Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Hi Folks! I will be in a week - actually, what is funny is I am already home at my cove and haven't even left North Carolina yet to go to Oregon, but, since I put "to schedule" a bunch of reposts from the YOG blog, it was sort of like I was here and wasn't . . . um, anyway . . . by time this post is up, I'll have been in Oregon since December 16, and will be home on January 5! So, I wonder how my trip is was . . . ha!

The road is narrow and curving, some snow still visible in the higher elevations. Roger is driving, and from the passenger side, I can see where the road drops away with nothing between our car and what looks to be a thousand foot drop. We slow to make a particularly sharp curve, easy…easy. A truck approaches. We pull over a bit and come to a stop to let them by. We eye each other as they pass, smiles on our faces, waving that one-hand “hi there” kind of wave strangers give each other. Then, we are off again, winding, curving.

I have the realization that I am not grasping the seat or gritting my teeth. I have become used to driving in these mountains, used to the little-used roads and the steep drop-offs that have nothing between me and a tumbling ride toward the bottom of a mountain, unless the trees stop me, that is. When I first moved here, I was tense, nervous on mountain roads that weren’t even close to the perceived danger we are driving on. Homeostasis. Our bodies know how to adjust so we can relate to our environment in a way that is not constantly in a state of fear or dread or anxiety. This is the same area I visited three and a half years ago—only I have changed.

I wonder. How much have I adjusted to in my life? What kinds of things were once scary or anxiety-producing, or made me angry, that I no longer pay any attention to? Are there important things I am missing just by a complacent attitude? Or is this just life—live it the best way you can; live it well, live it with gratitude. Just as I think this, we hit a small patch of ice and our Subaru fishtails slightly—unconsciously I tense, wait for the bad to come, and then when it does not, I forget and we drive on. Only my reactions to my environment have adjusted. Up ahead, we see a car inching along, and when they pull over to let us pass, the occupants’ faces are frozen in fear. I smile. I wave. I relate to them—give it time, you’ll adjust, or you will go back home and kiss the ground you came from.

(repost from yog)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brief Check In

Hi Y'all! I'm on my daughter in law's computer - just checking in quickly. Still in Portland and will be here thru the 5th. I missed it but GMR stayed home on the mountain and was snowed in for a few days - the most snow we've ever had since we lived there at 10-12 inches and then no electricity for a couple of days! Wow!

Norah Kathryn is wonderful - have pictures I'll be downloading when I arrive home - don't want to think about leaving right now, though.

I have a poem at The Nervous Breakdown :-)
http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/kmagendie/2009/12/one-day/ -

Oops...Norah Kathryn is up - Granny Kat to the rescue

Hope all of you who celebrate it had a wonderful Christmas -- see you soon.

Friday, December 25, 2009



tell me what you are doing; where you are; what's happening; what did you get? what did you give?

By time this posts I will be in Oregon with my son and granddaughter and daughter in law! Merry Christmas -- !

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Here I Am to Save the Day!

Long ago, I was the grocery-maker, but now, I feel rather useless, since Roger does most of the cooking and therefore shopping. I pick up an errant item here and there, and tote it around the store until I catch up to Roger, wherein I’ll flop it in the basket with a, “I need that boodledeedoos for blahditydah,” and he’ll nod distractedly and keep on going—I’ve never seen anyone plow through a grocery store like he does. I sighed my way down the animalfood aisle when a woman said, “So many cat foods to choose from.” I hesitated: Do I say, “Well, if I had a cat, I’d buy this one here because the cat looks all happy” (although all the cats on all the brands look happy). Do I ignore her because she’s just doing that thing people do? Is she thinking, “Oh, there’s a woman aimlessly walking and sighing, so I guess I have to say something aloud or else there will be a vacuum of nothingness and besides I like the sound of my voice.” I walked on, la tee dah.

