Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Anew in November

We can finally open the windows in our house now and let the crisp, cooler air blow through, moving out and away some of the mental health issues that plagued the last couple of months. A combination of things became a slow slide I struggled to stop. 


But, once again, I've regrouped. My birthday was last month, and I'm grateful for another year, another chance to breathe fresh air, to walk with my husband beneath palm trees and blue skies, to pet the tortoises, and to pen the possibilities – the light and the dark - living in my imagination.



I was thrilled to be one of three winners in a recent flash fiction contest held by lit agent, Janet Reid! I so needed that creative boost. Here's the link to the results post where you can read all three stories.


It's been a few years since I participated in NaNo, and I considered it this time around, but I don't have the oomph for it. I'm doing my own looser version in order to get this novel/novella done or as close to done as I can before the month is over. Please wish me luck!




Both THE TRAP by Catherine Ryan Howard and THE LAST ONE by Will Dean were so suspenseful and twisty, I almost got paper cuts I turned those pages so fast and furious. 


I thoroughly enjoyed the debut novel, THE VIOLIN CONSPIRACY by Brendan Slocumb. It's a tense mystery whose characters practically jump off the page. 




Are you enjoying the weather where you are? Read anything amazing lately? Any writing goals or goals in general for this month? If you're participating in NaNo, I wish you all the luck and all the words! 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Shallow Waters - Special Paperback Edition

I'm fortunate to have three stories published in several of Crystal Lake's Shallow Waters flash fiction anthologies. In honor of the Shallow Waters series coming to an end, Crystal Lake put together a special paperback edition containing about 100 stories from across the various volumes.


Two of my stories – Rattled (from Vol. 6) and The Perfect Match (from Vol. 7) – are included. 


An anthology like this, one you can thumb through, fold down corners, mark up, is an excellent way to find new-to-you authors, ones who will hopefully become favorites. It's also great if you prefer your creepy-crawly chills in small doses. When you've had your fill for that moment, just put the book back on the shelf, where it will sit . . . and wait . . . and watch . . .  



From the back cover – 

"What you hold in your hands are not just stories. They are the nightmarish visions and eerie dreams of the most talented finalists in Crystal Lake’s Shallow Waters writing contest, hosted on their Patreon page.

Brace yourself to be unsettled, unnerved, and unequivocally captivated. Shallow Waters is not a book—it’s a portal to the twisted, terrifying, and tantalizing world of flash fiction horror."

Monday, September 4, 2023

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream . . . Forever

Ah, fall in Florida! When the "excessive heat advisory" drops to the regular old "heat advisory", and I defiantly keep eating Key Lime Pie ice cream even as pumpkin flavored everything rolls in. 


Novella/Novel – I didn't achieve my goal of finishing the first draft by the end of the summer. I did make a ton of progress, though – scene cards sketched out, scenes written, an ending that makes me both happy and sad. Maybe another month to go . . .  


Mailing List – Um…. Nope. I'd like to say I'll do this in September but by the end of the year is more realistic. 


A great post over on Writers Helping Writers - "Do Your Characters Have Agency?" - got me thinking hard about my characters in general. 



Way back at the beginning of 2023, my goal had been to lose some pounds. That's not going very well (see Key Lime Pie Ice Cream above), but I am exercising more consistently, slowly amping up the duration and intensity. I hope to get outside soon – it's still too hot for me – to walk and ride bikes.  



None of This is True by Lisa Jewell is a mystery/suspense/thriller that takes you on a wild, wild ride, one definitely not for the faint of heart. 


And for the first time in a long time, I'm ahead in my 2023 Reading Challenge.



How was your summer? Did you make progress on any projects? Read anything that blew you away? Are you a fan of pumpkin flavored everything?

Monday, July 3, 2023

Shuffling Along

So far, The Summer of Making Strides looks more like The Summer of Shuffling Along. 


But I'll take it, because even though I'm moving slower than a tortoise, I'm moving in the right direction for me. And on the days when it feels like I'm actually going backwards, I tell myself it's necessary to get a running start in order to take that leap forward. 


I'm not sure if it will help my momentum any, but I'm taking a bit of a blogging and social media break. I'll still pop in and out, and I'll be back with a new post in September.


All of us here at TSR 

wish you a wonderful summer, 

whatever that looks like for you!!!

Monday, June 5, 2023

The Summer of Making Strides

For a lot of people, the summer is about relaxing and vacations. But since doing anything "normal" would be too easy – and easy stands no chance against my overthinking ogre of a brain – my husband and I mostly spend this sweat-storm of a season with our heads down, trying to get stuff done. 



Novel/novella – a draft WILL be done by summer's end. I will write through a hurricane if I have to (but, please, let's hope and pray I don't have to!)


Mailing List – a mailing list will – hopefully! - be set up by summer's end. I know, I know, I should've done this so long ago. Part of the delay was laziness, some just procrastination, but most of it was that overthinking ogre brain again. 


This post - "The Thing That Sticks Out" – by Austin Kleon reminded me how uniqueness in a story should often be cultivated, not squashed. 



Movie – "Knock at the Cabin" (2023, directed by M. Night Shyamalan) – I really enjoyed this. It was suspenseful, unnerving and unsettling, all things I love in a story. 



Two recent favorites for you:

LONE WOMEN by Victor LaValle (historical fiction/horror) 

CROW MARY by Kathleen Grissom (historical fiction) - I was lucky to get my greedy hands on an ARC of this one. 



The tortoises celebrated their 14thbirthday! Banana was enjoyed by all! 




What are your summer plans? Any suggestions or tips for setting up a mailing list? Read or watched anything you enjoyed? Celebrating anything?


Monday, May 1, 2023

Is That Progress I See?

Lately, progress is like some elusive legendary creature slinking around beneath the sea. I catch glimpses of it, only for it to then flick its tail at me before disappearing back into the deep. 



Published - My 400 word story, DEAD LINE, up at Dread Stone Press.


Novel/Novella - I had to rethink and redo so much of it these past couple of months. I really hope it will be worth it and a better story will result.


Two fun and inspirational posts for you:

"10 Things Lego Has Taught Me About Story-Building" by P.A. Cornell, over on the Writers Helping Writers blog 


"Are You Giving Yourself Writing Credit?" by Jessica Conoley, over at Jane Friedman's blog. 




Movies - We really liked "Jerry and Marge Go Large" (Bryan Cranston, Annette Bening, and Rainn Wilson.) Sometimes, the dark corners of my mind need some light shone into them. 


TV – "The Night Agent" on Netflix was great! My husband said it reminded him of "24" (the original series), which is one of his all-time favorite shows. So enjoying "Not Dead Yet" with Gina Rodriguez – funny, quirky, heartwarming and heartbreaking, all in 30 minutes! 




Have you seen progress – on anything! - lately? What keeps you going when the glimpses of it are few and far between? Have you watched anything you'd recommend?