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

This Is Tougher Than It Seems

Still striking out with the publishers. Had an offer from Writer’s Review to take my work in hand, proofread and edit then hopefully find a publication willing to print it. Voila! Author-ized at last. Only catch is it costs around $300 and there’s no guarantee they’ll get me in print.

If you create a pin on Pinterest you can pay a flat fee and each hit you get they deduct from your “account”. Well, dammit.

All of this sounds fine except I don’t seem to have the cash on hand. Everything financial has bitten me on the patootie. Oh, well, it costs nothing to continue submitting online directly to magazines. So, submit. Reject. Submit again.

 THE MAN IN THE GRASS CLOAK

 

 I’ve never had a dream like it before or since. Longer than normal, it had connected scenes with seamless transitions. Even after all these years I remember it as clearly as the morning I awoke. It was a prophetic dream, of course. Others don’t stay with you like this.

Drones peppered the afternoon sky, moving north. I was filled with dread but didn’t let it immobilize me. On the contrary, my sister and brother in law and I had been making plans. We had been watching the news, reading the signs of the times. A collapse of the economy, foreign invasion. All the worst parts of the bible. Something. Everything.

Scene two.

I only had a few miles to drive. Just two days before I’d been there but today the whole thing had changed drastically.

They didn’t keep birds but now several cages of wood and chicken wire had been erected. Inside them were exotic birds, some with wild, varied plumage. In each cage was a bag of fruit.

Weirdest of all was the profusion of people lying in the yard. Some lay on the grass, others on blankets. I didn’t inspect this strange development immediately but went in the house. What I expected to find was my brother in law boiling water and my sister ripping sheets for bandages. Instead, I found no one. Nothing seemed to be missing or out of place.

Muttering,“No,no,no”, I ran to the storage building. The door was ajar and all the supplies we’d stockpiled were gone. To say I was dismayed is a vast understatement. I was shocked, horrified and felt a lonely displacement. “They left me,” I whispered and fell on my face in the grass to cry.

No time for that. Could not take even a minute more to feel sorry for myself. There were people here who couldn’t even stand up while I was the picture of good health.

Walking among them, I studied but didn’t touch. Most appeared to be sleeping with no visible mark on their exposed skin. There was no smell of putrefaction. A few opened their eyes when I blocked the sun out but they didn’t speak. One man kept his eyes open longer than the rest. I asked him, “What has happened to all of you?” He only closed his eyes again, remaining silent.

I went to the porch swing and sat down, wondering what to do next. Where to go. An audible pop sounded and a feeling like standing before the bass speakers at a rock concert hit my chest. From my upper peripheral vision I saw two figures descending from the sky. Unaided by bubble or machine, they dropped effortlessly to the ground.

If you watched much of the ‘70s Saturday morning show Land of the Lost you no doubt saw the Zarn. That’s what these beings looked like. A full body suit covered their humanoid bodies, spangled with flashing colored lights. No eyes, nose or mouth were visible.

Mind to mind they communicated to me. “You cannot remain here. Go anywhere but home.”

Okay. Gotcha. I stopped at a bird cage and opened it. A large cockatoo eyed me but didn’t peck. I peeled him an orange and told him, “Sorry. I’m going to need this.” Taking the bag of fruit, I fled.

Scene three.

I’m in the car driving. In dreams you go places without knowing where you’re traveling but you get to the right place anyway. My destination turned out to be a flea market. I went inside.

All manner of goods were for sale. There was camo clothing and farming implements. One whole row was made of bins of tools. Gas masks and survival knives, tents and fire starters. I traded my car for a backpack, hunting knife, bottles of water and dried food, a carton of cigarettes and two Bic lighters.

A rough-cut man checked me out and pointed to the back door. “Leave that way.”

Scene four.

The sky outside the flea market was brighter than when I’d gone in. Behind the structure was a huge pasture but no cows or horses. A profusion of wooden walkways cut a maze across the grass, leading to stiles and covered bridges. Covered bridges? But there was no water. Odd.

I climbed through the barbed wire and watched other folks moving down their chosen walkway. It didn’t escape my notice that I was alone on mine. I crossed over a stile and abruptly my walkway ended.

Walking east, I drank only when thirst demanded,and sparingly at that. For hours I walked and as the sky darkened I heard what sounded like pounding horse hooves.

