Writing Status Update: Clothes Pegs

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I haven’t written much historical fiction and certainly not something for which there is such a good historical record. Writing something of this nature has advantages and disadvantages. It requires a good bit more research than my regular fiction.

To that end, I’ve been reading Iwo Jima Recon: The U.S. Navy at War, February 17, 1945 by Dick Camp. It has a huge amount of information on the Navy Underwater Demolition Teams – how they volunteered for the job and the training, as well as the Japanese fortifications, bombardment of the island prior to the landing, timing of events, and everything else relevant. It has been fascinating.

I also watched the 2002 movie Windtalkers with Nicholas Cage and Adam Beach. That was much harder. It is a very realistic movie in some ways, depicting the confusion and horror of battle. It was downright nauseating for me at times, but useful.

When writing a story, I try to make use of whatever filters through my brain, and applies. While writing this story, I had a dream that I was in a small house that was picked up, largely intact, and carried into a huge tornado. The next day I wrote that in as part of the back story for one of my two main characters.

At our last writer’s group meeting, a work-in-progress from another writer sparked a discussion on the difference between a clothespin and a clothes peg. That night I dreamt of carving names into clothes pegs so that got written into my story as something a main character’s girlfriend does to remember people who have volunteered for military service, as she hangs the laundry to dry or takes it in.

Now I’m working some more on that big story picture – plot points that I know have to be there and the reality of timing during the reconnaissance with the fictional movements of my characters.

I’ve learned far more than will ever go into this story, but hopefully it will enrich the narrative the way a good broth base does for a soup.

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Writing Update: Research Haiku

ResearchHaiku

Weekly Writing Update: Sharing Stories

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I currently have five short stories and a novel submitted to potential publishers, and two more short stories I need to pick potential homes for.

It’s a little like holding a lottery ticket. You want to find out whether you won or not but the anticipation is wonderful fun as well. Schroedinger’s cat is still alive! Yes, there’s fun in both creating and sharing. That sharing can take a multitude of forms. There’s at least one story that I’ve shared with my writer’s group which I may never send out, but it was cathartic just writing it and sharing it with them.

Yesterday, I sent a copy of my poetry book to Brené Brown on a whim. I recently read her book, Braving the Wilderness, and so many things she said resonated with poems in my book that I wanted to share it with her. She may never read it, may never even see it if someone opens her mail for her, but I sent it.

Making connections, sharing who we are, is a big part of why we’re here. Sometimes I see memes that say things like “I should just keep quiet, nobody cares.” Bullshit. I care, I’m interested in people’s stories and what they think, and I’ve found over time that whatever it is I think or feel, there are plenty of people out there who feel the same way.

So, keep on sharing your story. Somebody may be waiting to hear it.

DONE! For now. (A Novel Submission)

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Well, I did it. I FINALLY submitted my paranormal romance, Earthbound, to a publisher. My husband poured me a really big glass of wine last night, twice what I would usually pour myself, so I hope I didn’t rush this. 🙂

I wrote the novel, let it sit, and edited it. I rewrote bits and shared some with my writer’s group members. I gave it to three beta readers then applied their suggestions. I gave it to three MORE beta readers and applied THEIR suggestions. Writing is truly a recursive process, you keep going back to a piece over and over, but at some point you have to let it go. So I submitted it last night.

I’ve been working on this novel for several years now. To be honest, I don’t even know when I started. I’ve worked on it, alternating with short stories, poetry and other novels, for quite some time. But this year is about finishing things and putting them out there.

For rejection? Maybe. I hope not. I’m hoping for an acceptance, but if they pass on it, some useful feedback would helpful too. Now, I try to forget about it until I hear back from them.

On to the next thing – plotting the next book, editing my short horror story, and finishing the other science fiction series I started.

To be honest, I’m very excited to move on to the next book, Firebound, about my main character’s best friend, Jennifer, who was burned in a car accident. I saw a youtube video on plotting a novel that I plan to watch – “How to Plot Your Novel FAST” from Ellen Brock. The comments on it are very positive.  

I’m actually feeling very accomplished. I even managed to clean some windows, sort munchkin and my clothes for donations, cook three meals, and do her laundry on Sunday along with submitting the novel. What more do you want from life?

Update: Writing or Rhubarb? Both

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When the rhubarb rolls around, take the time to make cobbler.

Sometimes I get to the end of the month and wonder – what did I accomplish? This past month has been filled with working eight hours a day, driving an hour each way to get there, spending quality time with my daughter (including playing Harry Potter Clue,) cooking, getting groceries, laundry, Easter preparations, reading three really good novels on the theme of visual arts for my book club (The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro was outstanding,) and a ridiculous amount of time getting my car repaired so it would pass inspection.

I still managed to write a number of new poems (April is National Poetry Month,) edit a short horror story, submit some stories for publication and very nearly finish editing my paranormal romance novel, Earthbound, to submit. (Just two more scenes to go!)

I tried to rush the editing but Life has a way of slowing me down, of reminding me that it’s quality over speed that counts. Life is also about balance, and the rhubarb only arrives once a year.

