Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Irish Pathos & A Party

Busy day, no time for 'Lita'. But, I did get a few crits done and a sub sent off to FlashXer. That felt good. I always feel lost when I don't spend a block of time writing and today was one of those days. I do love Christmas, but I do love my writing, too. I sound like a humbug, but I'll be glad when the holidays have run their course and I find myself with more time. Time to write. I did read a few short stories in '44 Short Stories' an anthology of Irish Short Fiction. Overall, they have a pathos in their plots that makes them sad reads, despite the wry wit of some of the characters that people the stories.

Had our TelecomPioneer meetings and Christmas Party today. Left home at 9 am and didn't get back home until after 3 pm. Then, it was an afternoon of packing and loading the car. I think I've got it all done so I can leave early tomorrow morning. Hope it isn't snowing in the Tehachapi Pass! Had dinner tonight with the Hollie's at Denny's and afterward we drove around for about an hour to see the Christmas lights.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Change! It can suck!

After I blogged yesterday, I went to my writer's meeting. As always, I enjoyed seeing everyone and getting my crits. I was surprised to see Sherry there. She's been away from the group for a very long time. The business part of the meeting was loooonnnngggg. A speaker has been arranged for Jan. 19th from 1 to 3 p.m. at MCC. The college offers a Writers Forum each month, so January's Forum will feature this speaker. The problem is, that our regular writer's meeting is scheduled for the same date, same time. There was much discussion as to how to handle the problem and I think it was finally decided that the writer's meeting to submit and critique would be shelved for the day so everyone could attend the speaker's program. This bothers me because I think it goes against the purpose statement in our bylaws. I believe it states that our meetings are for support, critique and motivation. I don't read educational forums/seminars/conferences or publication deadlines facilitation in the purpose statement intent. I suggested that a bylaws committee be formed and if that is the direction the group is going, then the purpose statement should be upgraded. Unfortunately, for me, that is not what I'm looking for. I will leave the group. I know how and where to get further education on writing techniques that I find I'm in need of. It seems to me that that within our writer's group the educational needs will be quite varied depending on how long a person has been seriously writing. Also, as for the exercises being focused toward publication deadlines, it seems to me that they are primarily memoir driven and I, of course, only write fiction. So, perhaps I have become a detriment to the group by pushing the current purpose statement and being unwilling to move in the direction of the group. I will always care about the folks, but I need to look at my needs and expectations and right now, they are in jeopardy or not being met at all. I have a quote in my Writers Group notebook. It is from the movie, Gigli. It seems so appropriate to my situation. Larry Gigli offers the following words of wisdom, "You see, after all is said and done, the only thing you can really be sure of, the only thing you can really count on in this world, is that you just never fucking know." I have found that to be true on so many levels and phases of my life and it seems appropriate to my current situation.

After the meeting about ten of us met at Denny's to get caught up on what's been going on with Sherry, discuss movies and just have some good conversation. Then it was off to a great party at the Hollies.

Today, I went to the swap meet and got the popcorn for Kim. It tastes sooooo goood. Then tonight I went across the river to the casino and won $650!!! Yahoo! Merry Christmas to me!

With that, I'll sign off for tonight. Busy day tomorrow with exercise, delivering gifts and a board meeting at the clubhouse.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Doing What I Like - ALL DAY!

Yesterday was a day of no commitments! A day to write/read/crit. Yahoo! Moved Lita along, although not too happy about what I wrote and I'll probably do a lot a critting on it before I add to it today. Then I managed 2 submissions and 12 crits to my on-line writing groups. Then I reread the 11 submissions from my local writer's group. And, I used a prompt from one of my on-line groups to meet my 250 word assignment to submit to my local group. That was a fun exercise meeting two prompts with one submission. What a fine bunch of writers I have the privilege to be associated with. There was everything from poetry to allegory. Reading their pieces keeps me alert and is such a learning experience. I'm starting to get crits on my on-line subs and it's everything from liking it, to making suggestions, to not 'getting' it. Funny how what appeals to one person, eludes another, but all takes on my subs give me pause and certainly help me to be a better writer. It's nice to hear an 'Excellent'. It gives me the courage to go on and believe that perhaps I can write, but the crits with the suggestions/questions are probably what ultimately leads to an 'Excellent' review.

Another growth, for me, is reading. I have to read one of Jean Auel books for my book club in January. I read her entire 'Clan of the Cave Bear' series a number of years ago. My favorite was 'Valley of the Horses', so I'll probably give that another read. I really enjoyed her first two books, but the last three seemed forced.

I'm reading 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand, again. It's been a few years and lately, with all the political nonsense being thrown in our faces, I feel the need to read some common sense verbiage.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good & Bad Writing Day

Good and bad writing day. Bad, because JOan isn't feeling well. So our Denny's crit meeting had to be cancelled. I always look forward to meeting with her and Lois - get good feedback and then we share some warm camaraderie. Good, because today was my crit meeting day with Dave. He feels more invested in 'Lita' now and had some good things to say and also some good suggestions for upgrades. We discussed his lengthy expo of a character that will have a short run in his novel. We both feel that if the background of the short-term character punctuates certain traits of a main character then the digression is warranted. Ah, great minds do think alike! Not necessarily right, according to editors/publishers/critters, but alike never the less. Also, got a very nice crit on my hunting story, 'A Communion in the Rain' with a good suggestion as to where to submit it. Heard from Jack in Tucson and he is writing again! I was so glad to hear it. He is getting help from a man in prison, so it sounds like a crime story. He does those so well.

As for the rest of the day, Nancy & Dave gave me a lovely gift basket of wine, chocolates and Christmas cups. It was beautifully wrapped. I was so surprised. Then because Nancy had to go to bunco, Dave and I went out to dinner to Angelina's. The eggplant Parmesan was outstanding and the conversation stimulating.

Got a call from grandson Alex tonight. It is so nice for those boys to remember me and to call. I'm truly blessed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Lita - Minor Characters

Moved 'Lita' along again today, so that's good. Got some feedback from Sandra about where to send 'Regardless'. I think I'll try it. Finished my crit of Dave's story 'Drift'. He's doing good scene setting and moving the story along with excellent, believable dialog. He is doing something that I tend to do. He is spending a lot of time doing a character expo on a character that interfaces with his main character. And, I mean of lot of time time and space. Now, the criticism I get for doing this is that I waste the reader's time investing them in a character that will die/be written out of the story and is really only a way to do some character expo of your main character(s).

Then the rest of the day was spent getting some packages mailed. Went to dinner at Bob's with a couple of friends, then off to Bingo. All in all, a good day, but more writing would have made it better.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Crossing Genres and White Christmas

Edited and wrote more on 'Lita' today. Felt so good. I critiqued a sub the other day on my Desk Drawer on-line group that crossed genres. It was a sci-fi, romance with a touch of poetry. I mentioned the problem I've had with 'Regardless', my story of two men (one gay/one straight) from different planets who fall in love in the 23rd century. Sci-fi publishers say they don't want romance and the romance publishers say they don't want sci-fi. Grrrr. The writer said he wondered about the genre crossing, but he writes for himself and will stick with it. I guess I feel the same way.

Then it was off to my Republican Women's meeting. Very motivational speaker from the State Federation shared her thoughts with the group. Then home to finish my Christmas cards. They are done! Even those that needed letters. Because I didn't send cards last year, this really feels good.

Delivered my 'After the War, Before the Peace' to my Canadian neighbor. He'll take it back home and share it with his friends. That might be beneficial to me.

Took the time to watch 'White Christmas' with Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye/Rosemary Clooney/Vera Miles. Delightful! I found myself singing along at the end. I wish Hollywood would bring back musicals!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

On Schedule and Good Feedback

Very satisfying writing day. Got caught up with 'Lita', so she's back on schedule. Lita is still in trouble, but I've picked up the time I should have devoted to the novel over the past several days. Again, feels great to be in the heads of the Farrells again. Then, I did some crits for FlashXer. Some new folks that I haven't read before. Read some very creative things which was fun. Sent out my all dialog piece of 'She Never Allowed It.' Have already gotten some good feedback. One critter in particular gave some good feed back on using superfluous words. I do that a lot and need to watch it. Good catches on her part. I need to submit something and maybe will work on that yet this evening. Ran into a winter visitor today. She was with her son and introduced me as 'the writer'. Gosh that sounds good.

