Positive Feedback, Springtime, and Being a Woman

So just the other day I found out that my grandfather read one of my stories here and told Mr. B that he liked it. While I know my grandmother reads some of my things occasionally, it surprised me to find out my grandpa did as well. Pleasantly surprising though. I mean, half or most of the time my parents don’t read what I write, for which I am partly glad. They know enough about me, they don’t need to know some of my other aspects. As it was, Mr. B wanted to know what I had written about so I was explaining some of the last pieces of flash fiction I had written, and he was making faces. Well, I had to explain that Under the Clock Tower gets interesting.  I’ll have to type it up so y’all can see.

So, no, I don’t always tell my parents what I write. Mel did mention, since she gave me the suggestion for how to continue the Clock Tower, that they (the writing group) was corrupting me. To which I replied, “Don’t worry, I’m already corrupted. You should see some of the stuff I’ve written that I share online only under an alias.” She burst out laughing, especially when I took her suggestion about the story.  Oh, being a writer means I have too much going on in my head, and half of it is not what I would call ‘nice’. It’s wicked, it’s bad, gruesome, disturbing, sexy, sexual, violent, and various other not nice things.  Hey, have you ever read of nice villains?

Well anyways, it was nice to get feedback from my grandpa. Then that same morning, a woman I know here said she loved reading my work. She reads it every morning before work while she drinks her coffee.  Wow. Thank you.  I know the ladies occasionally read my work since I post it on Facebook for friends to see, and I always get marvelous feedback from Mel, but out of the blue feedback is rather a gooey feeling.  Okay, honestly, positive feedback gives me a gooey feeling in general. Mrs. Austen always makes me smile when she posts something.

So, feedback = Nice

Then with it being springtime, there is so much inspiration going on. Oh my gosh. All the flowers and smells and birds and green things growing. It brings out a happier me. A more inspired me than winter. I have slipped out of my ‘burned out’ feeling. Thank goodness. And I have moved on to being more inspired.  I think PAD has given me a boost to write all kinds of things, not just sticking with stories and flash fiction.  I have had a lot of inspiration, even if I might groan at the prompt. Like yesterday’s haiku day. But even that turned out good.

Then the being a woman.  As Mel said after we were all gushing over the Outlander novels and Outlander the show, and Jamie, that we are women and the ‘sap’ is rising.  one thing said was  how the sex is really good in Outlander…. and the show. Really good on the show, people. Really good. And it’s really well written in the books. Not super erotic graphic, but just enough that you, or I, keep going back and rereading it. It’s that good.  I had talked to a woman the other day who had mentioned that she read the first three books and thought they were too steamy.  My inner thought was, hell yes, and thank goodness!  That’s one of the things that makes them so ridiculously good. And I don’t even feel it’s a guilty pleasure. It’s just a good read. Hey, I’m a sucker for romance novels, be it clean or a bit naughty…. or in some cases, really naughty.

Ah, springtime. Romance, love, sex and all things fertile start flowing. There must be something about it that we don’t even realize that we mimic nature.  So I have to say that yeah, spring comes along and anything girly and feminine is on my mind. And romance.  Lots of romance. And roses, and Hallmark movies.  I did my 31 days of femininity in October, but honestly, I probably should have done it now.  Lol.  I have stacks of romance books I want to read, or write. Heck, I am writing romance. I don’t share the romance with anyone because it’s terrible. Okay, it’s probably not that bad, but it has a lot of half starts. I’m still working on a story I started a month or so ago, and it’s actually turning out okay. I want to have one of my ladies read it when I’m done and get some feedback on my romance style.

So, there’s a ridiculously personal update. How is spring treating everyone else?

Kate

The Rejection Reduction

Rejection sucks. It’s the one major thing all writers are afraid of when it comes to submitting their work, or even something as simple as sharing their work with someone else. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life. When it comes to writing, that is. I find it hard to share work, at times, with other people because of that fear of criticism and rejection. I find it much easier to submit myself to you, the readers of my blog, and various other people that might read my work.