In the soup aisle, I picked up two cans of tomato and a can of Vegetarian Vegetable. A very old woman latched onto me with a desperate look and said, “”Where is the rice?” I said, “Oh, um…” I had no idea! I suddenly felt responsible for the old woman. I said, “Let’s try the next aisle,” and we shuffled there, and thank gawd a mighty, there was some rice, but it was weird rice, not rice-rice. She looked at me with disappointed eyes, and I, frantic to please her, walked a bit farther down the aisle, and there! Glorious bags of rice! I shouted out to the old woman who was still staring at the weird rice, “Here they are! The Riceseses!” She inched over, and I hurried to go, hoping to throw my soup into the basket before Roger checked out; but a hand reached out and snatched me back. The old woman said in her wavering voice, “I want the rice that has chicken and it’s in a box.” Oh No! I scanned the rows upon rows of Stuff, and finally, There! I said, rather sreechingly and desperately and stupid grinningly, “There! Rice in a box! Rice in a box!” and when she nodded, I hurried off, barely making it to the checkout in time with my soups.

I walked on my toes, my step lighter; I was smiling instead of sighing; and if I had just a few more minutes, I’d go find that woman in the catfood aisle and say, “That right there is the cat food your cat will love!” and her gratitude would flow across grocery land, onto another customer, who would flow it forward and beyond. By the way, the old woman never thanked me, but I knew she was grateful. I knew as surely as I will stalk the grocery aisles again, waiting for a chance to Save the Day.

(repost from YOG)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pass the Biscuits....

Sunday’s are about ritual: Get up; yawn, drink coffee; organize the one paper we have delivered to our cove, the Sunday Asheville Citizen Times, into read piles—mine and his; mountain walk; turn TV to Sunday Morning; and turn on stove. What a life, what joy, what comfort. Used to be the ritual was church-going. Grouse. Mutter. Mom forced us five kids to crawl out of bed, wash our face and brush our teeth even!, get dressed, and all to attend boring church and worse was when we had to get up earlier to attend boring Sunday School before boring Church. I still think church is boring, sorry Church Folk, sorry Mom, sorry ministers and priests and whatnotall, but, one of my Sunday rituals is I’m no longer afraid I’ll go to some fiery hell if I don’t get my butt to church. I digress. I’m talking about biscuits here. Yep. Hot flakey put some honey butter on mine please biscuits!

Well, today is Tuesday, I could have them, and could have had them yesterday, and could have them tomorrow. But it wouldn’t feel the same, for I need that ritual on Sunday, to set it apart—larkens back to the old homestead days when dear ole Mom would cajole, “GET YOUR LAZY BUTTS UP OUT OF BED RIGHT NOW YOU DIRTY LITTLE HEATHENS! NOW NOW NOW BEFORE I WHUP YOUR HIND ENDS BUT GOOD! EVERY SUNDAY THE SAME THING. I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE!” Ah. I can hear it now. The pitter patter of our dragging feet as we carried our own personal crosses to Jesus so he wouldn’t feel alone with his.

Anyhoo, don’t give me those canned biscuits, eyew, a real blaspheme! I will accept Pillsbury Frozen Biscuits, because they are as close to homemade as I have eaten. My granny made cat’s head biscuits. She’d put the dough in a pan and then cut them into squares—gawdang those have never ever been replicated, ever, by anyone. We’d dip them in chocolate syrup—a sugary concoction of water, chocolate sauce, and Granny’s secret that was a pinch of salt or a bit of love or some vanilla or a drop of sweat, or whatnot; who cared, it was sopped up and quick. Sunday morning is biscuit morning. Period. Amen. HERE are some recipes, Bless Your Heart if you don’t have your own, and the Pillsbury website. Here’s to Sunday Mornings—only five more days away!


(Repost from yog)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meloncholy, that old pal

It's a hollow place we go sometimes, don’t you think? There is an indention in the soil, and we curl into the indention where it is safe and comfy—even though we are lying about how comfy it is, since there are pebbles pressing into our skin, there is a chill in the night, and there is dirt under our nails that aggravates. We ignore the lamenting low call of the wise wolf, calling us back calling us back calling us back, don't we? Because we’re snuggled in our hollowed out space, curled just as we did before birth. The place in the soil upon the earth, in the hollowed out hidden forest, where we pretend how comfortable we are, and alone, don't forget how nice it is to be alone. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Who doesn't like a bit of melancholy from time to time?

Melancholy is an old friend, a good ole chum (unlike depression, that mean spindly spirit of woe). Melancholy won’t fuss at is, and even allows us to eat too much bad food, or drink too much bad liquor, and shut out everyone who is important to us, even our own voices. Our melancholy has a bit of imp to it, an angsty charm, a cute way of winking at us, a way of drawing us into the indention. Funny how one can be flying through the sky, feeling the wind, and some twist of synapses, some bitter pill, some disappointment, and next we find we are falling. Melancholy catches us, then wraps around you its familiar soft blanket.

