Week 38 2016 Green Tea & Demon

img_0110So there I was picking through World Market for candles, teas, and coffees. I had a solid plan for a long weekend of writing and plotting and such. I toyed with the idea of taking the show on the road and heading up to the mountains, but my pug poo-poo’d the idea. Hiking might be involved, she said. Having almost been eaten by both a box turtle and fox recently and close to our abode, she did not want to add almost eaten by a bear to her adventures.

Also, in truth, I thought I might be more distracted by the mountains than the life that buzzes around my house. So I got just the right candle “Green Tea and Demon” – I am hoping demon is some kind of French flower and not the essence of malignant divinity. I decided either way, I would be in good shape. After all my WIP involves demons, but as it turns out, the demons in my book don’t smell near as fine as my new candle.

I have so far managed to get a lot done and still another day and a half of writing remains. I entered a writing contest (flash fiction) just because it’s good practice. I did about 3000 words on my WIP, a few thousand words worth of research and backstory (nothing a reader will see but helps me write the meat), and this blog post.  My WIP, at long last, has a title, one that I like. My new book will be called The First Idyll until such time as a publisher or one of my demons convinces me otherwise.

yourbookyourbrandI feel so confident about this book that I went on and purchased Your Book, Your Brand by Dana Kaye for when I finally secure my amazing, not-to-be messed with agent and  soon after, land a publishing contract. Stop laughing. It could happen.

Your Book, Your Brand comes at the recommendation of literary super-agent and attack shark, Janet Reid’s Blog. Writers, you guys read this every day, right? It’s fine if you don’t because then, well, less competition for me.

dixiedupreeSpeaking of super sleek writers, it is almost October and there is a great book coming on Oct 25th by one of the Reef’s finest. Donna Everhart has penned The Education of Dixie Dupree  which has been selected as an Indie Next, a very big deal.

If you already know me, like in real life and see me pretty often, you’re getting this book for Christmas. Surprise. Otherwise, go pick it up. Looks like it will be a doozy of a read, one that is sure to sing like Harper Lee or Flannery O’Connor in tone with the masterful voice of Donna Everhart. I know of which I write. Donna hangs out at the Reef, and the stuff she writes, I mean to tell you. This woman can spin a yarn.

Until next week – provided the angels see fit to keep me from being devoured by the demons that haunt me.


Week 18 2016 Darkness My Old Friend

DarknessSo this week I totally lost my mind. It happens now and then. After the A to Z challenge, I picked up my manuscript thinking I would go ahead and indulge in another round of queries. Instead, I decided to rewrite the whole damn thing. Like I said, I have lost my damn mind.

I told folks at The Reef (writers, you do read Janet Reid’s blog, yes?) my plans, and Janet advised me to notify the agents I have outstanding requests with of my insanity, er, rewrite just to keep them in the loop. I know these agents are not anxiously awaiting my every written word. They have active clients and a full inbox of hopeful little queries. Still, it is the thing to do if Janet says so and I don’t want another shark bite or exile to Carkoon.  I spent the afternoon writing those agents. So that will probably slow down my upcoming “How I got an Agent” post by some time. How dreary.

I suppose those of you eager beavers who just jump right in with draft 1-3 will think me dangerously insane to be working on draft big number just shy of infinity. Quite possibly. Remember, each writer’s journey is different. Some are fast. Some are slow. Most are nuts. We all end up in the same place in the end.  Padded room. Strait jacket.

kingofdeadSo I am going to put on another pot of coffee, fuss over every other word in my manuscript, and then switch to whiskey before finding out who will be the next to die on Game of Thrones. I wonder who wins this game in the end. Is it the one who kills the most? Or the one that kills the exact right people? If I was a gambler , I would be betting on the dragons. But my instincts tell me the good money is on King of the Dead. He’s awesome as far as zombie making ice lord thingies go. I wonder if he’d be interested in being President of the United States? Loads of people would vote for him. I guarantee it. Even if he shoots someone on 5th Avenue.



Week 16 2016 -Headaches and Anticipation

QueryCatThis week saw me go O to T in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Is that the end of the alphabet I see there? I hope so. I must admit this has taken away from time I might, perhaps,  have better spent editing, revising, proofing, and polishing my current project for submission. Ah well, publishing isn’t going anywhere and this has been terrific practice and enforced a bit more discipline on me. I had a migraine that stretched Wednesday – Friday and I still managed to keep up.

Here is the week that was:

Ommegang_2– MondayOlde Town Bar #atozchallenge . This story told of a young girl kidnapped from the UK twelve years prior and taken to America, assisted by mysterious forces, and finding her way back home. In anticipation of tonight’s premiere of season 6 of Game of Thrones, I featured Ommegang’s line of Game of Thrones inspired beers. These are actually very good. Ommegang is a brewery out of Cooperstown, New York.

PirateBombTuesdayPirate’s Pier #AtoZChallenge  – I revamped a story I wrote in high school which eventually resulted in my fantasy series The Idylls of Alleysiande. It featured an American Double/Imperial Stout with a hell of kick (14.00 ABV) called Pirate Bomb from Prairie Artisan Ales out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

QueensLagerWednesdayQuery Pit – #AtoZChallenge – I was inspired by my time spent swimming in the Reef, an affectionate name for agent extraordinaire,  Janet Reid’s Award-Winning Blog which is frequented by writers, agents, readers, and editors of all walks of life. Regardless of what your career model is as a writer, traditional publishing, self-publishing, or hybrid, this is a literal treasure trove of knowledge that will only help you as a writer. For this tale, I featured Queen’s Lager out of Queens, New York in honor of QOTKU (The Queen of the Known Universe which is Janet’s official title and should be on her business card).

