Tuesday, March 29, 2011


To your very good health, my friend.

Welcome to the two new followers I've received in the past week, and welcome back to everyone as well. Thanks for sticking with me and reading.

I've decided to take on another quest along with the A to Z Blogging challenge in April - I'm going to give up smoking. I quit for a long time (over three years), but started back towards the end of 2010. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

I realized, thanks to an email from a good friend, that I need to be kinder to myself, my body, and my mind. I know it'll be hard to give up smoking (AGAIN), but it'll be worth it. It's time to be good to myself again.

And it's time for you to be good to yourself too. Treat yourself to something special today, or just do something to make yourself feel good. We all deserve to celebrate ourselves every once in a while... just look at all the shit you've been through. It's amazing you're still here, still trying. You are a champion. You deserve a toast.


Monday, March 28, 2011


I think I'm finally starting to find mine again.

This has been a good month. Blogging over the last few weeks has been rewarding. I'm looking forward to Arlee Bird's A to Z Blog Challenge, which starts next Friday. Are you going to be participating?

I've focused on brevity in the last month, keeping my entries short. It's been a fun exercise, and I'm happy you've come along with me.

I feel like this was a good first month back. But there's lots of room for improvement. And the improvements are just beginning... with the blog, the book the life. I'll keep updating if you keep reading.

And of course, as always, THANKS for reading.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Sometimes when I go back over my prose it seems clunky when I read it again. I'm working on it being more natural, but it's difficult to get outside my own brain and read it from the viewpoint of someone else. I don't know if it's really clunky, or if I'm being hyper-critical.

I wish I knew how to effortlessly immerse you in my character's world and viewpoint using a healthy mix of conversation, description and exposition, but it sometimes seems like they all just get in the way of each other. I want to give my reader insight on what kind of person the character is, but somewhere in there I get bogged down. I wish I had a word tool like a leaf blower... write down everything I think of, fire that sucker up, and blow away every last nonessential thing. You know?

In the meantime, I'm continuing to struggle with strengthening my prose, and in turn making it seem more natural. I guess practice is just about the only thing that's going to make it better.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Now that I've started writing regularly again, I've had four or five writing ideas in the last week. It seems to be feast or famine for me when it comes to good ideas for stories. I'm trying to write at least some notes for each of them, but I'm so bad at note-taking.

Each of the ideas is so different, there's no way I could make them part of the same project. So far I have the novel I've begun (which is two separate stories entwined), a series of short stories based on an album, a scary short story about a crazy mortician, and enthusiastic rewrites for the two stories I wrote towards the end of last year (I really want to get back to submitting to short markets, ASAP).

I've also started working on a new business venture along with my current contracting job and I'm meeting with the art collective every week, so overnight I've become a very busy girl. I want to push forward on the novel, but I want to work on all these other things too. It's a little overwhelming, but I'm up for it.

I think.

Friday, March 18, 2011


The winter was long. And long.

But now the sun's coming out again. The trees are blooming. Spring has returned.

And there's a part of me that's waking up too. Slowly. But it's there.

I have to be patient. And strong.

Everything's still there, just waiting to be used again.

The possibilities are....

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The New Writers' Meeting was tonight.

I wrote the last novel with the highly useful feedback and encouragement from a weekly writers' group. We met almost every week for the better part of three years, and helped each other work hard to get published. I miss it so much. We stopped meeting several months ago, and now the people who were involved either aren't available or aren't interested any longer.

But I can't allow that to keep me from trying to find new minds I can connect with, new writers who can give me feedback and offer work for me to critique as well. So I've gotten together with a friend and someone she knows who's into writing, and we're seeing if we can make this work.

I know I should put a lot about the Old Writers' Meetings out of my mind - new set of participants, new set of rules, right? But I still have much trepidation about getting into this. I don't know/trust these writers like I did my old partners, and I just don't know if we'll mesh well yet. I guess all there is to do is find out.

But in the meantime, I'm tied up in knots about it. I miss my old group, and I'm trying not to boss the new peeps around with my ideas about how things should be done. I don't want to step on toes, but I also don't want to waste my time (or theirs).

I'll keep you updated on this developing situation. Back to you, Burt.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I spoke with Sarah, the cellist for Murder By Death, last night. She really enjoyed my story based on "Brother". She pointed out a couple of metaphors from my prose that she liked, and then told me that she thought the whole story was very clever, because I'd taken all the scenes from the song and incorporated it into the story so smoothly. All in all, it was a rather glowing review, and we talked about my work and writing in general for a little while.

I mentioned possibly doing a collaborative project with the band, and she wants to talk more about it. I'm so excited and pleased. I've been thinking about writing a series of stories inspired by the songs on their album Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them? and I've already begun the first piece. If nothing else, this is a great writing fantasy to have.

Putting that magazine in her hand and getting positive feedback on my work is one of the most significant moments I've had in my writing career so far. A lot of hard work was justified. 

On another note - and I know I've been keeping these entries short so I won't go on forever - First New Writers' meeting is tomorrow. I submitted the first twelve pages of the novel for review. Wonder what the new group will have to say?

Monday, March 14, 2011


Found in the words of one of the best, and I wanted to share them with you.

O Me! O Life!

ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; 
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; 
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) 
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d; 
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;  
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; 
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? 

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

                                                                                 --Walt Whitman


Friday, March 11, 2011


No post yesterday, as I was out of town. Went to Atlanta to see a Murder By Death show.