Went to the swap meet today to get that special popcorn for Kim, but the seller decided it was too windy. Will try again next week.

Got a call from Nick tonight. He won his all-star soccer game today! He made two goals and got an All-Star T-shirt.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Festive Day

No writing today. Poor 'Lita' is at a standstill. Sent off a sub to DeskDrawer. It was a semi-true story of Dave's macular degeneration suffering mother and how her stepson put her into a home to protect her. Got some great reviews. Several used the words effective and succinct. Good words for a writer to hear. Then I submitted a story about hunting to Flashers-Dozen. Good reviews there, too.

Talked with Pat today and the Blog program is back on for Jan. 8th. I drive home from Calif. on the 2nd, have a meeting in Phoenix on the 5th, so it will be tight, but the benefits to learning about blogging have been good, so I'm looking forward to the meeting.

Fun day for my writing/reading groups. First, we had our annual book club Christmas meeting. A dozen folks attended to share stories and why they chose those stories. Many had ethnic roots, many were from childhood memories and others were from books that looked interesting on the shelf. Had one member share her Hanuka memories. There were lots of memories of poor childhood Christmas', some sad, some funny. Then we had performances from Duck, the laughing moose, the singing frog, the singing dog and, of course, the Avon momma bear telling her baby bear about the 'Night Before Christmas'. Oh, we set our author for the May meeting and the group chose Shirley Wolford! She'll be so excited when I tell her.

Then it was off to the Lake Havasu City Writer's Club annual Christmas party with food, funny gifts and lots of fun. Lois and Fred were hosts. They certainly have a lovely home. I ended up with three gifts - story telling toilet paper, a floral photo frame and a tree ornament in the shape of the leg from the movie 'A Christmas Story'. Lots of wanting to talk political, but it didn't seem the time/place, so I steered clear. I like the folks too much to have political differences cause dissension, especially at such a festive event.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Characters - Blogs - Submissions

Another slow writing day. Just had time to do more on 'Lita', so that is moving along. I hope the characters are going to engage the reader as much as they engage me. I'll look forward to Dave's opinion when we next meet for our one-on-one novel crits. Got an email from JOan, she's writing on her blog again and had lots of interesting things to say about submissions. She is so persistent with them and makes me want to get back into the swing of the sub/accept/reject mode of writing.

Got the car back! Seems to run good. Charles, the mechanic, was an interesting character. I should work him into a short story and maybe I will.

Had lunch with an old Telephone Pioneer friend, Nancy, who has moved to Tehachapi, CA. She was in town, so eight of us, mostly the Hug-A-Bear group met for lunch. It was fun and the food at the Sugarbrook Bakery was good, too

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Another slow writing day. I did get more written on 'Lita', so that was good. Got an email today from Anne, a good friend, and a darn good writer. She had some questions about her rights to reuse a story if its been published. It can be a problem, but since her work was published in a college booklet, they probably only asked for 1st rights. That's one of the dangers of the new writer. There are so many ways we can sell ourselves short by giving up rights and we don't make enough money to run everything thru a lawyer. She also asked about self-publishing. I told her about Xlibris. They've been good to me. They've done what they said they were going to do in every aspect of my dealing with them. I've heard some horror stories about small publishing houses. With Xlibris being under the umbrella of Random House, I feel sort of good about them. Hope the info helped Anne with her questions. I hope she publishes. She has a wartime story that is quite moving and of course well written and I think it will be well received.

Took my car in for a check-up today, because of a rattle under the hood. $400 later, it turns out it was part of the A/C compressor. Had to leave it over night, so I'm car less. Feels strange. The Hollies provided taxi service for me to get home from the repair shop. It was so nice of them.

Then, late this afternoon, I got a call from a friend about going to bingo at the VFW hall tonight. Joined her and two other gals. Was fun, but didn't win anything.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blogging - To be or not to be.

Slow writing day. Managed to add to 'Lita', but that was about it. Spent the day working on my blog. I was to be part of a class on blogging this coming Monday and have been doing research and upgrading my blog. Added some new features like a question of the week and story of the week. Should be fun to see if anyone comes to the site and reads anything. Then tonight, I found out the blogging class has been cancelled. Oh, well, it was still a good experience and I think I made my blog a lot more user friendly.

Then tonight, Patti and I went to the Republican Women's club. No politics tonight, just a seasonal program of bell ringers.

I watched 'And Justice for All' with Al Pacino last night and even tho I've seen it before, I still clapped at the ending. What a good movie.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Slow, Sweet Sunday

Added another couple of pages to 'Lita' which felt good. Received a crit for my 'Christmas Lights' story and I can't believe that I had the Cookie Monster, not Oscar the Grouch, living in a garbage can. Thanks to Sandra, that will be corrected. Always a good day when some of it is spent writing or critiquing, but it would be even better if I were submitting things.

Had lunch at Makai with some Pioneer friends then it was off to the casino to make a donation. Patti went with me. Had dinner with Patti at Denny's, then home to work on this blog to get reading for my blog presentation at MCC on 12/8.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Very Good Day

Today was my writer's meeting day. Always a good day for me to meet with such a varied array of folks. Received feedback on my 'Christmas Lights' story. Good comments and good upgrades. Then it was off to Denny's for our 'after meeting' meeting. Good discussion about what we are looking for in the group and how we handle genres not to our taste. Then lots of talk of movies and books. I'm in awe of the educational and intellectual level of these women. All have advanced degrees and most have been teachers. I'm lucky to have fallen into such a motivational group of people. Then home and time to do some critiquing of my on-line writing groups. Good reads, all. Then I submitted my 'Christmas Lights' for their review. So, a day of mostly writing. Yahoo!!

I did get to the First Saturday Fireman's breakfast with the Hollies and Sandy which is always fun. Then, the Pioneer Conference call that lasted almost two loooonnnnnggggg hours. Did make it to a friends garage sale and bought a watch. Like I need another watch. But she's a friend and the price was right!

Oh, and it rained last night. Streets are a mess. Have I mentioned that I HATE rain! Must sign off now and go pray for sunshine tomorrow!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Up, down, up, up - A day in my writing life

An up and down writing day. First, I had the time to work on 'Lita'. Did some editing, then added a page or two to the story. Feels good to be with the Farrells again. Then, the mail came and I received a rejection on 'Deborah's Story' from that agent, Andree Abecassis, that I met at the SSA conference in Sept. No reason why, just that it 'didn't quite work for me', then she wished me luck in connecting with another agent/publisher. Oh well, at least it was out there. Like my quote from Isaac Asimov says 'You must keep sending work out: you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.' Good advice. I need to listen to it and do it. Then, it was off to Dave's place for our one-on-one review of 'Draft' and 'Lita'. It's interesting because his novel is not something I would normally read and he would never pick mine off a shelf. So, we're learning a lot, at least I hope I'm helping him. Then it was off to Hastings Books for our monthly reading. Sue was the moderator. A dozen of us showed up, so there was a good variety. Unfortunately, not all of it was original work. Jilma's read stimulated a lot of conversation about the lack of support of our local newspaper and what we need to do about it. Best suggestion was a sub-committee of the writer's group to prepare a package of a sample column and submissions to present to the editor so they have an idea of the quality that could be delivered on a weekly/monthly basis.

Had a great call from Hailey last night. When she went through a 'Dare' program a few weeks ago, she had to write and essay about the program and about drugs. They had a PTA meeting at her school last night and she found out that her essay was selected as the best in her grade. She had to read it aloud to the PTA audience of about 400 people. She said she was nervous, but she did it. When she called me she said, 'Grandma, looks like we have two writers in the family.' I'm so proud of her!!

