Wednesday, December 30, 2009


My life has gotten blissfully busy. OK, maybe blissful is not really the right word, but I liked the alliteration. The holidays, old friends, new friends, and the welcome chaos of hearts beating has turned my life into a swirl of things to do and places to be, Christmas light to hang (and now soon to remove) drinks to meet for, friends to sit with, and family to visit.

So what have I to show for all this? Well that depends on where you place your value. I could beat myself up for not getting too much writing done in this past month, but on the other hand, I've been out in the world, soaking up material and experiences, strengthening friendships, and deepening my understanding of love, life, and family.

As the new year creeps up, I feel the need to make resolutions. At first I thought I should unbusy my life a bit. Maybe meet less often for a drink, or sit less long in a conversation, or go to bed earlier instead of seeing the kids to dreamland and staying up late with my husband.

But instead, I think I'll make my coffee a little stronger in the morning and maybe I'll miss an episode or more of my favorite tv show. Maybe I won't get all the laundry done in a timely manner and I'm sure my house will not be clean.

But I'll have stories to tell and some of them might even make it to the page.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You Need This Book!

I'm pre-ordering mine tomorrow. You've read me mention one of my good friends and awesome writer, Shellie Zacharia. Her short story collection is coming out and you need this book. Really. You do. You'll write and thank me later. You'll will. See the site below to pre-order. Shellie's stories are funny and hip and her characters say all the things you wish you would and then just when you think it's safe to keep laughing, POW, right to the kisser. Get it, you'll love it.

Here are a couple of other sites to check out. Some contests and other things that have been e-mailed to me.

These two are out of Sarah Lawrence--call for submissions and a contest

This is a cool online journal for poetry and prose

Check this chapbook press that takes fiction as well as poetry.

Happy writing, kids.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hamburger Day in Heaven

My 94 year old grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago. 94 year old grandmothers will do that from time to time. I work in health care with the elderly, so seeing someone pass is nothing new to me. None the less, it felt like an honor to be there with her when she left this old place behind.

It's strange to watch someone go. Not that it's a sad thing altogether. Most of the time it's better that they pass into something more beautiful and permanent. Still, at work, we watch them go (six in a week this month) and we're taken off guard every time.

"Did you hear Mrs. So and So died?"
"Why! It's hamburger day tomorrow."

But I don't eat meat and most of their food is pureed so hamburger day isn't really all it's cracked up to be. Still we wonder if we could have convinced them to stick it out one more afternoon. After all, they play Wii games on Wednesday.

But what I remember most about my grandmother was that she was the first everyday ordinary person that I knew who made up stories. As a child, I thought book just were. It didn't occur to me that anyone with a bit of talent and a ton of determination could write one. I don't think she every published anything, but I still remember the bedtime stories she told us. All of them made up from somewhere inside her head and her heart...that elusive thing called imagination.

Turns out, I have one too.

Thanks, Grandma. And I'm sure they have hamburger day in heaven.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I overthink, therefore I might be

So I'm thinking..first mistake..what do I want to be when I grow up. Then I realize, I am grown up.


I've got a degree in english, writing and so forth, milling around about a book, yadda yadda yadda. I'm working as a nurse's aid in a place that will pay for me to go through nursing school, but I don't know that I want to push pills on old people for a living and I don't have the stomach for hospital work. I live near Warren Wilson where there is a great low residency MFA program, but if I can't get a scholarship I doubt I could come up with the money to go.

I don't know what to do.

I know what I want to do. I want to write. But what I have to do is pay the bills. Somewhere there must be a balance. I also have to do the laundry and raise two kids and pay attention to my husband and pick the tomatoes out of the garden before they plop to the ground, ready and wasted.

I've written three novels. The first one is a lot like my first love, naive and romantic and not very well put together. The second has legs but I'm not sure it knows where it ran to. The third, now this one, I'm happy with. It means something. (sidebar--that's actually a line from the first chapter of said first novel...but now, it too means something.)

So, what will I do.... I'll let you know.

meanwhile: check out this site if you're looking for an agent.

Stay tuned, and try not to over think.