It was a horse. On its back was a bearded man dressed in a combination of animal fur and cloth. Incredible. On his back was a cloak of living grass. I could see roots hanging down. His beard was wild as was his hair. The look on his face was somehow friendly but impassive at the same time. Now I could hear the beat of helicopter rotors in the distance.

He was riding bareback. Leaping from the horse, he swung the cloak over his back and disappeared beneath it. The horse moved several feet away and munched on dandelion greens. I gawked at the man’s peering face and he made a gesture to convey I should do as he’d done. I got out my knife and hacked out a pocket and slid into its tightness. The man nodded and grinned.

Overhead the copter droned like a big, fat bee. It moved slowly and I put my head down and prayed. Not knowing if it was an enemy, my own people or my own people become my enemy, I shook with dread. Not until we could no longer hear it did we emerge.

I finished cutting out my own cloak. It had a few small nodding flowers and a grasshopper on it. The man swung onto the back of his horse and gave me a salute. I hurried after him and he slowed to allow me to follow.

There was no thought in me of where he might lead. I didn’t care. I knew who I was going with. As the sky grew dark I followed him into the harsh, new land that had been America.

What Do You Think This Means?

Dan Fogelberg’s song The Innocent Age is one of my all-time favorites. That’s also the name of the album. On the cover is a doll propped against a gravestone, symbolizing this bittersweet journey from childhood to old age.

In my opinion, it’s musical poetry at its very best. The line that continues to haunt me since I heard it is “Yearnings unanswered reckon the wage we pay to recapture the innocent age.”

How do you interpret this? How costly is it to exhume the child we once were?

If I’ve done this right you can leave your comment below in the Leave A Reply box. Seriously, I want your interpretation of this line.

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  2. Hey, K, how do I bookmark the pages on Order and Entropy? Lol. I’ve been going back to the start…

  3. And I do know where Puget Sound is. We never got to the far west coast, just to the desert.

  4. “…to the writing of books there is no end.” The Preacher was a wise man and very far seeing, wasn’t…

  1. “The writer was confused” isn’t passive voice. Confused is a bit of an odd word in that it can be…

  2. Hey, K, how do I bookmark the pages on Order and Entropy? Lol. I’ve been going back to the start…

  3. And I do know where Puget Sound is. We never got to the far west coast, just to the desert.

  4. “…to the writing of books there is no end.” The Preacher was a wise man and very far seeing, wasn’t…

  1. “The writer was confused” isn’t passive voice. Confused is a bit of an odd word in that it can be…

  2. Hey, K, how do I bookmark the pages on Order and Entropy? Lol. I’ve been going back to the start…

  3. And I do know where Puget Sound is. We never got to the far west coast, just to the desert.

  4. “…to the writing of books there is no end.” The Preacher was a wise man and very far seeing, wasn’t…

  1. “The writer was confused” isn’t passive voice. Confused is a bit of an odd word in that it can be…

  2. Hey, K, how do I bookmark the pages on Order and Entropy? Lol. I’ve been going back to the start…

  3. And I do know where Puget Sound is. We never got to the far west coast, just to the desert.

  4. “…to the writing of books there is no end.” The Preacher was a wise man and very far seeing, wasn’t…

  1. “The writer was confused” isn’t passive voice. Confused is a bit of an odd word in that it can be…

  2. Hey, K, how do I bookmark the pages on Order and Entropy? Lol. I’ve been going back to the start…

  3. And I do know where Puget Sound is. We never got to the far west coast, just to the desert.

  4. “…to the writing of books there is no end.” The Preacher was a wise man and very far seeing, wasn’t…

  1. “The writer was confused” isn’t passive voice. Confused is a bit of an odd word in that it can be…

  2. Hey, K, how do I bookmark the pages on Order and Entropy? Lol. I’ve been going back to the start…

  3. And I do know where Puget Sound is. We never got to the far west coast, just to the desert.

  4. “…to the writing of books there is no end.” The Preacher was a wise man and very far seeing, wasn’t…

  1. “The writer was confused” isn’t passive voice. Confused is a bit of an odd word in that it can be…

  2. Hey, K, how do I bookmark the pages on Order and Entropy? Lol. I’ve been going back to the start…

  3. And I do know where Puget Sound is. We never got to the far west coast, just to the desert.

  4. “…to the writing of books there is no end.” The Preacher was a wise man and very far seeing, wasn’t…