Tuesday, May 25, 2010

C'mon, Mr. Postman!

I'm excited beyond excited. I got to order several copies of Realms the other day, but to save a few bucks I had them shipped slowly. It will be another couple of weeks before I can get my fidgety paws on them. It's wonderful to have several stories published in online magazines. Wide distribution, saving trees, easy access, etc. But there's just something about holding a hardcopy and curling up in a cushy chair with it. One can't really snuggle with a laptop. I'm hardly the first to say so.

Point is, this will be the first time the hardcopy has one of my stories in it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Well, today provided the first time I've gotten to work with an editor on some changes to one of my stories. Fred Coppersmith of Kaleidotrope sent me an edited version of "Fire Eater" this afternoon. He is the second person who has shown me that I shouldn't use "must've." I like my contractions, though. People speak in contractions unless they're emphasizing the words for various reasons, so I write in contractions. But "must've" seems to be the one that bothers folks. I think it's lovely. Oh, well. Better obey the boss.

Because the story was accepted well over a year ago, I noticed, while peering through those red marks, the copious amount of ellipses I used to use. Ick. It's a habit I've dropped since then. Not sure when or how gradually that particular change in my writing took place. Though poor Mr. Coppersmith has had to wade through a useless amount of ellipses like a universe of little black stars on the page. How silly of me.

But if "must've" and ellipses and one spelling oversight were all that he had to complain about, I'm more than pleased. Of course, I've read reviews of earlier issues of the zine, and depending on the reviewer, it's gotten vastly different receptions. Please, God, a kind reviewer would be nice.

I'm waiting on pins and needles for the next issue of Realms to come out in print, and now only a couple more months for the special summer addition of Kaleidotrope. I just love that feeling of anticipation!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm Too Sleepy To Think of a Great Title

Well, I'm still here. No more weather talk for now, thank God. (Except that this rain is going to make my flower beds look fabulous)

Still working on the turning point of the novel. Haven't had much time to write in the last few days. Or at least, engagements in the evening are too great a distraction for me to make the time during the day to sit down and jot out a few paragraphs. Why is the month of May so stupidly busy? It's not just that it's spring and there are more expected activities. Seems there are more odd holidays and birthdays in May. All of which consume the weekends and keep me from going to the Renaissance Faire. I love that fair, and I've been unable to attend for two years now. This year, we even missed the Medieval Faire. No turkey legs for me. *sigh* And I have a gorgeous, expensive costume gathering dust in the closet. Playing "dress-up" is one of my favorite childhood memories. When I get to go to the fairs, I get to play dress-up again. It's like the childhood game, but for adults, and permissible in public! Wow.

Oh, well. Point is, I hope to have more days this coming week to write than I did last week. Good grief...

(...am I really writing this entry at 1:30 am?)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dangerous Weather

Things have been scary around here the past couple of days. Having lived in Tornado Alley nearly all of my life, I'm well aware that nasty weather is expected this time of year, but we've had a relatively quiet time of it the past couple of years. The weather people gave us the heads-up for Monday, so I was expecting a thunder-boomer or two. I wore my jacket in the morning; when I went outside about 1:00 that afternoon and felt that strange air -- hot, wet, close -- I said to myself, "Oh, no. This is going to be bad." You get to know the feeling in the air when you've had so many scares over the years. People say, "This is tornado weather." As it turns out, I was not mistaken.

