So Far, So Good

Andy Warhol is famous first for his artwork. What he’s second most famous for is the saying that in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. He didn’t live to see what the internet has done. And here’s how to make it work for you in ways that won’t cost much. Many of these are free.

Things are going as well as can be hoped. The writer’s market is saturated with people wanting to be published. They all want to be a paperback writer. Me, too. Even Toni Morrison had to pay dues. Every rejection is another lesson to learn and even if you don’t get paid for your article, short story or poem, at least you got published and that can only help when you submit your next piece of work.

Consider getting another email address for your pseudonym. My poor email box needs a good clearing out. I subscribed to lots of sites whose email I no longer read. Make a new one for your author self and don’t let stupid stuff know about it.

Thank you Linda Grey for Altered Reality Magazine. You put me out there and I can’t express my gratitude often enough. Just this week I was notified by email that Potato Soup Journal will include my short story Frozen Behind Glass in their October 24 publication. Wait until then and go to http://www.potatosoupjournal.com if you want to read it.

No, I haven’t been paid for writing yet. That’s okay. Google Dee Caples, Debra Caples or uneasywriter.blog and see what happens. Yeah, baby, that’s me. It started with my blog site on Word Press. You can do it for free although I opted to pay a small yearly fee. If memory serves me right, and don’t hold me to that, it’s thirty-four dollars.

Do you have a Facebook page? Start one! Their Own Little World has been on there for years and I have a small but loyal following of people reading my posts about how to deal with clients who have Alzheimer’s/Dementia.

Author’s Publish Magazine. This is primo, ya’ll. Subscribe to their free weekly newsletter and get notices about who’s taking submissions. You’ll get linked to the submissions websites. In addition to that you’ll get notified when they have free guides available. These are written by real editors, writers and publication experts. People in the know.

Pinterest and I are still getting acquainted. Even if you don’t have the money to link your name to the pin board or post articles, you can get lots of help from clicking on pins. Helpful information abounds. Same goes for Instagram, Twitter and other social media.

Make a LinkedIn profile. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for employment. Maybe you have a journalism degree or you want to be a freelance writer or researcher. You can message others, follow and make contact with people whose interests are in line with yours. You can start with free and upgrade to pro.

Get froggy. The water’s fine and it only gets deep if you wade out further. Learn to swim. Then Google your name and get a thrill.

#alteredrealitymag.com, #dee caples, #uneasywriter.blog,

Remiss

That’s what I’ve been. I have it on good authority that I should be checking this every day, at least every other. Sorry. I’ve been busy.

Let me tell you what I’ve been busiest doing. Getting clean, again. It may not be very perspicacious of me to admit this, seeing as how this is for public consumption and my family might stumble upon it. I was supposed to have quit meth last August on my birthday. Such is the nature of addiction. This time I’ve been promised I’ll no longer have a job if I don’t and that’s as good a reason as any I’ve ever heard to put it down.

You might have gathered from reading any of my blogs that I’m inclined to let the devil take the hindmost. Let is all fly. To not give a damn what anyone thinks. If you can’t read this and say “Good for you!” then who needs ya? If I ever get rich and famous, then, by all means, don’t buy any of my books. That’ll teach me.

All that being said, I’m going to include excerpts of my drugged-out diary from time to time. If you can relate say “Amen!”

May 26, 2019

They say go with what you know.

How many times have I tried to quit meth? I don’t remember. Lots. And watched friends try? More than that. At least I’m blessed with a firmer base than some have. There’s a good family behind me. I already am acquainted with a “higher power”, a God I routinely let go of that has refused to let go of me. I’m still employed and still hanging onto my humble abode. That goes back to the training and love of my family. My parents taught me how to do that.

On the other side of the scale are these shaky hands that have to keep going back to retype my typos. I lost my temper and act a total bitch. When at my weakest I fall back on the first drug I fell into: alcohol. A six pack of Modelo and a half gallon of homemade wine are in the fridge. The wine is no mere 7 or 11 percent, either.

I didn’t drink very much on meth. The old man said, “You’re in danger of becoming a bad alcoholic. Stick your arm out.” I did, and, guess what? No more problem! It’s not his fault, though. I was already an intravenous user.

Those first two bumps were nothing like I’d thought they would be. I’d heard about the rush and thought “Huh?” Third time’s the charm, right? It hit me and inside I heard a voice say This is my god. I’ve been fighting that voice ever since.

