder when you go outside to get the mail. Pay attention to everything. It all means something.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dream high and enjoy the view

I found out Glimmer Train isn't currently taking entries, so I'll look elsewhere. And I was wrong about something else as well, the hardest literary review to get in would be The New Yorker. I'll go look at their guidelines, but that's big-time dreamin' folks. It's amazing how many there really are, and how much competition exists in the market. Again, people keep saying go high and work you way down. Send one story out, forget it, write the next, send it out, and keep it up until you get accepted. Kinda a good challenge to take on. Thanks for all the well wishes yesterday, that was really nice!

I wanted to show off some of Julia's artwork. She has always been a prolific artist, with a very keen eye for detail and a perfect memory. I can't even keep up with the paper she goes through. Just last week I had to toss a ton of scraps into the recycle bin, and she's already created a whole new pile! The child is messy. I need a robot nanny.


Here she is, that little Van Gogh . . .

She did this a year ago, but I had to revive it for prosperity. It's her ode to Sleeping Beauty.


She did this one yesterday after I'd bought some watercolor kits (hence my fabulous trip to the store).

An apple tree, Julia style.

A magic castle complete with rainbow fountain.
So there you have it. My little darlin' and her amazing art. I gotta go wake her and her brother up for school now. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who's on First?

Okay, I'm ready to send out a my first story but still haven't decided on which literary review I want as my first submission. There are so many out there and people say to go hardest first, which would be Glimmer Train, so I think that's the one I'm going to send it to. Okay, there you go, I just decided! I'm just going to do another spell check and then send it out. Wish me luck!

It'll probably be about three months till I hear anything, so that's a tough one, but standard I think. Just gotta get used to it. I keep hearing that the best thing to do is send out the story, forget it exists, and get to work on the next one. Wash and repeat.

That is kind of surreal though. You work really hard on something, then just pretend it never happened? Oh well. Three months of it being out there is three months I could have done nothing with it.

On the other side of things, I made my usual visit to the grocery store after dropping the kids off at school, and a guy standing in line ahead of me said, "You're a tall one, aren't ya?" Yes, I'm tall. Wasted on me though, I hate basketball. "Ah, but you could do other things. You could be a model." Yeah, right. "You got all the model stuff going on there. Do it before you have kids or something." I have two. " Ah, hell." Then he got quiet. Haha. So there you have it, I'll just quit this whole writing stuff and become a model. Hahahahaha.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Looking Up

Don't you hate it when you get sick and you feel as if you've been taken out of time and space and dropped back down in the wrong spot? That's how I feel today. Add to that the fact that Julia is up bright and early (BRIGHT AND EARLY), and is running around telling knock, knock jokes.

Anyway, I was thinking about my book and how much of a struggle it has been to try to get it published, how it may never get published. When I started querying a year ago, the book was not ready. Like many new authors I thought it was, and I unfortunately burned through many agents with a bad query letter and a poor manuscript. After many rejections I asked for critique from beta readers. I took their suggestions and tried to strengthen the opening of the book and query letter. More querying. More rejections. I revised the book again—best thing I've ever done—but it still led me to more rejections. I tweaked again, more beta help, more tweaking. More rejection. Finally, I set it aside and except for a few small entries, have pretty much decided to let it go.

So what have I learned from all this? Well, mainly that none of it was in vain. I may have met tons of failure with this book, but it was good for me and taught me so much about the writing process as a whole. It taught me how to take others' advice but still listen to my original vision, because no matter what happens, you should love your book. And I do. I really love my book.

I figure I've come out on top really. Because of all the good things I've learned, and wonderful people I've met, it's not a failure at all and is, instead, a great success. Yes, I'm still sad about the death of the manuscript, but oh well. It's future may go in the route of a small publisher or I might self-publish. That way a few people like me will stumble across it and have a good time and find a little joy. I think that's a fairly positive thing to do and there's no shame in that.
Thanks for being here, take care, and have a great Labor Day!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quick Hello!

I've had a horrible migraine all day, but just wanted to drop in real quick and say I hope everyone's weekend is going okay. I think the kids like it when I'm sick because they can lie in bed with me and watch movies. They get to drink my tea and nibble on my late-afternoon sandwich. They're so cute, and I love having them next to me, plus Henry! Can't forget him! He's all snuggly in bed with his ears flopped across the covers.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, which is just a nice little holiday with no school and no banks. More movie time I think, and a trip to the park. I wanted to make a chocolate cake, but I won't do it if my head still hurts this bad.

Can't leave without a video to annoy you guys. Actually, it's a great video with my facvorite singer/songerwriter ever. Miss Lucinda Williams. The greatest.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Annie Dillard

The other day I found a book that looked interesting and I started reading without any thought of commitment. I just wanted to see what it was about. What I discovered was the most beautiful prose that I have perhaps ever come across. Very descriptive passages all about nature, but so much more than that. Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek isn't a new book, but it is timeless. She recreates our world, sometimes seen as a mere landscape to our daily activities, into a place that is vivid and real; life abound in rivers and muskrats; forests and mountains. Sometimes it is too much, too beautiful, too descriptive and I can barely stand how perfect she is a writer; I'm so jealous of her talent! Though it's certainly something to work toward. I'll just keep reading, and keep learning.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Creating a Web Presence Doesn't Cost a Dime

Many writers start to think about creating a web presence long before publication. But websites, videos, all of that can be pretty expensive stuff. So I wanted to write a quick blog about some of the things a writer can do that won't break their account, or take too much time from their busy schedule.

1. I saw that our sweet and charming Talli Roland uses Wix for her author website, and I thought it looked very professional. The best thing? It's free. Pick out a template that works for you, and just enter the text and pictures.

2. Blogger, Wordpress, etc. We're all here utilizing our talents, networking, and honing our skills. We're talking contests (sassy Kimberly Franklin just had one for the upcoming The Mockingbirds and has a whole list of fantastic contests on her sidebar), author interviews (like the beautiful Jen's amazing summer series that just came to an end), clips of work, funny snippets. You name it, it's all here.

3. YouTube. You can make a book trailer for a relatively low price, depending on the images and song copyrights, and post it on YouTube. Wise and wonderful Tess Hilmo has written a few blogs about this, so if you're interested, hop on over and take a look. If you hire an outside developer for the project, it might cost you a bit, but will remove any stress of having to do it yourself. YouTube can also be utilized for author interviews, recorded book readings, etc.

4. Using sites like AbsoluteWrite or Writing.com will not only help you learn the craft, but expose you to a whole world of publication, authors, editors, agents, lit mags, contests, and more, so much more.

5. Facebook. Create your own author page, or book page, and ask friends to become fans. Then ask them to tell their friends to join. I know a guy who writes a fake journal about a town called Timber Haven. It's great stuff and it's free. He's getting his chops in and he's offering something special to the public.

6. Tweet, re-tweet. I admit, I'm ain't a good Twitterer yet, but I do love seeing everyone's updates. I've read so many great interviews and blogs from the suggestion of others. Follow an agent and see just how hectic and amazing the literary world really is. Post a link to your new blog, art project, poem, book signing, YouTube video, book trailer, author interview (you get the point). Again it's F-R-E-E.

7. Just for prosperity, I wanted to mention Jessica's (The Alliterative Allomorph) contest. She's such a cool gal and this is a great opportunity for writers. Take a look.

And that's it. You don't have to be rich to get your name out there. You just have to be willing to put in a little time and effort. Just watch your presence grow!

Do you believe?

Fifty-Five years ago on November 22, 1963, president John Fitzgerald Kennedy rode alongside his wife Jackie in a motorcade through the crowd...