RedHare_WatershipThursdayRabbit’s Rebuke – #AtoZChallenge This little story was in many ways inspired by my daughter and my own struggles against societal norms. She is graduating from college in two weeks and does not wish to take the normal road. I believe she will be happier for it. A lot of my knowledge of beers comes from her. She is a bartender and loves it. She is also artistic and full of wanderlust. I hope she sees the world instead of hides from it as most seem to do. For this little story, I featured beers produced by Red Hare Brewing out of Marietta, Georgia.

StoneRuinationFridayStorm’s End Cafe #AtoZChallenge Finally, the week drew to a close and I challenged myself to take a broad cast of characters and bring them together. I really needed several more drafts, but it was a good exercise. I love stories that take seemingly unrelated lives and crash them into one another. I also left much in this tale up to the reader’s interpretation because I believe the best writing involves the reader bringing their own voice to the tale. I don’t know if I managed that, but it is something I strive for. The great stories do that. It’s why something like Harry Potter works so well because so many readers can bring their own experience to it and take something more out of it. I feature California’s Stone Brewing Co’s Ruination IPA as the beer in this story.

HatTrickHopSaturdayTower Peak #AtoZChallenge  A very short tale of an angel that falls quite unintentionally by trying to help. This rides along a theme that has long fascinated me ever since I encountered J.R.R. Tolkien and his Inklings. It shows up over and over again in literature through the ages. It is a constant struggle that so much evil done starts with a good intention. For this story, I featured Montana’s Tamarack Brewing company and their Hat Trick Hops IPA.

So now my watch is done for this week. Thanks for stopping by. For one more week we will travel to the end of the alphabet. For all of you participating in the A to Z challenge, good luck. See you on the other side of Z.

Week 14 2016 – Frankie’s Spring Break

IMG_0433This was a splendid week devoted to nothing but writing and editing, and then more editing. A wonderful respite from the drudgery that comes with a day job, but now it is over. Tomorrow I return to the real world. My pug will be most sad. She has been terribly spoiled this week, getting to spend practically every moment within my reach. Still, it’s good to have the day job as I like being able to support myself, but still, what a thing it would be if my writing alone could pay my bills.

This week was the first full week of the A to Z blog challenge. My theme is beer, sort of – I wanted to see if I know enough beers for each letter. Also, there were lots of previews of my book because I am editing. I combined proofreading my book revisions with my blog challenge.  I must cross Query Lake, turn in my full requests and my partial requests so that one of these weeks, I can write my “How I Got My Agent” post.

IMG_0496The best part of this week is that I got to spend the whole week with my dog at my feet. Frankie is the perfect research partner for finding all these beers. There are a couple of pubs close by that allow me to take Frankie with me. I love that.

I do not actually drink alcohol at all when I am writing. It may have worked for Hemingway, but my poison is coffee and tea for the early and late hours when I am chewing over my latest manuscript. Beer is a social thing for reconnecting with people, getting caught up with my now grown daughter, a way to draw stories out of friends and strangers, a way to leave the real world behind, and travel deep into my imagination.

Week 13 2016 – Renewal from the Reef

PyraThis week has been one of recovery and renewal. I am at last back to writing steadily. My aunt’s death knocked me off my virtual horse. I can hear her pushing me right back onto my horse just as she did when I was a child learning to ride. I am going to cut this short as I am participating in the A to Z challenge. People will tire of my blog in short order as it is.

I am working on the last edits for my R&R today and would like to be back in the query trenches by this time next week. Tomorrow, I must write a blog inspired by the letter “C”. I did not pick a theme for my challenge although I suppose “beer” could be construed at such. Anyhow, thanks to all in The Reef (Agent, Janet Reid’s wonderful blog) for all their support over the last couple of weeks, and for all they do. What a great bunch of writers. Drinks on me this week.

Week 9 2016 – Avoiding the Reaper

IMG_0099It happens now and again that I freeze inside. I simply stop. I go numb, and there is this sort of surrender akin to despair. I float through life during these periods, making lists of things that I must do (go to work, walk the dog, feed myself) and my dreams take a back seat to survival. It is this weird fugue that proceeds illness. The sick hit me Saturday at noon.

That morning, I was feeling well enough, tired, but I was getting things done; the laundry, the grocery shopping, walking the dog, playing with the dog, a little proof-reading of my R&R, some notes on my WIP (work in progress). I sat down, thinking I would make some tea and do some real writing. Then out of the blue, pain, gut-wrenching like I was being torn in two, pain. That is how it happens every couple of months, and for the greater part of my adult life. After a while and much vomiting and wailing, it passes, leaving me feverish and weak as a newborn kitten.

These episodes are a  brutal reminder that time is no friend of mine, not when I was twenty and not now. Opposing that unpleasant truth, is my belief that I will live until I finish and publish the final book in my Idylls of Alleysiande series. There will be seven of these.

DarkriderReality and I have never gotten along. I am working on book two now while trying to snare an agent with book one. I have two other series that I hope to weave into my publishing career along with the Alleysiande books. I will be needing another few decades, but there is no bargaining when it comes to mortality.

Somehow, I have to stop counting on the mystical to keep me alive, and start dealing with the reality that if I don’t keep my eye on my dreams, time may run out before I have readers waiting for the next book.  I can’t imagine what is coming this next week. I am a piss-poor prognosticator, but perhaps in the labyrinth that is my life, I can hide a bit longer from the grim reaper.