It’s actually fairly easy to share my work with agencies and literary magazines (despite the query letter which I actually dread because that one thing is sometimes the key factor… not your work) because they are an unknown entity. They are not someone I know specifically who would criticize me in person.

That being said, I am semi-depressed/bummed this week. On Tuesday, I found out I did not win the Writer’s Digest Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge. Nor did I even get an honorable mention.  Is it a big deal? No. But it’s a poopy feeling. It made me feel down and depressed on Tuesday.  I had hope to be just mentioned. Nope.

And two weeks ago I received another rejection, albeit a very encouraging nice one, from a literary magazine that I had submitted my short story to. I was expecting that, actually, but it still stings when you get the rejections. Do I expect instant success? No, but since I have been submitting for over a year to several magazines, I had been hoping for a bite.

I had been hoping my 13 sonnets for the Poem a Day thing would have been catchy enough to be noticed. Do I think I’m amazing? Well, that’s where it gets tricky. Because yes, I do think my writing is good, but I also don’t think it’s good. It’s one of those weird things where I have a vain opinion of my own work, but I’m also aware that there are other great writers out there.

I guess I just want some recognition.

I get a nice smattering of the applause by sharing my work in my writing group, but sometimes you want to world to see that you are something.

HEY, YOU WORLD! I AM SOMETHING!

Anyways. So there I was last week reading this blip of a thing on Neurolove.me (Tumblr blog on psychology facts) about how what you are craving to eat determines the state of your mind.  It’s somewhat true. I won’t put what I’m craving, except for the sugar, because it’s too revealing, but I think it’s kind of cool, and maybe it is an insight into what you are thinking/feeling. Check it out and the article to go along with it. Just click the picture to take you to the article.

So is anyone else in a rejection slump? I’d like to reduce the rejections. Hence the title. Anyone craving something on the list and it applies to your mental state?

Kate

Daylight Savings, Feeling Guilty, Rain, and Writing

 

I started on Saturday feeling this way. And I’ve continued through the day.

I hate Daylight Savings. I’m probably one of the millions of people that say that, but can I underscore it? There isn’t enough coffee in the world to take care of the hour change hangover. I slept in till 11 this morning and just now I thought, oh it’s still 5-ish, when it’s a quarter past 7. Sigh.

 

Not to mention I have spent the last two days feeling guilty that because of the massive rain and storms that blew in on Saturday morning, I wasn’t able to make it to the writing group, and because I had the key, we had to cancel…… though at 10 am when it would have started, the rain had abated. Sort of. Sigh. I always feel really guilty when I can’t follow through on something I said I would do or make or arrive at.  I really felt so guilty all day yesterday it was tearing me up. Not literally, but I was tweaked.

Then the rain. Oh, the rain is good. We so need it in CA, but it’s cold. And dreary. And depressing. And wet. So wet. So wet in fact that the water filter seems like it won’t even put water through because the humidity is so high. Blah rain. And I had hope to spend some of Saturday writing. Nada. Okay, well I was writing in the middle of the night as the time change happened, but technically it was Sunday. I sort of lost my mojo for the weekend. It probably has to do with the slew of doctor’s appointments this week and paperwork I have to fill out for a new doctor I’m seeing soon. Bleh, I hate filling out forms.

So, I’m blaming Spring Forward as my blah moment. I feel really blah right now.

Now go enjoy the rest of your short evening since it took you all day to get here. And ignore my blah, useless moment of complaining.

Kate

The Dreaded Typing of The Story

So I have started writing weekly in my notebooks when I write with the group of ladies on Saturdays. I love to write in my notebooks. I love the feel of a fountain pen swishing across a page as I scribble madly. They even commented on how rapidly I was writing this last week. (Side note; if you want to sound like you are accomplishing a writing project, use a fountain pen. It sounds way more studious than just a ballpoint or gel pen.)