Friday, July 10, 2009

all writers need a hideaway

I've just come back from a week at Wildacres Writers Workshop. check it out at
For those who already take the time to go to workshops or retreats, keep doing it. For those that haven't yet, google retreats and residency programs and workshops and the like. There are plenty that are affordable and it's a great time to get away from the world and write (among other things--those that go to Wildacres know what I mean)

Seriously though...take some time to focus and reconnect with what you're writing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Average American White Girl

So I wrote a novel. Trouble is, it isn't set in Sri Lanka or Pakistan. It isn't the least bit political. The main character isn't a drug addict or a cross-dresser. Worse, I myself am not a drug addict or a cross dresser. I wasn't adopted into a family of gypsies. I'm not from New York.

I'm just an everyday American white chick. My family is the normal everyday amount of dysfunctional. Not at all daytime TV talk show worthy and certainly not a Dateline contender. What can I possibly have to say? What would the writers magazines be interested in? What would my shocking headline be?

Here's what I know: What life feels like. (I bet you know it too.)
Here's what I write: What life feels like. (Isn't that what most of us really want to read.)

I hope so.

So, I'll not be discouraged by the writing mags. Let them feature what they want. I'll be writing what the rest of us know. And hopefully, one day I'll shock the world with


Sunday, June 14, 2009


OK, folks. Just a quick list of some contests that look interesting. I go to a workshop in the mountains every year in July, and the approach of that week in paradise always gets me extra motivated to send more stories out, enter more contests, and brush off old ideas that have been beggng for their turn at the page.

Here's a few contests that I got from Poets and Writers--which by the way--if you don't subscibe to some or other writing mag, I suggest you do. I like P&W. It has great contest info, articles and a series at the present from agents and editors that will make you want to seek professional help for wanting to be a writer in the first place. But, despite's a great mag. It's good motivation and good info.

Here's a few that looked interesting to me:
June 30th:
Atumn House Press: $1000 and $1500 travel for either book of poetry or fiction,

June 3oth
Hidden River Arts
$1000 and pub of short story.

July 15th
Santa Fe Writers Project: $1750 for work of fiction. Prizes for second and third also.

Check those out, there is still time to enter.

Until then....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

At love has come along

my lonely days are over, and life is like a song... ok, maybe a bit too mushy, but the point is...I have a "new" computer, I finally hooked it up to the internet and here I am. Again. Till this one breaks at the hands of my computer unfriendly fingertips. I once touched one key on a sample computer at Staples and the whole thing shut off. no joke.

Anyway... It's time again for me to fit writing, blogging, and e-mail back into my full time job and housework schedule. I'll have to fish around for my superhero costume but I think I can do it.

I've got a bit of catching up to do so this one isn't filled with tips and such..just a link to a reading I'm attending tomorrow and a little slice of heaven I'll be in next month.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Ok, I'm having to retrain my fingers to hit the right keys and click the right icons, but I'm remembering MAC. He's coming back to me. He's holding out a bit, asking for passwords I don't have as the secondhand user of his keyboard. But, I'll get that password my pretty... or else I won't and I'll just not be able to print. Such is life.

Ok, here's some writing info for today:

This is a great site to tool around. Info enough to keep you busy. Wait, you're not a woman. Ok, dudes, here's something for you:

This has nothing to do with writing, but was suggested to me by a writer. It's weird and funny and all kinds of wrong.


Monday, May 11, 2009

My office is locked & how to steal from your friends

RIP e-Machine, circa 2006

Alas, I am not the Fonze. I cannot knock it here or tap it that and I have not enough 'tude to toss any longer to make it come on. My computer is dead. I am left with only a laptop with no software and no way to load any because the disk drive doesn't work and no way to download any because it will not allow connections to any sites other than Yahoo and wack-a-doo central.

So, I am waiting till this weekend when a gracious family member has offered me an old Mac in my state of need. I started out as a Mac, but then became a PC, but I'll use an XYZ, a ING, a TLC, I don't care, so long as I can write.

I will not be thwarted! now--on to the writing tip of the day!