It’s Tell A Story Day! So Here’s Mine:

The Fairy Godfather
 
Once upon a time there was a widow with five children. The eldest was Julian, a shiftless lad more inclined to hide in the haymow than clean the stable. Clothide was fifteen and whined about her clothes and hair and their lack of wealth. Twins Roger and Ronald were eight, naughty boys behind in their schooling because they would rather fight with one another than do sums. The baby, Ella, gave her mother trouble only when soiling her nappies or teething.
The widow Jane wasn’t a widow at all but the wife of a debauched fellow that had stolen what little they had of value and abandoned the farm for London in order to gamble and chase strumpets. In the morning when she hung laundry and again in the evening when dumping ashes from the stove, she bemoaned her fate. “Fairy godmother, please incline your ear to my pleas,” she wept. “I need some help with these children and a few pounds in the bargain.”
Her tears were answered in the form of Luigi, her fairy godfather. Yes, I said godfather. As anyone worth their salt knows, dear children, the women of the Victorian Era were good for twaddle. Most of what they did was have vapors, organize picnics and attend ladies society meetings.
On the Ides of March he came through the gate midmorning and Widow Jane shaded her eyes to get a better look. It did little good. This man was the answer to no prayer. He was short and bow-legged with straggly gray hair and tobacco stains on his chin. He had a nice voice, however, and manners. Introducing himself as a teacher, he asked only food and shelter in exchange for educating her mob of young. A bargain was struck. “If you don’t mind sharing the attic room with Julian?” she asked with uncertainty.
Luigi did but bowed and smiled. “Of course not, dear lady.”
He gathered the children in the front room and, while the widow was cooking the afternoon meal, spoke to them in low tones. “Listen, you guyses,” he said. “I’m from the faraway land of Joisey and I’m here to be godfather to your mama.”
They all stared at him with gaping maws for his speech was very strange. Only the children were ever privy to this as he addressed their mother in a refined British accent. He showed them a clenched fist and warned, “If youse should ever get the idear to rat on me I’ll give you a mouthful of bloody Chiclets. Capisce?
Stricken with fear, the children agreed; the godfather’s demeanor was fierce. At supper that night he sat between Roger and the baby in her high chair. The unruly twin kept snickering with his brother and kicking Clothide under the table. Just as he was about to make his “see food” joke with Julian, Luigi calmly pinched his neck in such a manner as to make him choke. As the lad coughed and spluttered Luigi reached up and slapped his back. Tearful, he looked up at Luigi and got such a look as to make him behave the rest of the meal.
The godfather set about to get the attic room all to himself by means which do not bear repeating here. Suffice it to say, two days after Luigi’s arrival Julian came downstairs, walking gingerly and announced he was going to London to find work. He would either send money home or never return. Recognizing a win-win situation when she saw one, Widow Jane packed a lunch and kissed him farewell.
Luigi turned his attention to the elder girl child. Clothilde was a veteran weeper. She complained about her chores, the too-tight shoes she wore and the lack of young, eligible men in the area. At breakfast she pissed and moaned so long Luigi begged leave to go to the nearby village to attend to some business.
Of course, he had no business in the village. When he reached the home of Squire William he put a spell on the man. “When you awaken, you’ll go to the house of Widow Jane and ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage,” Luigi whispered in his ear as he slumbered.
And that is exactly what the squire did. Clothilde cried loudly for the squire was thrice her age. He was capable of buying another pair of shoes and many fine gowns for her to wear. Jane figured it was someone else’s turn to put up with the silly chit. The squire settled a generous dowry on the widow, which she sensibly pocketed.
Since the twins were of a tender age, Luigi was willing to work with them. Too much spirit had they, and Luigi despaired of being able to bring them to heel. He looked into his bag of tricks and took out his tommywand and went ‘round to a neighboring land. When Farmer Grunkin woke it was to the sight of a streetsweeper pointed at his nose. Quickly he agreed to let the man have his milk cow.
Luigi returned before first light with the milk cow and danced around the fire, singing an arcane song. The widow was overjoyed to hear about the “stray” milk cow and even more so when the cow gave birth to two calves. Luigi got a good price for them after they were weaned and persuaded the widow that the gold might best be spent on Catholic boarding school for the lively boys. They came home only in summer and at Yuletide, much better behaved. Or, if you like, cowed.
With only one child left at home and a farmstead as well, the widow became quite a catch. Her neighbor died peacefully in his sleep, without assistance from Luigi, leaving behind his farm and a middle-aged son. The son had a brillant idea: to marry the widow and join their farms as one. The widow thought it quite reasonable. That is, until her husband returned.
She was sitting in the doorway mending garments when she heard a drunken voice singing: ‘Ah near to my fair one, it’s so good to be, to be!’ The lout was reeling up the road, his shoes muddy and his breeches torn. Stumbling up the walk, he crowed, throwing his arms wide, “Give us a kiss, then, luv!”
To say the widow was alarmed is to say  the least. He had lost several teeth, adding to the stench of his breath. Avoiding his grasping hands, she leaped up and ran in the house and clasped Ella to her bosom. Ignoring  her and the baby, he went about the kitchen until coming across the cooking sherry. He downed it and promptly passed out from drink on the floor.
Luigi promised the widow he’d take care of the problem. Patting her shoulder, he sent her upstairs and tricked the husband into coming out to the barn with him. After clouting him over the head with a shovel once! twice! he tossed him into the pigpen. Since Luigi had forgotten to feed them that morning, the pigs were grateful creatures and gobbled the husband.
Of course, he failed to show up the next morning. Luigi assured her the man would be no further trouble as he’d had a man-to-man talk with him. Joyfully, the widow married her farmer and the day of the wedding she took Luigi’s face between her hands and, in a tearful voice said, “How can I repay you for all your kindness?”
Luigi blushed and told her, “Fahgeddaboudit.” With that, he bent low over her hand, kissed it then disappeared in a puff of smoke.
And the widow, now again a wife, lived happily ever after.