But wait. Just as we think we will stay huddled forever, melancholy takes its blanket from our shoulders, pulls us up by the hand, gives us that wink, and says, "I've got to go now. Ta ta!" And there we are, rising up from our hollowed space. Up up up and up. There we go, the sun on our face, blinking in the light, brushing the dirt from our clothes, trying out a grin, flexing our fingers, pointing our toes, saying "Hey, I'm hungry for life now, give me a big ole plate of it! With a side of hope and a glass of thank you very much." A stretch upward, the glimpse of blue sky. A bird twitters and we laugh at it. And just like that, the earth turns turns turns and we dance around on the head of a pin.

(repost from YOG)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fireworks, as seen from high above

By time this posts, I'll be on my way to Oregon, flying there - erk, hate flying. My Secret Graces manuscript should be in the inbox of my publishers. As I write this, I am just days away from that-since, as I've told you all, I'm scheduling posts to go up automatically so I an finish my deadline. I'm using posts from the Year of Gratitude blog(or Grog). So, I picked one where I'd flown to Oregon and back home one summer:

Flying from Portland, Oregon, where I’d visited my son, back home to North Carolina, what luck! I had the two seats all to myself, a relished luxury I appreciated. Exhausted from my trip, I dozed, and when I again opened my eyes, colors ripped through a charcoal-threaded darkening sky. As it became full dark, I watched the towns below light up. Those lights signaled life and people, some crowded and full and others tiny dots of tiny towns. Behind me, two women spoke a foreign language, a lyrical beautiful sound. I lay my head against the cool glass and listened to a conversation I could not understand. But then, what is this? With a flashing burst of color, the woman and I were linked. Together we whispered in awe, "Fireworks…"

Below us the colors burst in a raining arc. A town celebrating! I imagined a parade; hotdogs, hamburgers, big salty pretzels, cold cokes that leave their burning feeling in the back of the throat; the high school band playing badly but no one cares, for the little town has sons and daughters marching; and the fathers with small children on their shoulders, bouncing them up and down, pointing to floats and clowns and bright-colored confetti; and then as the evening darkens, the first burst of colored light blazes in the sky with a Boom!, and the sighs and oohs and aahs of the people follow. The bursts become faster and bigger and louder, and that is when our airplane passes over, when the lyrical music language behind me is understood in sight and in sound. Within all of our unknown words is our uniting: Fireworks!

I pointed with my index finger, the pad pressing against the glass. Our shared experience, the link of our language from the image below. Then, together, we repeated, “Fireworks..." I never want to forget. It was the only time I was grateful to be flying in a tin can high above my Earth. I blew a kiss to the town below, thanking them for sending us their message, one that linked people together in the language of joy and color and blazing sparkled light.

(this is a reprint from the YOG-year of gratitude-today I'm flying out to Portland!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mathematical Equations of Perfection in Nature

“Nobody’s perfect,” I thought as I took my mountain walk one morning. “Is this a feeling of joy?” I wondered as I inhaled clean mountain air. Alongside the road I walked that morning many wildflowers and wild grown plants, some unique and rare and beautiful, grow seemingly randomly. A Daisy caught my eye, then another and another. I wondered, “Is there a perfect circle of yellow inside that flower?”

I am not a mathematician, and indeed, mathematics puzzles me, frustrates me—always logical, always right, always perfect? I am such a Right-Brainer. I imagine the right hemisphere of my brain is swollen and pulsing, the synapses firing off chaotically, but with their own kind of weird organization; however, I imagine my left hemisphere as a bit flat and aloof, sitting stoic at a desk while reading important stuff that it won’t share with the right brain (because the right brain can’t or won’t listen).

I wonder then, if a mathematician were to measure the golden inside of the Daisy, would it be a perfect circle? It looks to the eye to be. Is it? I need to know, for the eye gauge is not enough; is the soft sun inside of the Daisy a perfect circle? Who will measure for me and then let me know? And if it is not, would I enjoy the Daisy any less? Why of course not. I just have a need to know if there is some order to the Daisy that I never noticed before—is the round a perfect circle? I imagine mathematics both calms and excites the innards of the left brainers as my creative chaos both stills and energizes my right brain.