But normally when I sit down to write, that means pulling out my laptop. I write much more descriptively on my computer than by hand. I write a form  of ‘shorthand’ when I’m writing with a notebook. Not really like the true symbols shorthand, but less descriptive. I know I can always go back when I input the data and fill in with a lot more description. Unless it’s a key point to what I’m describing, I don’t fill in. I will wait till later when I’m typing it up and Boom! there’s a whole extra paragraph or ten of things that were not there.

But recently I have not been wanting to input the stuff in the notebook to my laptop. The typing seems daunting. And the more I put it off, the more I have to type…. It’s going to be a vicious cycle soon if I don’t start typing it up. I never thought I would be the type to not want to type something up. Usually, I love that process because it means the story becomes more. More in depth, more descriptive, more rounded. I feel a story expand and be when it’s on my computer.

Which means this story that everyone is loving in my writing group will really love it when it gets typed up! If I can ever get there.

I wonder if anyone else has that problem. I would assume so since one of the ladies in my group was looking for a typist last year and seems to only write with a legal pad and pencil. And she lays out her hard copy on the floor to line up the story. She keeps the pages in a suitcase. Whoa! I’m not that bad. Yet. But still, it seems not that far off.

I’m not sure how to get over the slump of typing something up, other than I have only been doing this a little while. About a month of Saturdays. Which isn’t much. But I am going to have to get my butt in gear if I want to see what I have written and coalesce my story at some point. Right now, some things are mixed around and my timeline isn’t much.  That is, for the story I’m seriously working on. The Reality of Dreams storyline.

Flash fiction seems so much easier to type up. Maybe because it has a home here. I can type up some flash fiction in a moment and boom, I have a story. An actual novel…. well not so much.

What about you? Do you avoid typing up your story? Or do you enjoy it?

Kate

Playing With Words, Or What I Found In An Anne Lindbergh Book

So I have become a frequent member of the local Saturday Writing Circle at my local library. I’ve mentioned it in passing with a short piece of Flash fiction I wrote recently.  One of our writing prompts comes from the mix mash of pieces of paper with either a word or a number on it. If you choose the number, you walk around the room, which happens to have all the books the Friends of the Library sell, pull off a book, turn to the page number you chose, and use a word from that to write from. I almost always choose this method because it’s broad and there are a bunch of words you can find in one page.

This last week I chose a book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and who would have thought that a wealth of words could come from page 220 (the date of the day I was writing) of the book, “North to the Orient?” This book has a story behind it as well. I chose the book partly because a few years ago my family and I were going through our books, discarding what we were not going to read. Several of the books were Anne Lindbergh books my grandmother had gotten from her mentor years ago.  I kept a few and got rid of several. Well this dark blue book, sitting on the non fiction shelf, called to me. Just because I thought it would be familiar in that I knew the author. Well, after reading the page, I decided I HAD to take it home and read it. When I got home, I told Mrs. B about it, and she asked dryly if it was one of the books we had gotten rid of. Well, I flipped to the front cover and there was the nameplate with the name of my grandmother’s mentor.  Oh how things circle around. Ironic that I am now reading a book I discarded three years ago.

But now onto page 220.  While I didn’t use all of these, what caught my eye were these words or phrases:

a small island of roofs, sea of flood, the two words were separated, the world of nightmare, the world of reality, the flash of waking, magic lamp, hair-bridge, the pull of a trigger…….

A sentence: ….magic rests on a knife-edge—a lam, a tinderbox, and “open sesame.”

Aren’t those wonderful? I continued on with my story of Reality of Dreams, which relates to The Magic Orb I wrote several years ago. C.B. Wentworth wanted me to finish that piece of flash fiction and I have sudden inspiration to finish the story. I now have a way to finish the story. I think. This is what I have been working on at my weekly writing group.

So while I won’t share all of the story yet, I am going to post bits and pieces at time. But do you play with words? Do you hunt for words in books? I have found it a really good way to find inspiration. The Reality of Dreams was inspired by words in Cannery Row, and a Tea Shop Mystery book by Laura Childs.