THE END

Oh…dear…Lord

When I pop up to talk to my daughter at her job I always check the marked down bin of books. She’d already clocked out but I picked up a real gem called Dangerous Women. A heavy volume of short stories, it features well-known writers including Lev Grossman, Diana Gabaldon and George R.R. Martin. The second one in is Either My Heart Is Broken by Megan Abbott.

I think writing short stories is harder than writing books. It’s also easier because you’re finished in a relatively short time. What makes them difficult to pen is trying to condense all you want the reader to experience in less time.

Ms. Abbott pulled me into her tale told by a husband whose toddler has gone missing. At first his wife, Lorie, has the sympathy of neighbors, family, the police and public. After a few weeks the focus has changed to one of suspicion and intense scrutiny. I’m thinking, Uh huh. Classic case of former wild child grown weary of motherhood. She gets a tattoo, Mirame Quemar, on her hip and is photographed on cell phones dancing at bars.

Is the little girl dead? Is Lorie innocent? Will the husband get a clue? Make no assumptions here. The end took me by surprise and goosebumps popped up. I must read more by this author. It reminded me of the kind of writer I’d like to be, the kind of writing I doubt I’ll ever crank out. She’s concise, crafty in her build-up and put me right in the head of the characters.

You can get more info on the writer of crime noir at meganabbott.com

#dangerouswomen, #meganabbott, #crimenovels

Scribophile

Oenophiles are connisseurs of wine. Bibliophiles are collectors or great lovers of books. Cynophiles are people who love dogs.There’s a great website for writers of any genre and its name is Scribophile. It means those who love writing.

Scribophile is a free site that is available for upgrade. Post your profile then go hunting for something to read–or critique. There are groups to be joined, writers to look up and contests to participate in. For each activity you earn karma points and you get two when you sign up. It takes five points to submit your own work. Be sure and check out the writing blog to add to your authoring knowledge. If you want to ask a question go to the forum.

Critiques of posted writings earns karma points, so will commenting and liking others’ critiques. The longer the review, the more points earned. The points are necessary to post your work.  Before publishing on-site it’s advisable to read the FAQ and help sections.

It costs nothing to just look and as I said, you can join for free or upgrade to do still more in this little corner of the writing world. Google reviews on Scribophile are quite favorable. Is it for you? Go find out.

 

#Scribophile, #writersgroups, #publishing, #writingadvice

And One Day Later…

I get an email that says someone else wants to print my short story. That made my day because it’s not been one worthy of fireworks and champagne. Now, even if I could break it out I’m at work being a responsible caregiver for a man with dementia.

