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!