Are there other “Orders To The Universe” that mathematics can solve? Somewhere out there are people whose left brains pulse like my right brain and can figure all this out.

But this morning, I’ll just be grateful for that daisy I saw, with the perfect little happy circle in the middle. I’ll be thankful there are left-brainers who can figure out the mathematical equations of perfection in nature.

(repost from YOG)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pool Ladies

Recently, I bought a pass to the gym to get that extra resistance training I’d been craving. During my warm-up, I often walk a treadmill that faces the pool. It is there that I watch them—the Pool Ladies. They all look to be in their sixties, seventies, and eighties. Without self-consciousness, they promenade the length of the pool, heads held high, their multi-colored bathing suits modest, but still exposing all the flesh that bathing suits will expose. Then, one by one, they enter the pool, down the concrete steps, wade through the water in a ragged single file, and begin their water aerobics.

They are graceful as dancers in their purpose. I imagine aches and pains and stiffness are forgotten as the water cradles them, holds them buoyant. Their lower bodies waver in the water, strong legs that have carried them through their years; and their upper bodies wave this way and that, arms that carried babies or burdens, hands that stroked brows or clapped with happiness or held together in prayer for wishes that they never knew would come true, and perhaps some never did.

I watch them with envy. I want to project myself down in the water with them. I want to be a part of the Pool Ladies. Then I do imagine myself with them. I am wearing a bright red bathing suit, one I found at JC Penny’s on sale for twenty-nine ninety-nine. We are chatting and laughing and telling our stories. But, once we are down those stairs, once our dance begins, there is silence, only the sound of water gently lapping against our bodies disturbs the solemnity of the moment.

Finally, the Pool Ladies are done. They exit the water, chatting again like birds on a fence. Their faces are animated, full of high color. One by one, they disappear from my view. I miss them. I slow the treadmill and step off, make my way to the weight room. I hope to see one of the Pool Ladies, but, if I did, what would I say? They know all the secrets I am to find out, and those secrets are not mine to have, not yet. I know—“Thank you for reminding me what I have to look forward to.” That’s what I’d say.
(repost from the YOG)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Embracing my Brain

I've decided to automatic schedule blogs to go up while I am working on the deadline to send Secret Graces to my publishers, and while I am in Oregon. That way, my blog still feels alive in case anyone stops by!
If I can get in and post and visit around during the deadline rush and my trip, then I can still do that. So, for the next several weeks off and on, I'll repost from the YOG (Year of Gratitude) blog . . .

There are days I rail against the way my brain works. Especially if I feel it is holding me back from something I want to do as I see others do it. Math is one of those things. Being in a crowd of people is another. My writing is yet one other way. I’d always thought about the writing process as just what it was: I sit down; I write; the story comes out. When asked for the plot, I never have a quick answer. For, it seems, I do not think in plots, but instead in abstracts—my characters are abstract, the time and place and circumstance is fuzzy and furry and at a distance. It makes for good fun to write this way, for I simply have a character nudge me (and I may only see that characters eyes, mouth, hair, and I may hear them say, “This is how it is…”) and off I go. Yet, in that abstract comes traditional stories about family and friends and place and belonging—nothing really all that original. The originality is in the cracks and crevices, in the wording perhaps, or between the between.

Where I am envious of other writers is the ability to see the bigger picture, the entire world—the plot, if you will. When I ask of my brain to bring forth the bigger picture, the plot, the whole story, my brain balks, my brain splinters, my brain gives me a kaleidoscope of images flashing past so quickly that I can’t grab hold of them but one little image at a time, and I write that image down and go from there. All in all, its easier for me to just let my brain do its thing, write the story as it comes, and hope for the best. But, what would happen, I ask myself often, if I could draw out plots, if I paired my pretty good writing with a pretty good plot, and Voila~! Best seller! Ah, but alas, the same way I cannot stare at a painting, then close my eyes and picture the image but in parts and pieces and color, is the same way I cannot see my work as a whole until it is completely written.

Today, however, I have decided to embrace my brain. To be grateful for it. Surely in its way of interpreting my world, in the way it perceives data and love and lives and images and words and thoughts has served me well enough. And perhaps there are trade-offs. Perhaps if I saw in completes instead of parts, I’d not see things in the way I do, and in not seeing them in the way I do, perhaps I’d be writing plots, and in those plots I would perhaps have not met the characters who have come to me in visions of eyes, mouth, and hair. Perhaps I’d be someone else. Then I would not be me. Well. Now. There you go.