For a while, I thought I was going to end up in Oz. Low, churning black clouds, rain and hail blowing from all directions, no thunder or lightning. The latter means bad things are going on up there. All that energy is being stored, and then sure enough, a few miles from my house, a tornado. Then another and another and another. I can't see them for all the trees and dust in the way, and there's no way I'm leaving my house to "chase" them as so many living in the Alley do. I'm home alone, running from window to window (the worst thing you can do, by the way), to see if I reeeeally need to duck into the closet under a pile of pillows. I toss in a flashlight, a bottle of tonic water (all I've got on short notice. Shoulda thrown in the vodka, too. What was I thinking?), my laptop and my novel manuscript. (I used to have such a fear of being blown away in the night that I used to sleep with my works-in-progress right beside the bed) After an hour or so, the storm blows past, we get a final downburst of wind that threatens to bend the trees sideways, and debris flies past the window (some kind of white tile or metal siding). After all the near-hyperventilation, the sight of the debris causes the blood to drain from my head. Yep, I nearly have a fainting fit. Then sun. Filtered through red earth wafted high into the sky, but it's sun, nonetheless. For me at least. The tornadoes went on to tear up miles of houses and killed at least 7 people. Last I heard, they were calling for volunteers to walk the woods and fields to look for missing bodies. When my husband got home, he said, "We dodged the bullet." Well, technically, there wasn't much dodging. The "sitting ducks" metaphor fits better.

A fabulous illustration of this saying was the footage of the first touch-down (which happened right outside an apt building where I used to live). In between window-peering, I was watching Mike the weather-guy and his radar maps crawl by with all those lovely colors. They cut to live footage shot from the helicopter in time to show us a white cloud spin up from the ground. This ground happens to be feet from a traffic light. There are cars stuck at the traffic light. We all get to see, in real time, a white van being picked up, spun around, and thrown into the cars sitting at the light. God knows what words came out of my mouth.

This was all a reminder of May 3, 1999. All those feelings and thoughts came rushing back. I will never forget that day. Even though it took place over a decade ago, it stands out in brilliant color. Everyone seems to give all the attention to that amazing stovepipe that ripped through the city (and rightly so, for it took the greatest toll in lives), but while we were standing outside watching that green cloud pass to our southeast, there was a second tornado to our northwest. We were standing in sunshine, surrounded by these things. It continued all night. We slept on the couch in our clothes, with the weather station on. And every time the warnings would beep at us, we'd wake up, terrified that we were about to be blown away. Tornadoes were fun until that day.

The threat is back again today. I'll have to be watching the radars. And praying.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Turning Point

I've reached the turning point in my novel. I hope I'm halfway through that ugly first draft. I loathe first drafts of anything! Then on top of that, turning points are a little stressful to write, at least for me. There's the need to keep a certain amount of tension while divulging new bits of information. I've decided that what I have at present is crap. It's just information and too little action. Things are moving forward, but too slowly. Gotta pick up the pace. Right now, the structure is at a high plateau, but I want the trail to keep winding up the bloody mountain. So, back to rewrites!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Deviant

Well, I've set up an account on DeviantART to show off some of my old photography. Everything I've uploaded there is from 2005 when I was serious about the hobby -- when I had time for hobbies. There are so many options available on that site that I'm sure to mess something up before I figure it all out, but that's just part of life: clicking on a button and seeing where it takes you.

The photos I've posted in my entries below are snapshots compared to the ones I've uploaded to my DA gallery. Check them out! HERE

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name ...

My husband says I should start a garden blog, but like I wrote in my previous entry, I don't love it for it's own sake. I love beauty. If I have to get dirty to make beauty, I suppose I'll get dirty. He's the one who loves gardening for gardening's sake, but he's not the one to write about it in an online journal, or any journal for that matter.

But if there's ever a time to blog about gardening, it's during the early part of the season when the plants are young and about to explode with color, and when the wild roses are in bloom.

When we bought the property where we live now, the creek bottom behind our house was a wild, overgrown mess. We cut through the tangle for months, deciding what was worth keeping and what had to go to the bonfire. In the process we came across a treasure: wild rose bushes tucked under the trees. They're in full bloom right now, and when the south wind is blowing, I can smell them an acre away. I wish I could photograph the scent for you, but these pics will have to suffice:

RosebushThe larger of our rose bushes, just at sunset. There's an elm tree for perspective. That's a very large tree. The rose bush stands well over my head.

Rose CascadeA cascade of roses. (A bit overexposed, sorry about that. Messing with the camera settings again.)

ClusterA cluster of roses. Can't you just smell them?