Have we spoken about this? Maybe I’ve mentioned Their Own Little World, my group on Facebook for those who love or care for, or both, someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. I watched my father, a robust man’s man, Christian and all-around fixer of just about anything, go down into the dark and he never returned. That’s why, whenever possible, I give to the Alzheimer’s Foundation so that one day no one will have to watch another disappear into that twilight world.

Sound dramatic? Huh! Try taking care of someone who’d forgotten how to bathe, dress, talk or, seemingly understand what you’re saying. It ain’t easy, folks. That’s why it’s important to get them on the medication that has been proven to slow down the disease as soon as possible. Get them tested early and take the DNA test yourself to see if you’re a likely candidate. It’ll probably happen to me. Not only is it in my heredity but, well, let’s just say my formative years were the 60s and 70s.

I hope my story is published. Will let you know if and when that happens. Good night, all.

At Least The Wine Is Good

Upon opening my email I saw the reply I’d been waiting for. These folks were good enough to tell me why they weren’t going to publish the short story I sent in. It’s always good to know the why. If you know that it can only help you become a better writer. That’s not to say I wasn’t disappointed. I am, of course.

You don’t get to be my age without running into more than a few people telling you no. Being an overall optimist, I bounced back in record time. And I’ll tell you why.

Rachelle Gardner. I subscribe to her newsletter and it was also in my inbox. Among other things, the advice was to not go out on the ledge. It’s not time to jump because the publishing industry is going through immense changes. Just like the postal service. With new ways to publish your work (and there are many), an author is just as likely to decide to do it on their own.

Everybody, and their dog, too, seems to have a book out. How have they done it? I don’t know. I suspect the “how” but when I know for sure I’ll let you in on it. Are they good writers? Maybe. In her article Ms. Gardner speaks of how even established authors are feeling the crunch. A big storm may be on the horizon and when it’s over I bet there will still be room for the new writer looking for avid readers.

So don’t give up. I’m not. What I’m going to do is finish the final draft of my homemade pomegranate-cranberry wine. If I had enough I could send you all a free sample and I’d have my very own home business take off, albeit an illicit one. My neighbor told me he’d distilled a batch of wine and the stuff is flammable.

Mmm. Sounds good to me.

#RachelleGardner, #uneasywriter.blog, #homemadewine, #publishingadvice, #writingadvice, #letsdrinkinsteadok?

P.S. Don’t forget your hashtags, dear friends. #followme, and I’ll #followyou

Once more, dear friends

I’ve just sent another submission, this time to Bewildering Stories. They don’t pay but at this point who cares? What is important is getting published. 

Don’t get me wrong. Facebook is nice. So is Instagram. Anyone with a pc or android phone can get their work seen in social media. If you’ve been submitting, and getting turned down, you already know just how different a book or magazine editor is. I’ve sent in short stories to Asimov, Gigantosaurus, Sunlight Press, and Orson Scott Card, among others. I think I might know what will make the difference this time.

An editor. Aha! you say, but doesn’t that cost money? Not necessarily. It can if you want to pay for one. There are nice people out there willing to help and Linda is one of them. I met this nice woman on Facebook. Join  some writer’s groups if you haven’t already. I can’t guarantee that she’ll want to help me any further but she did a terrific job editing my short story Wipires. She also gave me some fantastic advice about poetry. Thank you, Linda.

So, join groups. Get good advice and find a good editor. If they can spell and you get your manuscript emailed back to you full of corrections and mild recriminations you’ve found a good one. Don’t get upset about it. That’s what they’re for, to tighten up your story.  Just send back a humble ‘thank you’  and rewrite it. 

WONDERFUL QUOTES ABOUT DOGS

Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit you would stay out and your dog would go in—Mark Twain

One reason a dog is such comfort when  you’re downcast is that he doesn’t ask to know why—Anonymous

When some men go to the dogs it’s pretty rough on the dogs—Anonymous

No man can be condemned for owning a dog. As long as he has a dog he has a friend; and the poorer he gets, the better friend he has—Will Rogers

Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job—Franklin Jones

Say something idiotic and no one but your dog politely wags his tail—Virginia Graham

It is a terrible thing for an old lady to outlive her dogs—Tennessee Williams

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him—Henry David Thoreau

You own a dog; you feed a cat—Jim Fiebig

A lawyer is just like an attack dog, only without a conscience—Tom Clancy

On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog—P. Steiner