I'm reading more of Elmore Leonard's dime westerns and enjoying the hell out of them! His ability to 'show' character is excellent. Now, that's writing! I'm so jealous!

Another free day tomorrow, except for dinner with the Hollies, so I'm hoping to get some writing done! I need another 'accepted' to counterbalance today's 'rejection.'

Monday, November 26, 2007

Onward to Christmas

Not much writing over the last few days, in fact none at all. Almost hurts. Tomorrow I'll get something written for sure. I did get my movie 'Valdez is Coming'. I ordered it after reading the book by Elmore Leonard. The movie was surprisingly good and followed the book pretty closely. The book was better, but the movie is a keeper. They could have used a better actor. Burt Lancaster was a stretch as a Mexican. Tomorrow, I take my author friend Shirley Wolford out to lunch. She is blind, but still writing. She's amazing.

Daughter Kim, her husband and grandkids Hailey and Nick were here in Havasu from last Tuesday night until noon Sunday. WHAT FUN!!! We had a great time. Running around Havasu, swimming at the wave pool, seeing the movie 'Enchanted', eating turkey, going to the floating barge for lunch, touring the Desert Bar with the kids climbing all the rocky outcroppings, garage saling, going through old trunks, a trip to Scotty's and going to the Sunday swap meet. We were busy! We didn't even get up to Laughlin to see the Greene gang, but they were busy too, I guess, 'cause they didn't get down to see us. Sister Donna, BIL Larry, niece Melissa and her boyfriend Bobby came for TG dinner. Everything turned out nice and we closed out the day with some friendly bingo games. Hailey and Nick took most of the prizes!

Now, it's on to Christmas. Is it just me or are the years racing by???

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back to Lita & People

Finally got back to 'Lita' and moved the story along. Felt good. Grace, a local writer, sent me an email today to question what 'left flushed' meant. She's submitting a manuscript and hadn't heard of that format. I sent her a sample of what it looks like. Grace is a good writer so she probably has a good chance of getting her work accepted.

Weather is perfect again. Ruby's son made it to town today, so she headed back to Tucson. We had a nice visit. Went to Bob's for breakfast with Ruby and her son. I was still in my sweats from exercise and wouldn't you know it, I ran into four folks I know. Grrrr.

Talked with Kim today and they will start for Havasu tomorrow afternoon. I can hardly wait. She said the kids are all excited to be coming her for TG dinner and to be going to the Grand Canyon on Sat. Cleaning folks came today, so all is ready, except for the food. I'll get that tomorrow.

Had our MVPOA board meeting tonight. Nothing new. Only have to do it four more times. Yes! Tomorrow is the Pioneer meeting. Only one more of them. Yes!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rejection-Guest-Surprise - All in One Day

Had a slow day at the writer's meeting on Saturday. Guess folks are getting into the holiday swing of things where time is scarce. My submission of 'The Farmer's Architecture' got good reviews. Nothing special, but good overall. I submitted 'Brownie' to Something called Dob Blessings last Feb. Got a rejection today. Said she enjoyed the read, but it wasn't what she was looking for. Another rejection. :-( Haven't been able to work on 'Lita' for a couple of days due to out of town company. I submitted 'Christmas Lights' to the writer's group for the next meeting. It's already been accepted at Apollo-Lyre, still I wanted to see what the local folks thought of it.

Another couple of perfect weather days. Ruby arrived on Fri. morning. Her son was supposed to pick her up on Saturday, but due to car trouble, she's still here. Oh, well, we're having a great time, so there's no rush. We went to the movies on Fri., saw 'Dan in real life', went to the Havasu Landing Casino on Saturday night and today we went to the swap meet, then over to visit her friend Sharon.

I forgot all about the trim-a-tree at the clubhouse today. I'm so embarrassed! I stopped by and the tree was all decorated, so I wonder who all showed up and if a good time was had by all. With Ruby here, it just slipped my mind.

Tyson called from Hawaii tonight to thank me for his birthday present. He just turned 17! He sounds like such a great kid. I was so surprised and so pleased.

Another week begins. It will be a busy one, so I hope I can find the time to make some notes here. Goodnight for now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A No Meeting Day!

Today was a no meeting/commitment day, so I got to stay home all day. As a result, I wrote another couple hundred words of 'Lita'. Feels good to be back writing a novel again. Got feed back on my story 'Going Places, Doing Things on Desk Drawer, all good and glowing. Almost no feedback on 'What Are Friends For' on Flashxer and 'The Big Deal' on Flashers-Dozen. Neither story was a big hit. Got an email from a man who attended one of our LHCWG meetings last spring. He was an excop who wrote 'Among the Tin Cans and Broken Glass. He had published through KLAADD Publishing Co. He wanted the writer's group to know they did not live up to their contract and he has received no royalties for book sales. He hopes no of our local writers submitted anything to them and I don't think they have, but I'll tell them at our meeting on Saturday.

Weather is perfect today. Ruby is due to arrive tomorrow for a couple of days visit. Should be fun. I miss her and Tony. Got to sign off now and get some last minute chores done. But, two days in a row! I may get into the swing of keeping a journal after all. Two day, and I'm an optimist!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm Baaaaaccccckkkkk

As Robert Burns once said, 'the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry'. So, my plan to be religious with my blog have gone awry. Life is taking control of me, instead of me holding the reins. Now, I've been asked to talk at a workshop about the ins/outs and dos/don'ts of a blog. So, I'd better get back into jotting down my thoughts/happenings.

Let's see, as for my writing. I just had another short story 'Christmas Lights' accepted by Apollo Lyre for their holiday edition. My short story 'The Clay Way' appeared in the hard copy anthology, Skive. I went to a conference in Tucson in Sept. and met an agent by the name of Andree Abecassis. She looked at a brief synopsis of each of my six novels/novelettes. At first she wanted to see more or 'Abby', but then decided she wanted to see three chapters of 'Deborah's Story'. I sent them to her at the end of Sept. and haven't heard a word from her as yet. Also, no word that James Wood of 'Shark' has read the copy of ATW,BTP that the Kelly's sent to him. I sent off a short story 'What Are Friends For' to the Writer's Digest short story contest. Would be nice to win, or at least place, in that widely viewed publication. I've started the story between ATW,BTP and 'Deborah's Story'. I'm calling it 'Lita' for now. Dave Bellomy and I doing a one on one crit of our books. He's reading/critting 'Lita' and I'm doing the same for his 'Drift'. His is hardcore crime and mine is romance which makes for a challenge for both of us. But, fun!

The next few weeks are going to be very busy. A friend, Ruby, is due to visit for a few days starting Friday, then Kim and family will be here next Tuesday for Thanksgiving. Signing off now. My plan is to be more regular. Well, that's the plan, at least.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Writer's Groups & Stuff

Not too much going on in my writing world this week. I got my story, bio and such off to The Chick Lit Review for my 'You Get What You Pay For' story that are going to run in their Sept/Oct issue.

Subbed 'Passin'' to the Flasher's Dozen writer's group. Only received one crit. That reader didn't get it. He also had some suggestions on when to start a new paragraph. I do it differently than he does, so I asked the members for their POV on the matter. So far, no answers.

I had sent half of my 'Young Coffee' to FlashXer last week and got some interesting feedback. Then Irv put out a prompt that called for a sequel, so I subbed the second have of 'Young Coffee'. Not too much feedback, but those that did read it, gave good comments and even said the big age difference worked. Yeah!

Today, Desk Drawer's prompt called for a story about someone who is not what they seem to be. I sent my 'The Deal' about a some bad cops. Got one feedback and for the most part, he liked it and said it was almost too believable. Nice comment, if you ask me.

Got some subs from Lucy and Anne that they wanted crits on. Lucy's was sweet and dealt with a funny issue between siblings. She liked my upgrades. Anne's was well written, as always. She wanted a crit, because she was submitting her piece to Woman's World. She reminded me that I should send one out. I edited 'Happy Faces' about a childless couple who want a baby in the worst way. They get some help from the husband's twin. Haven't heard back from Anne as yet.