Ok, my tip today. Steal from your friends. Their ideas? No!! Their research. One of the most important things about getting your work published is finding the right place to submit it. You have to take the time to look at old issues, or go online and look at excerpts and read about the magazine...all that jazz to determine if what you have to "sell" is what they "buy."

But where to start? There are hundreds, yet thousands of places to submit. One thing I like to do is look at the credits of writers I admire. Where did they publish? Is that somewhere that I would like to see myself in print? I use their credits as a "short list" if you will. A way to whittle down the haystack.

Here's a writer I love as a person and who is a force to be reckoned with as a writer. She and I have been in the same journals in the past. I know her taste is good. So I took her credits and researched those mags. I found a few that I thought were a good fit for me and submitted. I got some rejections. But I also got a bite! Spring 2009 issue picked up one of me stories.

So, go forth and steal. Don't know anyone. Steal from me. Feel free to look at my website, steal from my "short list" of lit mags and see if any of them are a fit for your work. Then submit! You might get a bite.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Adventures in Computer Disaster & the advice that changed my query letters

I'm sure to misquote this, but once again Helen Keller is spot on as far is my life is concerned--"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

Ok, maybe computer failure does not constitute anything daring on my part, but it certainly was tempting to toss the lastest busted up piece of technology out the window it sits beside. I already have a laptop that is good only for unwanted pop-ups on an internet connection that connects to nothing but Yahoo and several wack-a-do websites that my husband frequents.

Now, a "something electrical is burning" comment turns out to refer to the other computer that was already "tricky" at best. I didn't panic when I tried to turn it on and nothing happended. I've been there before. Instead I looked for "some button" on the back that I might press and press again. "Voila."

So now I feel a bit like The Fonze. If I knock it here, tap it there, and toss a bit of 'tude, I can make it come on. I will not be thawted in my attempts to force my writing on the general public--or the small portion of it I happen to have within my grasp.

So, step into my office....I have some advice that changed the way I write a query

Check this out: (didn't have it linked last time) (ditto) This is a new zine coming out in the Asheville area, although you don't have to be from there to submit. I have no idea if it will be the best thing to hit the streets around here or something that we never see again after the first issue, but just as I was wondering "does Asheville have a lit mag" given all the other artisitic endeavors around here, I saw an ad for submissions. It comes out in June.

GREAT ADVICE ALERT! I just saw Kevin Watson speak at Malaprop's last month and really took alot away from his talk. His best advice to this modest gal: "Your query letter is not the place to be modest." Lay it out, tell me who you know, where you have connections, what you've done and what you want to do. If I take you on, we're going to have this conversation

So I did, I sent a letter to him and name dropped, plugged myself and my website, , talked about my writing goals and ambitions and got a chance to send him some stories.

He said also, that even at the big houses, the days of publisher funded and arranged book tours are all but over. Houses of any size want you to promote yourself and them. They want you to work for it. So start working. Get a website. Easy: google, create a website and take your pick. Start a blog.

And don't be thawted!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Places to submit

Ok, this blog has been pretty random of late--much like life really. But I'm soon to recieve a gift computer later this month and will be back from outer space.

I will be posting new contests and places to submit fiction and poetry and the like. I will also post info about local readings and events of interest, so if you're in the Asheville area or want to be for the day, check here to see what's going on. You'll find conference info and the like. I'll talk about books I love and hate and why. You never know what you'll see here.

Just a tidbit for today (computer will not be up and running on a daily basis until mid May.)

This is a pretty well known site--but if you don't already know it:

This is a great list of lit mags and so forth--new and old. There are direct links to websites and more.

Always the best place to see local and even national authors is Malaprops here in Asheville. Check them out at

Ok, so stay posted and if you're raeding this, please pass it along to someone. You never know who out there is writing or wanting to and what piece of info or inspiration is just what they needed to take the next step in their writing career.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thought I Vanished

My computer has been on the blink for a while and I've been lost in space. I just tried to sign onto blogspot to finally start writing again and could not remember my username and password.

So I decided to start over and begin again...something I tend to have a habit of doing. So I tried to create myself and found that I was already there, thus jogging my feeble mind to my own username and password and I am.