PS - some thoughts and vibes or prayers or whatever you personally believe to go out to my son's paternal grandfather - he's in the hospital, had a stroke. Send him your thoughts if you don't mind, so he'll feel better.

google image from http://spacesuityoga.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/brain-763982-1.jpg

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lawdy be! I'm down to the deadline wire.....!

Have you hugged a Librarian today? Okay, maybe not hugged one, but went into the library and smelled all the books? ahh....

Hi Dear Friends! I hope you'll excuse me for the next - week, two weeks, three weeks, four?
First, I am down to the wire on Secret Graces. I want to get it to the publishers before I leave for Oregon. That means I have a little over a week to polish VK to the best I can get it . . . Lawd!

Angie Ledbetter and I (and our Managing Editor, Cynthia) are also working hard on Rose & Thorn. There are many 'behind the scenes' things that one never knows about when one hasn't been a publishing editor. Some of it feels a little soul-sucking - like sending rejection letters. That goes against everything I am: a writer who has been there. But, I don't want to get into all that again! lawd.

And then, I'll be in Oregon for almost three weeks. Poor Good Man Roger will miss him some Kat. Teehee. (Or else he'll be going "whoop whoop - house to myself, house to myyyysellllffff, h o u s e ...to ...my ....seellllllf; I'm having a pork party - bacon and ribs and more bacon - whoop!")

So from now until January, I won't be around visiting as much and my posts may be sporadic or re-posts from something else; however, it's all for the good. A new book coming out, seeing my new granddaughter and my son and his wife (who I adore) on the holidays. I haven't been with my son on the holidays in years. *smiling*

More pics of the sweet one. See y'all later!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Once Upon A Time in a Land Up High . . .

Once upon a time, in a land up high, there lived a Queen. This Queen’s King was on a trip to a mysteriously eerie swamp-land called South Louisiana. Whilst the King was away, the Queen danced and sang and had no fingerprints, dribbles, and the entire bedchamber was hers and hers alone. Then, came the morning when the Queen looked upon her larder in the Frigidaire, and noticed there were no more greens, there was no more grapefruit juice, and on the royal counter, there were no more apples, and in the most high royal pantry, there were no more Cheerios and Cocoa Pebbles. The Queen, in a panic, summoned her minions, but realized she had no minions, just two fat lazy dogs who, by the way, were almost out of their royal pain dog food!

The Queen fretted and moaned and gnashed her teeth. Where did these wondrous and nutritional items come from if not from minions? Surely they did not just appear out of the misty mountain air? The Queen sat her quite shapely for her age rump upon her stately throne and thought and thought, and the thoughts became more thoughts, and those thoughts went off into tangents of thoughts until her brain squeezed and she had to blink and give her head a shake and pronounce, “Where were art I?” Then, she recollected her mind, and sighed, “Yes, my larder is bare. I have none of the precious foodstuffs that I daily enjoy.” Then with a start, a horrified, “Augh!” The Queen also realized there was soon to be no more Charmin to be had in the Land of Mountains.

“Oh, Oh, whatever will I do?” The Queen sobbed. She paced the little log royal castle, wringing her royal hands. Then, it came to her, how these things suddenly appeared to the royal homestead. The King! Yes! The King went to the village and pillaged the Ingles Supermarket and brought forth his bounty for the Queen’s enjoyment so the Queen never had to leave her mountaintop. The Queen pondered and pontificated and gasped and ballyhooed. And when the King returned from his quest from the wet mooshy land of yore, she ran to him and rained upon his face kisses, and said, “My King! My King! Get thee to Ingles quickly, for my cupboard is bare!” And the King set off without complaint, off to the village to pummel and plunder for his Queen. And his Queen was ever so ever grateful, even if she sometimes doesn’t show the King thusly so. The End.

(this is just a silly thing from a YOG post I did - Angie, Barb, Nannette, and Patresa all had a great time with our Year of Gratitude. It's been over for some time now, but I thought I'd revisit some of the posts from time to time...)