I've been doing a lot of reading of subs on all my writer's groups. Feels good to be active with the groups again.

My granddaughter is writing a short story. She says she going to be a writer when she grows up. Who knows! I bought her a little clip board so she can stay organized as she jots down her story.

I talked to Dave again yesterday. He's ready to go back to Havasu, but Nancy wants to wait for cool weather. He's all jazzed to keep up with his writing. He says he misses our weekly meetings and I told him that I do, too. Also talked to Jerry. He and Betty are fine. I gave him the days I'll be back in Havasu. They don't leave until the first of Aug., so I'm sure we'll be able to get together. Got a letter and a newspaper clipping from Jack. His local paper ran one of his stories. Good for him!

When I arrived up here, Kim had bought Stephen King's book on writing for me. So far it's a drag. He seems like he thinks he's awfully clever. I've heard folks raving about it, so I hope it gets better. I got my copy of 'A Million Little Pieces' by James Frey back and can hardly wait to read it again.

My daughter's dog, Tiger, has been sick and not eating/drinking for days. They took him to the vet yesterday and had him put to sleep. The vet never could tell them what was wrong with the poor critter. He was only around 5 years old.

Another week in Calif. Another week of having fun with the grand kids. The weather
has cooled off and even the humidity is under control.

Can't think of anything else, so will sign off now until next time. Adieu!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Alaska and an Acceptance

I want to share my Alaska experience, but first let's talk writing. My short story 'You Get What You Pay For' was accepted by The Chic Lit Review (www.chicklitreview.org) for publication in their Sep/Oct issue. Yahoo! And they are actually paying me to run it.

Been doing a lot of critting on all my writer's group. Feels good to be back in the swing of things. My FlashXer group is having a discussion on the pros/cons in entering contests that request entry fees. Some folks absolutely won't, but most look at the opportunities on a case by case basis. That's how I look at contests. I entered that fake poetry one years ago and was suckered into buying their book. But, having said that it was a sucker deal, I do love that book and having my poem included in the hard bound book with its gold edged pages. Folks who look at it don't know it was a sucker deal and besides, I do love my poem that graces its pages. Also, it cost me $25 to enter the Ariz. Author's contest and my short story 'A Part of Him' took first place and earned me $100. For us starter outers, it's a case of seeing our stuff in print. Besides, many of the authors who say they won't pay money to enter a contest, give their stories away to ezines and such just to see them in print. I'm not judging anyone. I've done both. I just love to write! Oh, talked to my writing buddy Dave who is spending the summer with his wife in Oregon. He's working on his latest 'Popcorn Skies', a novel that follows a teenager from boy to man. He misses our Thurs. crit sessions and so do I.

Okay, now on to Alaska. Arrived in Anchorage on Thurs. 6/21 and picked up our RV. My daughter Kim, her husband Gary, granddaughter Hailey (9) and grandson Nick (7) and I headed out to explore the Kenai Peninsula. We spent the first night in Kenai with gale force winds rocking the RV back and forth. Had a beautiful view on the Augustine Volcano across Cook Inlet.

Friday, headed out to Homer Spit and saw a moose and her baby along the road on our way to Homer Spit. There was a terrible fire just outside the city of Ninilchik that clouded the sky and made the air reek of smoke. Found a great campground right on Katchemak Cove right on water's edge. Dave's daughter Linda, grandson Alex, son Mike, Mike's wife Adrienne and grandson Travis showed up late in the evening.

Visited the Homer Spit museum Saturday a.m., then we met at the shoreline in front of our RV and held a quiet ceremony for Dave. The four grandkids and I walked the brich bark urn out into the water and set Dave's ashes free among the halibut and salmon he so loved. For the rest of our time in Homer, bald eagles circled the area as if to guard Dave's ashes. It was lovely.

Sunday, we headed for Seward. Beautiful scenery along the way, but no wild life.

Monday, we took a dog sled ride and fell in love with the canine mushers. Nick got selected to help the driver and got to ride on the back of the sled. It was on wheels, due to no snow, but it was still a wild ride. Next it was off to Exit Glacier. It was a long uphill hike, but well worth it. We were only a few yards from it, but we couldn't quite touch it. Next it was off to the Seward Sea Life Museum. Saw lots of critter up close thru great windowed pools of water. Then, on our way to our campground we got to watch the local fish hatchery release 100,000 tiny salmon out into the bay. The birds had a feast, but I have a feeling that most of the little guys made it out to sea. It was an amazing sight. The kids met some kids in the campground. One little boy was from Fairbanks, Alaska. At one point, my grandson came in and wanted something to help make a squirel trap. They had some fish guts for bait. When we asked what they were going to do with the squirel if they caught one and were told that they were going to skin it and cook it for breakfast. I told my daughter, that the Fairbanks boy might not be kidding. Thank goodness, no squirels were caught.

Tuesday, we took a cruise out into Resurrection Bay. Saw a whale, lots of birds and had a tasty salmon bake lunch. Then it was a rush back to the campgroung so Gary and Hailey could take a 4 hour kayak tour out into the Bay. They had porpoises come to within feet of them as they paddled along. Then it was a 3 hour drive back to Anchorage where we arrived at 2 a.m. and spent the night in a McDonald's parking lot.

Wednesday, we returned the RV and flew home to San Francisco. All in all, despite the sobering realease of Dave's ashes, it was a wonderful trip.

But now I'm back to the computer, at least when I'm not worn out after a day with the grandkids. They are lively and so much fun to be with.

Back to the writing. I MUST get some submissions out there. I do love hearing from the editors, especially the ones that say 'YES!' :-)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Back from Alaska

Arrived home from Alaska late last night. I have things to say about that later in this post. Right now, I need to talk about my writing.

I REALLY missed being involved with my writing. I haven't written, subbed or crit a single piece of writing. About the only thing I heard anything about is my marketing program with Xlibris for 'After the War, Before the Peace'. So far, nothing! Oh well, maybe something will happen yet. I can hope!

I forgot to mention that 'Hannah' is completed. It has changed from a serial to an ebook and hopefully, soon, I'll be able to get POD copies. I think it turned out well and June Diel, the editor, felt it ended well with just of hint of future adventures for Hannah and Liam. You can read it at www.virtualtales.com under both the romance and the western sections. Here's the last scene.

****** Hannah (excerpt)
Two weeks later, under a flowery arbor in Aunt Emilia’s yard, she said those words to Liam, again. He had just said them to her. They kissed as the preacher pronounced them “Man and Wife.”

The yard was full of well-wishers. The couple was amazed at all the folks who’d managed to come on such short notice, even Ruby from Nacogdoches had come. She and Sadie from Blanco were renewing an old friendship.

The Jacksons brought little Jessica who had just started walking and was looking more and more like Caroline every day.

Zach and Martha cornered the preacher and were setting up a wedding date of their own, while Janey began planning the whole affair.

The Cooper’s had come and once they’d arrived Daniel took one look at Cassie and hadn’t quit monopolizing her time. When Hannah kissed Tim’s cheek and said thank you, she smiled at his adoring blush.

Eventually, Liam had managed to get Daniel, Frank and Hannah to sneak off to the barn for a quiet little toast in memory of their meeting after the storm.

“I can’t even imagine where I’d be if you three hadn’t come along.” Hannah bussed Daniel and Frank’s cheeks.

“Well,” said Frank, “I gotta tell you, that grass you were munching on when we found you did look pretty tasty.”

Hannah rubbed her stomach in memory of the retching. “Goodness, it was awful!” She turned to Daniel. “And what would I have done without your extra pair of boots!”

Daniel smiled smugly. “I knew they’d come in handy.”

She touched the arm of each new brother-in-law and raised her glass of wine. “Thank you.”

They nodded, then everyone drank their wine.

Daniel set his down. “Well, I need to …”

Liam put a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Yes, we know Cassie is waiting.”

As Daniel left, Frank said he needed to get back to talk with Sheriff Butler about some late night robberies that were plaguing some of the town merchants.