Of course, what this really tells me is that I have to work on my recreation skills, as I was trying to recreate myself with myself. Cloning...I suppose...not really that creative when you think about it.

Anyway...a new computer is coming my way! So I"ll be back online.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hater of the English Language?

I used to think that the English language was a beautiful and glorious thing. Until, that is, I began teaching my 1st grader to read. Now I see what a bleeping bleep bleep of jumbled up hoo ha it actually is. Likewise, I thought math was the most ridiculous mess of nonsense on the planet. I see now, that my hated math actually makes rules and follows them and that my beloved english is a twisted practical joke at best and sincere form of torture at worst.

But I see this exercise in teaching as a challenge. I will not let the rebellion of english against itself stop my daughter from learning not only to read, but to love words. I most graciously thank every teacher of reading and english I ever had. I'm not sure how you did it, but you taught be a nonsensical subject and made me fall in love with it.

So, hater of the english language? No, still helplessly in love. I guess the old saying is true. You really can't help "who" you fall in love with. No matter how tortuously insane they may be.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Surgery for my Birthday

My dad just had surgery. On my birthday. I'm an adult now. I'm 37. I just faced the first illness of one of my parents. That's not really true. When I was much younger my mom had back surgery. I was too young to be worried. But this, with my dad, was cancer. In the realm of cancer, not a terrible one. But then again, is there a good one.

I'm glad the surgery was on my birthday. I felt a bit liberated in a wacked out sense, thinking of someone else. Not really caring about presents and cake and all the trappings of the normal celebration of our expulsion from the birth canal.

This time I thought about the people who should be celebrated on my birthday. The two folks without whom I would not be.

My Dad is fine, the docs say the surgery went well and hopefully that will hold true at check up.

Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

How Not to Get Published

For anyone who has a good artistic endeavor that they want needlessly to postpone completing, here are some steps to take make sure that your project never sees the light of day.

1. Blog about how your project will never see the light of day.
2. Do the dishes.
3. Walk the dog.
4. Contemplate starting an excerise routine.
5. Brew a pot of coffee instead.
6. Check on your friends on Facebook to see if they are being productive.
7. Make a list of things you're doing to waste time.
8. Proofread the list.
9. Realize your not a good enough speller to notice if you have misspelled anything.
10. Also wonder why a person who writes never learned the proper way to type.

Now, you've wasted some time. job well done.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Today's cool factor

I was challenged by a beautiful friend of mine, Heather, to do something cool today and write about it. I'm off work today and without a car, so my travel options are open on the one hand and limited on the other. But earlier, my husband and I went to a new church--strike that--a really old church that we had never been to before.

The Saint Lawrence Basilica in downtown Asheville. We've been attending a Catholic Church much closer to our house but the beauty of the downtown building and a desire for something--as my husband says "more Catholic" drew us to this church.

It's amazing inside, high dome ceiling, amazing brick work, stain glass, old wood pews and kneelers that creak with the weight of many years of worship and praise. Incense and sunlight in just the right combination to make you feel as though you're looking through the keyhole of heaven. I couldn't help but feel the real presence of Jesus and to be inspired and awed.

Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs may be, take some time to remember and appreciate what draws you to them what they draw out of you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The truth hurts

Let me tell you about a tarot card reading that lurks just to the back and right of my head. Up on this magic mountain in NC a wonderful writer and gifted reader of the cards read for me based on my question of "what's up with my writing career?"

I got a great reading. Cards falling down from the gods. "This is every great writing card that you can get." On and on went the praise--awards, attention, blah blah blah.... and then the kicker...

"I'm just not sure you'll do it."

Ouch. Bascially--I've got all the right stuff as is were, but am likely to be to lazy in my efforts to actually acheive anything!!

The truth hurts. This was several years ago. I see it all happening just that way...several credits, some dabbling here and there...but have I really given myself over to this whole process.

No! Again, with the no, the Happy New Year this year will be the year and then oops, here we are starting another year and what did I do.....

Well, here goes again! If you find yourself the victim of your own lack of passion--let's give it another try together. What say?