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.

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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.

NaNoWriMo: A Work in Progress

 

November is National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo and I am solidly embroiled in writing my novel, “Unprepared.”
“Unprepared” is about a professor of agricultural engineering. When he loses his wife and daughter during a pandemic, he loses his will to live but he may be one of the few people in his town capable of helping his community survive and thrive.
I’m at 22,398 words, as of the writing of this post. I’ve been shooting for 2,000 words a day though the goal of NaNoWriMo is only 50,000 words in one month, which amounts to about 1,667 words per day. (Plus, I’ve started this novel every year for the last two years so I have 85 pages in a separate file put aside.)
I get up every morning and try to get 20 minutes of writing in before I leave for work. I can get another 20 minutes in during my lunch time. Then, I get another 20 minutes after dinner. Now, if I’ve been researching and thinking about the story during my drive to and from work so that I’m ready to write, that’s enough to get about 2,000 words in.
So far it’s going really well. Some words are better than others but it’s important to have words so you can edit. The research on this has been more in depth than anything I’ve written so far – learning about town water systems, waste treatment, and Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans. Cornell University’s web site has been a HUGE help.
I can’t wait to be able to say this novel is drafted!

Unwinding the Brain

I love to write but sometimes I need to give my brain a break. Coloring and Sudoku are a couple of my ways to do that. What are yours?

 

Coloring

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