“Burglaries?” Hannah’s eyes lit up.

Liam sighed.

“Did I say burglaries? No, no. Not in San Antonio.” Frank backed out the door while uttering, “Not to worry, Hannah.”

“Burglaries?” Hannah looked up at Liam. “Do you know anything about them?”

“Nope. Not a thing.” He pulled her into his arms.

“Are you sure? What merchants? Are they losing lots of goods and money? Does the sheriff think it’s local …

Liam’s lips interrupted her litany of questions.

“But if the townsfolk need …”

“I need.” Liam kissed her again as he led her toward the ladder to the hayloft.

“You need what?” Hannah smiled.

“I’m hungry.” He grinned as he urged her up the ladder..

“Again?” she teased.

He pulled her down beside him in the straw. “Once, you told me I had the biggest appetite you’d ever seen.”


“And I told you that you’d no idea how big.”

“I remember.” She came into his arms. “Now, show me.”

The End

Now, back to my life in general. Before the Alaska trip, my two sisters, Donna and Janice, and I enjoyed a week-end reunion at Donna's place in Phoenix. Their daughters, Kristi, Melissa and Samantha, came along, too. My Kim and Hailey couldn't make it because of the pending Alaska trip. But, we sisters had a wonderful time. We did a lot a telling family tales and took a day trip to Prescott and Sedona. We played an ABC game where we took turns with a letter of the alphabet and gave one word descriptions of Mom and Dad. Lots of interesting stuff came up. And, I found out that my sisters didn't even know they had a big sister until they were around seven. I'm 18 years older than Donna and 22 years older than Janice. I was married and living in Albuquerque, NM when they were born.

This post is getting real loooonnnnngggg, so I'll sign off now and post the info about my Alaska trip tomorrow. It was wonderful. Trust me, you'll want to hear all about it!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Summer's Coming - People Leaving

Another two weeks gone by. I must be getting old, I find myself saying 'Where does the time go?' more and more these days.

Let's see, sent some submissions out, but won't hear for awhile I'm sure. But, no rejections recently. Stopped by Hastings Books and Music and found another copy of my 'After the War, Before the Peace' sold.

Yahoo. Had two more meetings with Dave on my 'Abby' and his 'Popcorn Sky' critiques. His coming of age saga in the 60s is an eye-opener as to the thoughts and reactions of a young man coming to grips with adulthood. His honest and realistic dialog and expo of his protag's relationship with women ring with sincerity. It was a pleasure to read. He finished 'Abby' and came to like my Abby by the end of the story. He had been having some trouble with her total focus on her goals to the point of being indifferent to others, but he now feels that there was a reason for that and that I tied it together nicely. It is definitely not his kind of book, so I know it was a struggle for him. As was his for me, but I think we both learned a lot about the craft of writing by stretching our literary bounds. He and his wife are going to Oregon for two months and I'll be in the Bay area until Labor Day, so no more crit sessions. I'll miss it and I'll miss dinner with him and Nancy.

Had my monthly crit meeting with JOan and Lois last night. JOan's biker story is a duzzy. She is developing into quite a romance writer. Lois's had the start of a mystery with a great lead character. She hasn't described him yet, but the reader already had a good feeling about him. They gave me some good feedback on my 'Mama played for the King' excerpt. I submitted my 'Young Coffee' for their crit. It's about a fantasy relationship between an elderly widow and a coffee kiosk clerk. Tee Hee. Of course I won't get their feedback until Sept.

Had our book club on the 1st and we discussed Dean Koontz. It was lively, that's for sure. The first part was chick lit, which he did well and I enjoyed the rapport he was establishing, then he added crime story lit and it was still okay. But when he added Voodoo, demons from hell and peripheral child abuse, he lost me. We do Stephen King in October. That should be interesting.

On the 2nd, my writer's group met. Minimal crit from them on one of my rare poems that I submitted. One member apologized for the sparsity of comments saying my writing is too good to crit. Now, while I like hearing that it's definitely not true and even if it was good, I'd like feedback on why it was good. Oh well (sigh). Vern had turned in an XXXX rated piece. It was a little over the top in places, but overall it was his well crafted ability to work a story. His use of the senses made the story pop.

As to my social life this week, saw the latest 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. Not good. Better than the second one, but even Capt. Jack Sparrow ( the handsome and daring Johnny Depp) and Capt. Barbosa couldn't save it. Don't waste your time. Finally, my A/C is installed and working properly! The tech that came to change it out, said he took all the blame to the point he nearly quit. All I know is that I would never call Aztec A/C to do work for me again. Went to help a friend celebrate her birthday last week by having dessert for dinner! Strawberry cobbler sundaes. Yum, yum!

Had breakfast with an old friend and we got to talking about future romance for me. I told her I was happy as could be! Not looking for anyone. Finally, after a lot of joking, I told her I would consider a man with a truck, at least a 250 engine, who could pull my fifth wheel, who liked to travel and who could pay half the expenses for our traveling. She assured me she'd keep me in mind. I assured her that I would need a picture of his truck before I'd make any decisions. Got to run now. I'm off to Phoenix for a weekend with my sisters and my nieces. Be sure you get away from your keyboards occasionally over the weekend and have some fun. Maybe, you'll even get some ideas for some stories. Have fun!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Great Review for 'After the War, Before the Peace'

Quite a week. Two rejections for short stories and one GREAT book review. Won't dwell on the rejections, have already resubmitted them to other places. Joyce Handzo read my 'After the War, Before the Peace' and gave it a rating of 9, the highest rating for her website of The Library Reviews. Don't know when it will appear on their site, but her review was wonderful! She loved my brothers and their story. Other than that it's been a slow week for any writing news. Oh, I did join a web site called Book Place. A lot of the Virtual Tales folks have joined it, so I thought it couldn't hurt. It's another venue to make folks aware of my 'Hannah', which by the way is on its last few episodes before I turn it into an ebook. Eventually, it will become a POD. Nice to have two books in print! One of my rejections was for my novelette 'Finding Amy'. I had sent it to a romance on-line publisher of ebooks. They felt it wasn't romance per se because of a rape scene between a husband and wife and a speculative ending. Oh, well, one man's junk is another's prize. They didn't say it was junk, just not for them and felt I should submit it to a more mainstream site. I did. Still waiting to hear from a POD publisher on 'Deborah's Story', the sequel to 'After the War, ...' As it's said, no news is good news. No meeting with Dave this week on my novel 'Abby' because I had to pick up friends in Vegas and his daughter is visiting. Dave & I meet again next Thursday. I'm really into my Dean Koontz book, Darkfall', that I'm reading for my monthly book club. I don't like the creepy, crawly voodoo things, but the overall story is a chick lit, crime story. I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would. As to personal stuff, my new air conditioner was sent to the wrong city and I still don't have it. Good thing the evaporative coolers are working so good. The local A/C installer is blaming it on AHS and AHS is blaming it on the local A/C installers. I tend to believe AHS. Thursday moringing I heard water running and found my hot water heater exploding! I turned off the water and called AHS. Friday morning a local plumber showed up and installed a new one! Again, only cost $55! Yahoo, that AHS insurance is great! Oh, and on my way to pick up my friends in Vegas, I stopped at a small casino in Searchlight, NV and won $80! So, all in all, a good week. So, I'm off to bed for sweet dreams about the great review of 'After the War, Before the Peace.'