So, how do you get your word prompts? I’d love to know.

Kate

A Moment of Mulch – Writing 101 Day 14

Shovel. Shovel. Fling. I heft the hay fork over my shoulder and the mulch deposits in the trailer. One shovel full after another.

How many wheelbarrows are in a trailer load of mulch? How long have I been doing this? I ask myself as another scoop falls into the trailer.

I mean, it could be worse. It’s a gorgeous day, and the sun is shining in a November sky. That right there is an oddity sometimes. Usually there is fog. Thick fog that never burns off. Okay, I might be exaggerating there a bit.  That kind of fog waits for December.

So here I am on a crisp clear day, doing something I actually like. But boy do my shoulders not like this.

There I was this morning with my sister asking me what I was going to do today. “Oh, I don’t know,” I said casually. I really didn’t. But then I started thinking about the dahlias needing to be covered in mulch for the winter. We are trying something new, so well, I need to get the mulch.

So out of nowhere I ask for my father to hook up the trailer and I’ll load up mulch to pile under the pine trees for the winter.

That was one load ago. Now my shoulders are so tired and I’m feeling that wobbly motion that comes when I’ve over done it. My inhaler is wearing off, and my breathing is more labored. And I’m sure the soup is boiling on the stove. And I have to cover plants tonight. And I can feel the cold breeze starting as the sun has shifted down lower and its not hitting me as much as I would like.

But, now I have two loads of mulch. Not bad for a day that started off with no plan but to be outside. Maybe.

 

I have no idea if this fits with the ‘rules’ of day 14. But I’m not terribly worried. I’m not even sure what I was going for. It is semi autobiographical since I did think most of this, and most of this happened today. So…..

Kate

Let’s Have A Cup Of Coffee And Catch Up – Writing 101 Day 11

steaming cupTrying to catch up my readers seems a bit redundant. I feel like I’m forever updating on current projects, or lack of projects, but let’s see what I come up with just an overview. Or if we were sitting down to coffee, I’d tell you all this. I’m not really up for a conversation, poetry, or interesting piece. Mind fog.

First off, I’m second week into Writing 101 and it’s exhausting in it’s own way. I love it, but I wonder if it’s really helping me. Does this make my writing better? Well, maybe because it has required me to have focus. Sort of. And not really come up with my own ideas. I mean, sure, the basis is mine, but there is a general theme of writing well. And it has helped me take time to practice using social media to promote my posts. I don’t know why I didn’t know how to do that before in WordPress, but I have some of it down better. So, there is some structure. I think.

I’m week two into the Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge, and feeling further and further behind. I have written seven and a half sonnets… or three half sonnets as well. It’s kind of odd. If I could finish those three I’d be further along. I still struggle with the iambic aspect. I get pentameter. That is seriously no problem. But unstressed/stressed still makes me groan a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if I start thinking in iambic after a while of this though.  But I am having to play catch up constantly. I’m not following the specific rules of the PAD challenge, considering I can’t seem to write a sonnet in 24 hours and move on to the next one. So it’s day 17 and I have less than half completed. Sigh.

My month has kept me busy with life changes, from it suddenly being our family business’s down time, sort of, to health problems, and family health problems and going here and there for such things. I’m so exhausted it’s not even funny. But I have finally started to recoup a bit on my anemia. I spent the summer being anemic and I’m finally into a safer zone but still not out of the water yet. The low iron made it impossible to keep running, which I wanted to do for health reason. But when your doctor says ‘stop running’, you do what he tells you. Maybe next year, because I cannot run in the winter in the mountains. It’s too cold.

I was thinking and semi talking with Caterpickles the other day about a story I sent the 8 Year Old when she was more like the 5 Year Old. Gads time flies. I wrote a picture book and turns out the 8YO still loves the story, and obviously can read it herself these days. I need to seriously sit down and consider a query letter or more to some agents and see if one might accept it. I had hoped to have the book published before Jules’s kids were out of grade school and the 8YO was still only 6. Clearly I am far behind that plan. So onwards and hopefully agent wards…

Does anyone else find that sometimes they get really annoyed with other people that are trying to publish and are telling about all their challenges?  There is one blogger I follow who is working to publish juvenile fiction and it annoys the heck out of me about his methods of submitting and working through Twitter and various other social media aspects. Does anyone else ever feel annoyed with other publishing authors? Or is it just me.