Seriously, Google “Smitten Kitchen rhubarb cobbler recipe.” Totally worth it.

Update: Has Anyone Seen My Flash Drive?

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Ah, the writing life. Things have not quite gone to plan . . . again.
 
First, I left my flash drive at work, an hour away. My weekend schedule simply did not hold two hours to drive out there and get it, and a major part of my plan was to edit Earthbound while my car got a new catalytic converter this morning. (That didn’t happen, but that’s a whole other story.) Thankfully my husband offered to go get the flash drive while I did Easter preparations with our daughter.
 
Then, this morning, Windows decided to update, though I HAD turned automatic updates off AND just run updates on Thursday. A box popped up offering to save my edits but before I could approve it, Windows forced my word processing software to crash. The recovered document held none of my editing but, thankfully, the original file opened and SOME of the edits were in there.
 
So, not as far as I planned but neither am I back at square one. I did work on eliminating the use of SEEM and WAS, as much as possible.
 
Tomorrow is another day which will, undoubtedly, hold more editing.

Submissions, Rejections and Presentations

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March is going out like a lion, with whirling, swirling thoughts. There’s so much going on!

I’ve recently received two short stories back from the publications I had submitted them to with a “no, but thank you for letting us read it.” Sent one back out yesterday to a new pub and will pick a new pub for the other one in the next couple days. Doesn’t do any good to let them sit.

I’ve been using Submittable and Authors Publish to find publications to submit to. They certainly do make it easier, though you need to spend the time checking out the current specs from the publisher.

For example, I read through everything on how to submit to one publisher then clicked on their link to Submittable and couldn’t submit. Why? I didn’t click the link to see their publishing schedule; they’re closed for submissions until the first of April. My bad. Next!

I’ve been reading through my plague novel, UNPREPARED, making myself cry all over again, which leads me to believe that besides needing an ending to tie up the loose ends, it might need a few more moments of levity and/or hope. I’m afraid it’s a little TOO bleak. I can do that though. Next week.

This week, I’m pretty focused on my presentations for a writer’s conference I’ll be talking at Saturday in Corning, New York. The first presentation, on Book Trailers, has SO many options on how to create them that I’ve decided to go the simplest route, creating one in Powerpoint with only images, text, and music, then talk about how to upgrade from there by adding video and voice overs. (I do love book trailers with voice overs. There’s something very inviting about them.) And with royalty free video clips available out there, you don’t even have to be able to take video yourself!

The second presentation, on getting book reviews, is not nearly as big but still has LOTS of options. There are so many avenues to approach people for reviews, from Amazon to Goodreads to professional reviews. I’m definitely going to try a Goodreads Giveaway myself very soon.

And real life goes on. Not sure yet whether I’ll be posting a new haiku this week or something from the poetry archive on Friday. We’ll see what I can come up with.

The New Year: Be Present and Choose Love

I got a new planner for 2019 that says simply “Be Here Now” on the front. That embodies my goal for the new year and will provide a good reminder, I hope.

I plan to embrace love and kindness, be present in my life where I am now, and find the joy that is available to me here. Be present and choose love. That is my goal for this year.

Of course, there are other things that I want to accomplish. However, they are smaller goals that I’ve already been working on and will continue to work on, like selling my writing and organizing my house. But I don’t want to become so obsessed with those goals that I lose sight of the big goal – be present and choose love.

Here’s to a new year!

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Writing and Crafting

I totally forgot to create a blog post for this morning because Christmas crafting has completely taken over my life! That and making sure my daughter has an outfit for her Christmas concert, and work, and the cold and dark, and trying to keep up with all the usual stuff that needs to be done.
 
Sometimes other types of creation take precedence over writing. It doesn’t necessarily leave my mental space happier but it’s what needs to be done. I will get back to the novel, it just might have to wait a week.
 
But, I realized that Friday is the winter solstice and it got me thinking about light and the lack thereof, so I started writing a poem on my drive in this morning. I hope to have it up on Friday.
 
And I hope everyone is finding time to enjoy the season. Seek out the warmth and light!
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Writing is my present to me

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Christmas is coming and I’m in full present production mode! However, the writing must go on.
 
Now that the post-Thanksgiving cold has finally begun to abate, I’m back to adding to my NaNoWriMo novel, Unprepared. It’s a lot slower going than during NaNoWriMo, I only added 400 words at lunch today, but I’ll keep chipping away at it until it is done.
 
What is Unprepared about? When an agricultural engineering professor loses his wife and daughter to a bioengineered virus, he also loses his will to live but he may be one of the few people who can put his town back together again when it’s all over.
 
The book picks up when a quarantine goes into effect. The powers that be at first believed they were dealing with a particularly virulent flu pandemic, possibly bioengineered. However it is clear that it is even worse than that. They are losing people quickly and towns are soon isolated, dealing with their own disasters.
 
It’s amazing sometimes the ideas that come to light when I’m writing fast. This novel includes: chicken broth, a backhoe, biogas accelerating enzymes, Albuterol inhalers, and an inverter.
 
I’m looking forward to saying this draft is done.

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