Monday, May 21, 2007

Writer groups and wisdom from Isaac Asimov

Let's see, what's happened since last posting. Had a fun luncheon with Lois and JOan at Chuey's. We were celebrating JOan's birthday. As always, it was a great time. She is always so positive and encouraging. Met with Dave and gave him my final thoughts on his 'rite of passage' story. Good story with interesting takes on life and surroundings as interpreted by a teenage boy. I felt he got a little heaving with some Vietnam War info. I think he can use some of it, but it has to be in 1st person to match the rest of the story. He gave me feedback on 'Abby'. He is upset with Abby and feels she's a user of people. Boo Hoo :-( I mean for her to be a doer, with a positive attitude. I'll have to look at his remarks and maybe tone Abby down some. Then, Thursday night was our monthly meeting at Hasting. Only five showed up, but heard some good stories. Dave read some deep poetry that stirred everyone. Vivian was all excited as she shared her recent cruise and trip to New York. Saturday was our local writer's group meeting. Small group, but good crits. We had time, so we really talked the stories through. I submitted my story 'Weathering a Storm' to FlashXer. The feedback was mostly negative as to the plot believability. Seems a man can't know his wife is having an affair and have him react with reconciliation vs anger. Did get a couple of positives. Guess we're the romantics in the group. I sent my 'Happy Faces' story out to Flashers-Dozen and DeskDrawer. Also, got negative crits regarding the plot. Guess a man's baby MUST be his own, no matter how happy a child makes his wife. What great groups to get such good feedback. I should quit one of them, but I do like the people and would miss several of them, so I do, at least, the minimum requirements each month. Hope to get to submitting again tomorrow. I have a quote by Isaac Asimov tacked by my computer. 'You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.' Thank you, Mr. Asimov, for the proverbial kick in the butt!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A little of this, a little of that ...

It's been another wild week and I've been lax with my blog, again. I'm hopeless. Let's see what's happened in the past week or so. Had my local writer's meeting. We crit our prompt of 'writer's block'. It was fun. Almost everyone took a different approach, so it made for an interesting session. Then on Thurs. I had my meeting with Dave with our one-on-one crit of our novels. His story of a young man's rite of passage took a turn for growth and I liked his main characters better in these chapters. Lot's of growth. Then he educated me about guns. I had one of my characters use a Derringer and fire five shots. Problem is a Derringer only has two shots! Good catch on his part. Then Thurs. night Lois, JOan and I had our monthly meeting. Good feedback, good motivation and lots of good camaraderie. Then on Saturday, we had our local book club. We reviewed the books of Carl Hiaasen. He's a light read, with crazy characters working their way through a thin plot. I read 'Skinny Dip'. I'd read another of his books and so would most of the members. Then a friend and I went up to Laughlin for a night and went to see country singer, Vince Gill. He put on a two hour show. He covered a lot of music styles - country, blues, bluegrass and jazz. Did a lot of talking with the audience that gave you a feeling of 'knowing' him. It was fun. Monday, I took my blind, 93-year-old fellow writer, Shirley Wolford, over to the local bookstore to place two of her latest novels. She is amazing! She has one more book about to go to her editor. She may do a book signing this fall. Like I said, she is amazing. Also, got another chapter of 'Hannah' done. It may be my second to last before I'm able to put an end on the story. Then, it will be offered as an ebook. I really had a lot of action and introduced an old type of switchblade into the story. Thank goodness for the Internet for some research on what was available in the 1880s in Texas. I'm anxious to get June's feedback. She is such a great editor. I've got quite a few submissions out there that I'm waiting to hear back on. Got two rejections! Oh well, their loss! :-) Right? :-) Oh, and on top of everything else, I got around to applying for my passport for our trip to Alaska. I hope I get it in time. We will only be on the ground for 2 hours in BC, but because of that, we'll need to go through immigration when we get to Anchorage. Also, had the A/C company that installed my new A/C out to check about it's poor output. Seems they put in too small of a unit. They apologized and are going to replace it this week. Good thing it's been hot, but dry, so my evaporative coolers are keeping the place cool.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Why We Write?

On one of my on-line writer groups, a member posted an excerpt from an essay "Why I Write" by George Orwell. I found it interesting so I've copied it here.

'Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:
(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.'

To be honest, I see a lot of myself in this excerpt. As I think about my writer friends, I see a lot of it in them, too. The two things that jumped out at me was the 'determined to live their own lives' and 'less interested in money' observations. As to the 'on the whole more vain and self-centered.' No way! :-) Anyway, I thought it was an insightful piece. I'm trying to get back in the submission groove. Sent out three this week. Whahoo! My one-on-one book review with Dave is going well. He's creating a 'rite of passage'saga. He's walking a fine line with the boy's sexual awakening. He's staying vivid, without being lurid. Nice work. His crits of my 'Abby' are insightful and will help me tighten the work. Tomorrow is my meeting with my local writers group. We'll crit the 'Writer's Block' assignment and submit a 'writer's choice' piece. I had a brain fade and didn't hold my writer's block sub to 250 words. Darn. I like that exercise. It has really helped me cut to the chase in my work. Got to run. The laundry is calling me. Out to dinner Wednesday night, out last night and out again tonight! Yahoo!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Warning Labels

Just an update on my piece about terrorists. One of the newer folks on my on-line writer's group took offense to my submission. She suggested that we label anything political with a warning of 'political' and add RW or LW, right or left wing agenda. Of course it brought out opinions. No one wants labels. After a day or so of reading posts and her reluctance to agree with the majority, I posted the following email; 'I like who/what/why discussions about writing styles/topics, both yours and mine, as well as the next person. But, you are dragging this on way too long. As far as labels, consider 'Poppen' a label. I write political, sexy romance, gay, murder and sci-fi stories on occasion. But, I have never been a politician, sex??? unfortunately it's been awhile for this widow, I'm not gay, never even considered murdering anyone (not even an ex-husband) and never seen a Martian. I just find it fun and quite interesting to get into the thought process of unfamiliar things. Try it! I believe it's call growth and is an important ingredient to maturity and tolerance. I've been a member of XXXXXXX for a number of years now and feel like 'I know' several members of the group. They have taught me so much! So, I hate to see this nit picky discussion on labels intrude on what I consider a valuable learning session among excellent writers and 'friends'. So, STOP, already!!! I'm tired of opening up my mailbox and finding a whinny, I must have the last word email from you. Relax, enjoy the supportive camaraderie that has always been a trademark of the XXXXXX crowd. Just remember to watch for the label 'Poppen' and I think if you skip those, you'll be just fine. As for your crits, I think you need to learn to read your crits in the positive, suggestive tone they are offered, relax and enjoy this fine group of writers. I won't bother you with crits from me, but I must tell you that I will miss reading your submission as they are usually well thought out, well paced pieces with delightful messages. Best of luck with your writing.' You guess it, she emailed me with the last word to defend her position and to say she'd avoid my subs. I let her have her last word and I hope the issue is closed. I'll never understand why folks ask to be a member of something and then want to change it. One nice thing for me is that I received some very supportive emails. Like I tried to tell this writer, this group is populated by a talented, supportive bunch of writers. Oh, on a different subject. I helped my blind friend Shirley with a phone call to her editor regarding her ebook. Later, a florist delivery truck pulled up in front of my house and Shirley had sent me a dozen, long stem, salmon colored roses! They are beautiful! I called her and told her I had two things to say to her. One, thank you, so much and two, don't do it again! Friends are supposed to help friends! Isn't she a sweetie. New subject. I've run into a dreamy young man at the local coffee kiosk. I've been telling my friends that if it weren't for the vast age difference, I might check it out. Now, they are teasing me about it and telling me to 'go for it'. I was thinking about it and thought it might make a good story. So, I sat down and it almost wrote itself. It's a little X rated. I sent it out to one of my on-line writing groups for crits, but its 1800+ words, so probably won't get any bites. Just wanted some feedback before I submitted it to a couple romance website for publication. So, it's been a busy week. Tomorrow, I'm off to Laughlin for a family BBQ with my brother and his family. It's the annual Motorcycle Rally week and there are jillions of motorcycles everywhere. I must really love family to make the trek (about 120 miles roundtrip) on this weekend and I do. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Sales!!