I looked into submitting a short story to Readers Digest after my grandmother read the story and said I should. Unfortunately, because of the high volume of stories RD gets, it’s like next to nearly impossible. So, I’m putting them on the back burner for now, but the short story needs submitting somewhere. I had tried Glimmer Train, Tin Roof, and The Meadows literary magazines, and all rejected my story after an 8 month wait. It’s okay though. I had three magazines read my story.

So, okay, I guess I have something to talk about, right?

For some, this is not terribly interesting, but others might find it helpful. Is there anything you, dearie would like to add?

Kate

After Paris – Writing 101 Day 10

It’s a cold Sunday afternoon, two days after Paris. Two days after tragedy and the news is still reporting on everything

“the attack is an act of war by isis terrorist army” says French President Francoise Hollande….     “cities around the world are lit up with French flag colors” says another news station.  “the death toll is now at 132” says an online news service.

We are tuned in and plugged in to any new detail. Twitter, Facebook, CNN, Foxnews….. Check the updates. Stare in horror. Try not to cry.

And yet life seems so ordinary as pans of jars are on the stove chattering away awaiting being canned with something. It’s fall, it’s Sunday, it’s a normal day. But it’s not a normal day. It’s normal for us so far from tragedy. It’s normal for this time of year. But everything has changed.

Had you asked me to sit quietly and observe for twenty minutes two days ago, I might have come up with something terribly different. And I can’t think of anything else that would affect me like coming home on Friday afternoon from an ordinary day out, shopping for pants, to seeing Paris. Paris in chaos…

Paris, my dream place. My one destination that I have dreamed about visiting since I was about 12. I dream in French sometimes.  And it is the one place I have hoped to visit.

Life is kind of ordinary right now as a Fast and Furious movie is on tv, my sister is banging boards and pans as she works on the dishes, and the kitchen is cluttered and full of vegetables and pans for the canning.  It’s noisy. It’s quiet. It’s just home.

Nothing terribly exciting ever happens around here, not that I mind it much. I like being home. I like the quiet chaos of a home. I mean, when I say it’s quiet, I mean compared to cars and trucks and the endless beeping of the backhoes as they put in new water pipes for the town, Monday through Friday, 7am to 4pm. Right now it is relatively quiet. Though I could probably do without the noise of the movie on. You don’t realize how loud a film is until you are in the other room trying to concentrated.

Home is safe. So for those where home is safe…. What is Paris now to those that call it home? Is it safe? Is it even home? How does one go on in life when a tragedy has hit very close to home. For some, right next door. For the man that helped people off the roof of the Bataclan  as terrorists shot people below. So close to home how do you walk outside and even breathe? How does one go on?

I have never been in the middle of a tragedy, nor do I ever want to be. So I can’t understand. I see it from a distance.  Roseberg, Oregon and the shooting there a month ago was as close to a  tragedy as I can think I have ever been. Everything else is far away. It makes you feel a little distant, literally and figuratively , when you think about it.

What is it like to have it a part of your life? I hope I never find out as I live an ordinary life and pray for those who have lost loved ones…….. And I pray for those in Paris……

Kate

Down Time, Not Writing Time – Writing 101 Day 9

When I’m not writing. Well, that’s pretty much just my life.  I get up, I take care of the house, I fix meals, I garden/farm… I exist.  Life is rarely me going from one point of writing to the next. It’s more of a “Oh, yay, I have five moments of time in between what I need to do and what I have to do.”  Right now, as I type, the timer just went off reminding me to swish the hand laundry. The delicates that have been piling up for way too long and all us girls in the house are completely out of favorites. It’s a desperate time. It really is quite traumatic when we run out of that favorite blue thing…

There, I have eight more minutes to type before the timer goes off again. My life has down time, for sure, but it’s sporadic. Right now, because it’s cold and wintery, I have evenings as my down time. I don’t take the daytime as I am usually rushing to get everything done before 4pm when I have to get outside to cover rows and rows of plants growing still, and finish up taking care of the chickens for the evening. Basically I have an hour and a half of time shot every evening…. Pardon me, there goes another timer for the washer…… And today it will be even worse as it’s supposed to be even colder, so everything needs a bit more cover tonight.