Remember my story "Out of the Blue"? It was inspired by their song "Brother". I went last spring to see them at the Masquerade (also in Atlanta), and I told the band about my story and that it had been picked up for publication by moonShine Review. They gave me their enthusiastic blessing and permission to use their song lyrics to introduce my story in the magazine.

Putting the published story in their hands was one of the most satisfying moments I've had as a writer. I signed the issue for them, as they've signed so many things for me. They were thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that they put me on the guest list for the show in Asheville on Monday.

I'm so excited about this. If nothing else I'm taking away the immense satisfaction of putting a finished product in the hands of the people who inspired the story into being. But if they like my style, who knows? I'd love to do a collaborative project with them.

*happy dance*

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


In the last few months I've been doing damage control and I've lost sight of where I want to go and why. I've been focusing on keeping my head down and truckin' as long as I can, hoping I can outlast the shitstorm.

Now that it's finally passing and the sun's coming back out, it's time to re-evaluate.

I want to write. I know being published isn't all that writing is, but I really want to have a novel published with my name on the cover. A REAL BOOK - flourish of trumpets, please and thank you. Being paid would be nice. Actually, being paid would be more than nice. It would be fantastic.

So write, you say. Okay, got that down. Working on the new book. Got the characters; got the setting(s). Got a fun little gimmick that I'm gonna try to run (two timeline narratives carrying on at the same time, for starters). Gotta keep going. As for being published, it's time to get in touch with that agent about my last book and see what he really thinks. If he wants it, awesome. If not, maybe he can offer me some tips on getting it cleaned up.

Keep on blogging, self. Keep writing, and keep up your communique with the contacts you've made in the writing world. Start using Facebook again. But take it easy to an extent, don't get overwhelmed, okay?

Time to set my eyes back on that final goal and start moving towards it again. Who's with me?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I've been here before.

The shiny newness of the project hasn't worn off yet, and I'm still excited about being inside my characters' world. The words are halting at first (priming the pump has never been so taxing), but they do kick in eventually. I'd forgotten the simple pleasure of composing just for the hell of it. I'm reading over the pages I have, and every time that nagging little voice whispers in the back of my mind...

                               will this be good enough?
                                                                                     should I put it that way?
           can I get this published?
                                                                     what would an agent think?
                              would people buy this?

...I just reply with a big old "SHADDUP."

I'm trying to create just for the sake of creating. It's been a while since I took that ride; I want to see if it's as nice as I remember.

Of course, I haven't invested months in it yet, haven't agonized over plot points, haven't really gotten picky about word count yet. That comes later. After the shiny's worn off.

Yeah. This feels familiar.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Just a little more. Just a little more.

Don't look up at the slope. Look down at your feet. If you stare at your feet long enough as you walk, at the space in the path between your feet, you can almost convince your brain you're traveling horizontally. The only thing to betray the illusion is the mounting fire in your muscles and joints, the jagged spurs of pain along your spine.

Just a little farther. Breathe. Swing your arms. Look around; the sun's coming up. Pink bars of sunlight paint the dew-washed hillside. Don't look up; remember, we're almost there. Just keep going.

All this - bill-paying-car-fixing-job-working-house-cleaning-life-living - is the norm. It's every day. It's pumping your legs, listening to your knees creak (more with your other joints than with your ears), breathing in and out, working upwards, fighting against gravity with every step.

That moment you have when you see outside yourself and your personal path, into another world which you create and govern, a universe limited only by your imagination? That's extra.

I'm thankful for extra.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I did it.

I started the new book.

7 pages, 1,900 words. And I like it already.

I guess what it comes down to is that I don't care what's gone down, who's walked out, what's been lost, or where the time's gone. Sooner or later when the past becomes a jumbled mess the best thing to do is toss a match on the fucker and watch the whole thing burn. Then you can stand back and observe what's birthed from the still-glowing embers, what stirs through smoking ashes to rise again.

By the way, the name of the novel?

Appalachian Phoenix.

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Since I've only written one novel, I still feel like I'm making this process up as I go along. I'm quite the pantser when it comes to composing. I've had this character in my head for a few months, and she's been growing and changing... but it's only been recently that I've put a few things together and figured out the story she's going to feature in. Today I finally hit on what the story's first scene should be, and that naturally led my imagination into some delightful places I'm excited to visit in the weeks to come. 

Tomorrow. Starting the new book tomorrow. Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.

And of course, just like you, I have so many things on my plate to contend with. The new Clark Kent job, school, family, friends. The last book... it still needs a lot of work. It's under review with an agent, but we're fast approaching the query limit time. I'm blogging again, and fitting in an afternoon walk when I can. You know. Life.

It's ok though. Challenge makes us stronger. Right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It's been a while, friends, but I'm happy to see the keyboard still works in just the same way and the blog-o-sphere continues to turn happily on its axis just as it was when I last left it. 

My apologies for the prolonged silence. I had to take some time away from everything online to deal with personal issues. It was a hard road, but I'm over the worst and on to the next series of challenges life has to throw at me. I've learned a lot over the last four months, about myself and life in general, and I'm sure that'll shine through in the entries to come. 

I want to get back into blogging and the wonderful sense of community I experienced last year. I'm ready to focus on my writing platform again. But most of all I'm ready to share my goals and progress with the thousands of other crazy people out there who are doing the same thing I am. 

So, first things first: I want to write the new novel between now and August. (Typing that makes me feel simultaneously excited and ill.) Nevertheless, I think that's doable, don't you? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Howdy, y'all. Hope the last four months did you well.