I went to help my 92 year-old writer friend Shirley Wolford this am. She has macular degeneration, but still she writes. She had an ebook/POD published, 'Voice of the Turtledove', a few weeks ago and today, I helped her send in the final galley's for yet another book. I told her that when I was at Hastings Book & Music Store the other day, I didn't see any copies of my novel 'After the War, Before the Peace'. They try to keep 5 copies of it on hand in their local author's section. She suggested we call Hastings to see if they'll take 5 of her books on consignment and of course Peter, the book manager, said yes. Then, I asked him to check to see if he needed any of my books. He checked and found all 5 had been sold and they didn't have any on hand! So, I took him 5 and picked up some moola! Yeah! I swear, this book is going to sell big, some day!!! Anyway, it was fun and to be truthful, very rewarding. Today, I finally finished my Telephone Pioneer newsletter. I'm late with it this month, but they'll get it in time for all the functions/fundraisers. Also, I'm getting feedback on the story I wrote from the Al Qaida POV where they are sitting in limestone caves and planning the mayhem/destruction they will visit on the U.S. if a soft president is elected. Not getting too much feedback, but what I'm getting is words like 'Wow', Excellent Writing' and 'Probably some truth in it.' Got to get some sleep. Tomorrow is Hug-A-Bear day among a billion other things. Besides, I'm sure I'll have pleasant dreams now that I know I sold another 5 books.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Marketing, Authors and Dad

Been super busy with the Xlibris marketing program. Had to provide lots of info so they can put together enticing requests for reviews/interviews and an interesting blurb about the book to be mailed to various web sites and email recipients. It all looks good and the two women I've been working with have been attentive and have expressed an urgency to get things moving. I've got my fingers crossed. Had my local writer's meeting today. My last submission was supposed to be an X-rated piece, but most felt it was an erotic romance story, but didn't rate an X. I'm hopeless, I guess. I finally finished my Krantz book and it closed with the ending I suspected, so no twists to surprise the reader. Still, I liked her characters and that's what held my interest. Then I read the Zane Grey book about hunting mountain lions at the Grand Canyon. There were paragraphs that were quite vivid (the reader group decided that he had to be very descriptive because there wasn't TV in those days and he had to make the west quite real to his readers). I didn't care for his writing like I did Louis LaMoure and probably won't read Grey again. Now, I'm reading 'Skinny Dip' by Carl Hiaasen. I don't like any of his characters, but I love the way he puts words together and his character expo ability. I got another episode of 'Hannah' done. It should only take about two more episodes to get to a closing point. Then, I'll offer it as an ebook. Also, got around to writing a short sci-fi story. Was fun to be creative again. Got a crit from one of my on line writer's group and the gal said she enjoyed my blog. Wow! Someone read it!!!!! Wait, should I want folks to read these scribbles??? :-) After our meeting today, we gathered at Denny's for snacks and chat. Two of the members are winter folks and will be leaving for their summer homes within a week or so. Gosh I'll miss them. Thank goodness for email. I'm off to bed now. Need to get up early to go visit my dad's gravesite. He was a great guy and I miss him. I take him a can of beer and a quarter. He loved to play the keno slot machines in the local casino, so I leave him a quarter grubstake every year on his birthday. I pop the top of the beer and take a few swigs as I 'talk' to him, then leave the can with the rest of the beer next to the quarter. He was a great guy! He became my stepfather when I was nine. He is a perfect example of the saying that 'sperm creates a life, but it doesn't necessarily create a father.' He was a father. A damn good father and tho he's been gone ten years, I still miss knowing that he's in the wings ready to help me through the occasional mess I can make of my life. So, until next time .....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Good Month!

Again, weeks have passed since last I blogged. I am the world's worst journaler. Where does the time go? Let's see where do I start? Well, I guess I could write about my prolific month. Four acceptances!! (Long Story Short Ezine - 'Exquisite Moments' won an honorable mention, Long Story Short Ezine - 'Left With an Empty Easter Basket' accepted for their essay category, Skive, printed anthology from Australia - 'Taken Begets Taken' won out to be included from submissions from worldwide authors, Flash Tales Ezine - 'Recruiting' was requested by the editor, Mike Kechula) Yahoo! Now, I guess because of these successes, I've decided to take a big chance. Xlibris Publishers called me with a marketing proposition. They will contact a jillion potential buyers, request reviews/interviews from hundreds of media outlets, post an ad for my book on a multitude of websites and finally contact major newspapers with 'best seller' lists and, using the Xlibris-Random House clout, request book reviews. Sounds good, right? I can only hope so. I had lunch yesterday with Shirley Wolford, the authoress of 20 or more published books. The woman is legally blind and 93 years old. Yet, she just published an ebook and has another book in the works. She is amazing! I'm working on the anthology committee for my local writer's group and as a result I'm reading some really good stories/poems/memoirs. Each member submitted 3 pieces and I have to rate them 1,2 or 3. The committee meets tomorrow and we'll compare how we rated the pieces and decide what goes to print. What a talented group of folks! I'm still reading my Judith Krantz book. She must get paid by the word. The plot is okay, but I think I've figured out the ending. However, her characters are interesting and it's what keeps me reading. Now, I have to read my Zane Gray book. I goofed and picked up one of his true stories about when he hunted mountain lions. So far, quite dull. Well back to the anthology stories. Ciao!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Not One, But Two!!

Had a great Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, I got word that my short story 'Taken Begets Taken' was selected to appear in an Australian Anthology print copy of 'Skive, The Short Story Quarterly'. It doesn't pay anything, but feels good to think that of the 60 some subs they received, they chose mine and it will be ready over in Australia. Then on Wednesday, I heard from Long Story Short. My short story, 'Exquisite Moments' got an honorable mention from their 'Out of the Mouth of Babes' judges and will appear in their March e-zine. They pay with a book on writing that they will be sending to me. Yahoo! Feels good to get two in two days. Been busy lately, but I managed to send off some crits and a sub to my Flasher's Dozen group. Got only one feedback so far. It's a dark tale and the critter said the story engaged her, but the treatment of the victim was hard to take. I fictionalized an account I heard while have beignets at the Cafe Du Monde across from Jackson Square in New Orleans a few years ago. Scary folks, I must say and their tales stayed with me. I'm reading a John MacDonald book now. It is one of his Travis McGee series. I keep seeing Frank Sinatra playing McGee, but I looked it up and he never played that character, but that's who I think of when I read MacDonald's character descriptions. It's a good read, but I see that he also wrote 'Cape Fear' and some sci-fi. Wish I'd found one of those. Went to Mom's grave yesterday. It was her birthday and I brought her some flowers. Interesting that the story I wrote about her 'Left With an Empty Easter Basket' was printed on LSS e-zine this month. Met my brother Jim and his wife Ellen there. We went to dinner, than to the Riverside Casino for keno and bingo. Yeah, I won $500!! Then Ellen and I watched 'Babel'. Interesting. Wouldn't want to see it again, but I must admit that it did make me squirm in places and the acting was very good. Well, still must finish my MacDonald book, twenty pages to go. So, with my head still swelling with pride over the TWO successes, I'm outa here for now.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ah, Sweet Sunday

Sunday, I do like Sundays for some reason. The quiet of the streets, the Sunday crossword puzzles and I seldom have any meetings or commitments. My cough is lingering, but I feel better day by day. Went to Laughlin on Friday to visit with my bro and sister-in-law. He's as grumpy as ever. I'm a little worried about him. Ellen and I went out to dinner, then to see 'The Oakridge Boys'. A great show as always. Out to dinner last night with the Hollies and the Mossbargers. Fun time and a good shredded barbecue pork sandwich. Then home to listen to my new 'Poverty Neck Hillbillies' CD. Love their 'I may not be Mr. Right, but I'm Mr. Right now'. Sooooo true. Then I managed to write a new short story. Written to my FlashXer prompt of Blue Plate Special. It is loosely based on the story of a cousin of mine. Have had only one crit, but she loved it. Felt good to be writing. Glad the fog of the cold has cleared. Also met the Desk Drawer prompt motivated by a picture with my short story 'Gretchen's Insight'. Getting good feedback on it. Also met the Valentine prompt for Flasher's Dozen with my 'Stupid Cupid' story. No crits on that one yet. Yahoo, feels good to be in the groove again. Talked to JOan yesterday. She is doing well, but her computer is on the fritz. She called to check on the book club meeting for John MacDonald. She seemed to like him and that seems to be the general comments I've been hearing. I must get the book! I'm lucky to have met JOan, she's always so supportive and once again she's been published in an anthology. This one is called 'Chick Inc.' I'm going to order it. She is such an inspiration. Well, dog is begging. Wants her walk, so it's off to greet the day. More later ....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It Got Me!