But when I do have down time and I’m not writing, I do have some other things I like to do. Usually they relate to writing, or reading. I read whenever I can. Right now I have about five books started and very little hopes on finishing any of them. I have a hard time finishing books now because 1. I write more than anything so books get put to the wayside; and 2. I don’t like half the books I start. The one exception this year was the Vampire Academy series and The Lady In Gold. Other than that, I can’t think of a single other thing I finished from the library.  I did have my book review books.

I visit the library whenever I can, but I haven’t taken much time to sit down and just read there lately. I get caught up visiting the ladies and I don’t sit down and read. Granted, it was summer mostly so I couldn’t take the time earlier this year. But I love to browse the shelves of the little library. Shelves I know so well. I could close my eyes and you could put me on any isle and I could tell you what was in front of me. Most likely. I might be a little off since they changed the shelves a little and moved everything over one shelf.

I enjoy puttering outside in the sun, but usually there is something that needs to be done so puttering is more of an actual job that needs doing. Yesterday it was spreading mulch and burning.  But when I can, I have my camera with me and I am busy snapping away for anything from the business, to my cards, to just fun. I enjoy getting up close and personal with things.

Life gets in the way of a lot of writing. The fact that I’m taking time out of my day right now to write is crazy. I should be vacuuming something or picking up something else. There is enough clutter right now to make a OCD person go completely insane.

But not writing gives me a chance to mull over ideas. Which I’ve said in the past. And usually after I do a bunch of writing challenges, I need a break. I should have probably taken a break after October and writing every day, but I liked the idea of a poetry challenge. And I liked keeping up the pace, even if I don’t post every day. If I just sit down and work on a sonnet, it’s still writing. So every day I’m trying to do that. I love it. And while sometimes I get a little burned out, it doesn’t happen enough to give up writing something every day.

Kate

Dear Mornings – Writing 101 Day 8

Dear Mornings,

I have given you up to sleep. Not that you have ever been much of a friend of mine, but you are sometimes lovely when I actually do see you. I find you hard to be around when I am so tired all the time and I enjoy the company of Night so much better.  I spent the summer in your company, when the Sun was hot and you were so bright. But at the same time, I had to endure you as I worked on days I didn’t want to. So you are a thing I love and hate at the same time.

When it’s winter, I want to sleep you away because you are cold, but there is nothing better than sitting up and your gentle quietness and enjoy your company with a cup of coffee…. or two. Your foggy days are chilly and moody, sometimes like me. But it’s your sunny bright days I love the best. When you shine with so much sparkle, it’s like a fairy tale.

In the spring you are heralding the day with birds and sun and flowers and warmth that is comforting. In the summer you blaze out first thing, like a puppy, ready to spring the heat on me. You can be delightful, but sometimes you are a bit tiring. You are too exuberant for me to want to be that excited to see you. And in the autumn, you are just right. You are cold and crisp, just enough to make me notice you. You smell of spicy fires and cold mountain air. You remind me of your cousin mornings in southern mountains. I like you best of all then.

But even at moments of liking you, I never visit that much because I spend more time with Night. He’s so much more appealing in my writing state. He gets me. He totally understands that I need his enveloping darkness to feel secure.

Ah, Mornings. I don’t know how often we will spend time together, but one day I hope I will be able to enjoy you more. At least you see me a bit more right now that Father Time has set his clock back.

Sincerely,

The Girl who likes to sleep