Enjoy Your Weekend - and thank someone who does those little, or not so little things, for you that you hate doing. We have snow and winter weather warnings, so I'm all snuggled in. See you all in a few days! I'm feverishly working on Secret Graces and on Rose & Thorn business.

google image: http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_apr2001/Charmin.jpg

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rejection Does Not Mean You Suck...

If you’ve ever watched reality television shows like American Idol, those dance shows, Bravo’s Top Chef, or Next Food Network Star, you will have a glimpse of what it is like to be an editor for a magazine or online journal when hard decisions have to be made on who will be the Winner and who will walk away disappointed.

Let’s take American Idol as an example, and I’ll use the example loosely for my purposes. Multiple of thousands of singers apply and those thousands must be culled down to an amount that can be handled by the show’s judges for our viewing pleasure. Don’t you think out of those thousands a few exceptional singers may slip through the cracks? Of course it will happen. But, the judges have, say, their top fifty. From those fifty, they must cull it down again. Good singers are told no.

The judges now have their twenty top picks. Of the thirty that were rejected, there were some really good singers, but, the twenty have that extra something or had a good day compared to a bad day; still, out of the thirty that were told no, there was dang good talent.

The twenty singers sing their singers off. The judges ponder and argue and disagree and listen to them again. But, at last they must again cull the twenty really great singers down by half to ten. That means ten Great Talented singers are sent home, rejected. That means those judges have to tell these talented people they aren’t going through to Hollywood.

Ten are left. The judges can only pick three from these top singers. This is so difficult, the judges try to find any little thing that separates the ten from each other so they can find that Top Three. They study and ponder and argue. Finally, they just have to make a decision. There’s no way around it. These gorgeously talented ten singers have to be cut down to three. Seven singers have to go home, even though they are some of the best of the best. Out of those seven who go home, there may be a few who really should not have, but the decision is made.

Out of multiple-thousands of singers, three singers stand as The Very Best Singers in the Land. The judges had to find a way to pick out Three—that is the rules, that’s how it goes, that’s how it is done.

The hardest thing of all for those judges to do is to send home singers who have Great Talent. The hardest thing of all is for the judges and the people to pick out One from the Three and declare that One the best of the Best. So, two will go home and one will be named The Best.

The singers who go home from that first Top Fifty group of singers will feel as if they are lacking in talent. The two who are not picked as Top Singer in the Land feel a little better, but not much, because they did not win. They begin to doubt their talents. But this is not the Truth. What is true is the judges can only pick One singer as the One. And the process is a difficult one, one that is subjective, pondered over, argued over, angsted over, tossed and turned over. Sending home Great Talent is the worst feeling in the world. Telling Great Talent NO is the worst feeling in the world—and the judges can only hope those Great Talents try again and never give up their dream.

When Simon Cowell tells someone, “You are good.” He means it, even if that person was not ultimately picked, they should take that “you are good” and fly with it over the moon. Because in the end, only One is chosen, and that one has to have the approval of more than one judge. That one somehow made it to the One by sheer luck and talent and timing and et cetera.

The worst thing in the world is sending rejection letters to Great Writers. It is especially difficult for editors who are also writers, because we know the feeling of it. When we send out our first batch of rejections letters, there are going to be writers who receive them who were in that Top Fifty, Top Thirty, Top Ten, Top Three, but, only “one” can be chosen.

For us, out of the many many many stories we receive in our Rose & Thorn inbox for one reading period, we can only pick nine, and in some instances, ten. Good writers, Great writers are going to find rejections in their inboxes. There’s no way around it. We do try to send encouragement to those who make it to the top of the list, but we also know some will slip through the cracks because we are human and we are busy.

Don’t give up in the face of rejection. You do not know how close you may have come to receiving that acceptance, or if one magazine says No, someone else says Yes. Believe this, especially if you receive an encouraging note from editors. That means you were Noticed. That means your work was angsted and pondered and mulled over by that editor. That said, some publications do not send encouragement – that doesn’t mean your story wasn’t considered, it just means that magazine is too busy or it is just their policy not to send anything but form rejections, or it means you slipped through the cracks because editors are extremely busy.