Yep, it got me. The common cold! Started last Wednesday and I'm still coughing today. However, the chest wheezing has stopped, so I think I'll live. I want to saint the creator of Nyquil. At least I got some sleep and relief from the coughing once the Nyquil took effect. One good thing came of it, I've watched a lot of old movies. Actually watched 'How the West was Won'. Lots of stars in that one. I especially enjoyed Gregory Peck's portrayal of the rascal gambler with a heart. Oh, by the way, Diane Keaton did overact terribly in her movie 'Because I Said So'. It could have been a really good movie because the rest of the cast did a good job and it was a funny plot. Do people really LIKE overacting ala the Keaton and Jack Nicholson mode? It turns me off. I've not done any writing or critting for the past week. Didn't even make it to my Saturday writer's meeting and I rescheduled my one-on-one crit session with Dave B. So, you know I've been feeling bad. I have a CD playing right now and I just heard 'Rodeo' by Copland. It is just brilliant. I love the visuals he creates that actually make you picture the old west. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with fellow writers Coco, Do and Lois. It will be fun; it always is with that talented group. I'm still trying to finish my Judith Krantz book 'I'll Take Manhattan' from my last month's book club. She must have been paid by the word. The plot is okay and I'm interested in some of the characters, but she over sets up a scene and overtells the detail of her characters which leaves nothing for the reader to make his own. Have been getting some good feedback on next month's author John MacDonald. I must get one of his books. Well, I'm off to another dose of Nyquil and a lovely cough free night ....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Back to Hannah

I've written two episodes of Hannah in the last couple of days and it feels sooooo good. I've been considering bringing it to an end and put it on Virtual Tales as an ebook. Still not sure. I would miss my editor, June. She has been a delight to work with. She has a great editorial eye and a nice way of upgrading my work. Right now, I've got Liam and Hannah in Johnson City chasing down Drake. And, they've found three dead railroad men. Always a murder for them to solve. :-) Amid Liam's determination that Hannah should marry him. Hummmm, maybe I don't want to end this serial. I will miss these two exciting characters. Sent off a couple of short stories for one ezine and one print anthology. Feels good to be 'out there' again. I need to get the books sent out again, but with the Pioneer garage sale due this week-end, don't see any free time to do that until at least next week. Off to lunch and a movie today. Going to see the new Diane Keaton movie. Hope she doesn't overact. Yeah, like that's going to happen! Oh, well, the rest of the cast looks good!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Successful Spring Fling

Another Spring Fling has come and gone. The Fling is a week of classes and activities put on by our local Lake Havasu City Parks and Recreation Dept. They invite 'experts' in topics like basic Spanish, taxes, investing, crafting, swimming, dancing, writing, massage therapy, acupuncture, holistic healing and a jillion other topics. They ask me to moderate classes on Journaling and Short Story Writing and I'm more than happy to have the opportunity to try to peddle my book and my on-line serial. This year, again, I met some interested and talented folks, sold some books and maybe attracted a member or two for the local writer's group. I did find that I need more time for the Writing Short Story Workshop. The organizers of the Fling rushed my closure and rushed the attendees out before they had a change to ask questions or for me to peddle my book. Still, it was fun and I'll do it again next year, if asked. Got some great prompts for Desk Drawer and Flashxer regarding 'feelings' and 'observation', so combined them and sent 'Rewards' to both groups. Getting some good feedback. Got a crit from a friend up north on my excerpt from 'Abby' that I submitted to Flashers-Dozen. He pointed out some author intrusion and some POV changes. He was right on. Still, I'm not sure if I want to change it and I wonder why. It came to me that I'm not writing 'literature' per se. What I write is probably more classified as pulp/commercial fiction and I do favor the Omniscient POV. It is right? Not sure, but I do favor full disclosure to my readers. Had a nice meeting last night with Lois for our small crit group. Got some good feedback on my silly story about working as a tour guide at a movie studio. JOan didn't make it to the meeting. She called to tell us that as she was on her way to join us, a jaywalker walked right into the side of her car. The girl wasn't hurt and JOan's car wasn't damaged, but JOan called the police. The girl was given a jaywalking citation and JOan was not cited for anything. Still, she was upset and went back home. Hope she had a glass of wine and good nights sleep to calm her nerves. Quite a scary situation. Tomorrow is my book club meeting. We'll be discussing the books of Judith Krantz. I'm reading 'I'll Take Manhattan'. So far, it's predictable and rather boring. Hope it gets better. Was talking with Lois last night about starting a new novel and I think I've finally decided to do a sequel to 'After the War, Before the Peace'. Those who've read the sequel I've already written are upset that one of the main characters, Lita, is dead at the start of the sequel. They said they needed more on her and some closure before I drop her from the story line. Right now, I have some free time, so think I'll do some crits on some subs from my fellow on-line writers. More later.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Had a great time today. Almost 30 people in the class and everyone was so receptive. Vivian and Lucy from the Lake Havasu City Writer's Group were there. Also, Gladys, the lady with 60 years of love letters was there. Had some nice comments after the class and sold six 'After the War, Before the Peace' novels. Very rewarding for me and I can only hope the folks that attended the class felt it was time well spent. Have been getting some great feedback on my Long Story Short essay. I'm surprised at how many folks have similar questions about God. Went to a Republican Women's meeting tonight. The speaker was a young man from Italy who is now an American citizen and is very passionate about the illegal immigrant situation in this country that he now so loves. One could question the value of his involvement with a militia group, but his passion about his love for our constitution and freedoms were quite moving. He should write a book! :-) Ahhh, now for some relaxation time. Time for wine and a good book.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Left With An Empty Easter Basket

Hey, just got my Feb. 07 issue of Long Story Short and there's my story! Check it out at www.alongstoryshort.net/Leftwithanemptyeasterbasket . Caution, it has some issues with God that may be offensive to some. So, Avalon didn't want me, but Long Story Short likes me! :-) Ah, the ying and yang of writing. Got an episode of Hannah (check it out at www.virtualtales.com ) written and sent off to June Diehl, my editor. Feels good to be writing again. Had my writer's meeting this last Saturday. Always motivational! Great bunch of writers and good friends. Tomorrow, oh wait, later today I moderate my Journaling workshop. Hope it goes well. I think I'm ready. Had to make-shift the business cards for 'Hannah', because ye olde printer decided to be ornery. But, I think I'm as prepared as I can be and all packed to go. I was surprised to see that I only have six copies of my 'After the War, Before the Peace' They're selling like hotcakes! Teehee, don't I wish. Well, wish me luck about tomorrow. Sleep tight.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Sad news. Avalon Books did not want my novel, 'Abby'. I appreciate that they liked the synopsis and liked the three sample chapters I sent them. But, after requesting and reading the complete novel, they turn it down because of some profanity I used and 117,000 word count instead of their max of 60,000. Hello! There was profanity in the first three chapters and the synopsis stated the word count! Oh well, it was nice waiting the three weeks that they had it, because of the hope I experienced that this was going to be my big 'break'. Now, it's back to the submitting again. Oh, they did say they liked my writing. :-) I can't believe I have let so much time pass since I last blogged. Of course, there was the trip to Calif., Christmas, paperwork regarding Dave's death and just plain January blahs. But, the temperature hit 70 today, the sun is out and I think I'm back in the grove. In fact, I even finished another episode of 'Hannah'. Tomorrow I'm moderating a class on journaling. So, guess I'd better get my notes together, make sure I have enough handouts and do a final practice run through. Over 20 folks have signed up for the class, so I owe those folks their money's worth. Wait, I'm doing this for free! Still, I'm taking up their time, so I do owe them. Ciao!