That’s why you do not give up. Ever. If it’s important to you, you will plunge ahead. For perhaps next time will be your turn.

google, cartoon image:http://deasnutz.com/blogimage/rejection.jpg

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cleaning up our manuscripts: Scenes I like to see . . . because I'm picky that way

First, before I go on, when I write something here about what an author or writer may have done in something I’m reading, it is not the book I am reading now—these are just examples from things I’ve read in the past at some point or things I may have previously done with my own work and then one day had a AHA moment. Just wanted to make that clear.

I know I’m picky. The pickier I get, the more things I notice when I read. Of course, it’s the more I notice in my own writing as well, and then I have to eradicate or tweak or fix. I’m not perfect, and as I’ve told all of you, pointing out the things I like to clean up in my manuscript sets me up for people to read my work and find the very things I mention—it’s going to happen, that’s just how it is!

I never understood, until I had my own book published, just how easy it is to miss an error in your manuscript. There are so many layers of work/editing. First, you write the thing and it’s 80,000 to 100,000 words or so—that’s a lot of words where things can sneak in and hide. Then, you edit it and edit it and rewrite and tweak and even though you think you are being careful, a perfectly good sentence can become imperfect if you aren’t careful in the re-writing of it. The manuscript then goes to the editor(s) at your publishers and they make notes; you go in and fix whatever they found and while there you find something else. The galley proof comes, and you tweak from there and maybe find a couple of other things to fix. Sometimes while fixing something you make a new error, especially when in a hurry to get it back for deadline. Not to mention how difficult it is to spot little errors in a manuscript everyone has read more than once, especially You, which means Me--before sending my manuscript to the publishers/editors, I have gone through it multiple upon multiples of times. How many? More than five, I'm thinking more than ten. I haven't counted, but I do it because I want it to be clean and as perfect as I can get it and still make my deadline. But, folks, it’s a wonder that a book avoids mistakes at all, and most do not, so we all need reader's understanding.

Today I want to talk about one example of how we imagine the scene as we read it. Look at the Mary Worth cartoon. Notice how the man is talking while he is sipping his drink. That’s a perfect example of what I sometimes read in novels. The author will write the scene something like this:

Jeannette sipped her coffee. “I’m furious at Tim!”

So, how is Jeannette sipping her coffee and talking at the same time?

Oh, come on now, you may be saying, we all know the author means she sips her coffee and then says the dialogue line. Yeah, I know that, but still; when I read that, my brain picks up an image of Jeannette with the cup of coffee to her lips and it’s dribbling and spilling all over because she’s gurgling out “I’m furious at Tim!” –she’s sipping and talking at the same time. It’s just a personal thang with me. I’d even feel better if it simply read:

Jeannette sipped her coffee, then said, “I’m furious at Tim!”

Yeah yeah, I’ve read oodles of books that are written the way the first scene is written, but, it still drives me nuts, just as reading the Mary Worth comic does—the guy is drinking his drink, so how can he do that and talk at the same time? Huhn. Just saying. It’s easy to fix it, easy to find the habit of looking at our scenes as if they are really happening. I like my characters to drink or eat without talking; I’m just funny that way.

How about you? Do scenes like this bother you? Or have you never noticed before (but will now because Kathryn ruined it for you and now you will notice those things all the time, dang it all! *laughing*)?
Hope you all had great NANO experiences, and if you did not make your goal of word count, so what? You wrote something, didn't you? You have something to work with and tweak. Maybe a new idea came to you. Maybe you found out something about yourself and your writing. Maybe you will file it away and come back to it later. Whether you wrote 1000 words or 30,000 words or the entire 50,000 words, you created something from nothing. Brava.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cyber Monday Shopping! Blogger Community & Local Vendor Community links Re-post

I AM SUCH A DUMMY! This post was supposed to go up yesterday! *LAWD!* for cyber-Monday - and I forgot to put in the new post date and time - so it didn't post! That's what I get for not checking....dang! So, I'll post it anyway today, even though it's a day late - be back tomorrow with "Cleaning up our manuscripts..."

Y'all! I did it! I unplugged for 99% of the Thanksgiving Holiday. I did check my email a couple of times and left two messages on Facebook that needed attention, but! other than that, I was completely unplugged from Wednesday evening until this morning! Wow! I didn't even turn on my laptop and instead used GMR's slow desktop to check email, so I wouldn't be tempted to post or twitter or whatever. Whoop whoop! It was a good thing for me to do, as now I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.

I'm planning to post another "Cleaning Up Our Manuscripts" tomorrow . . . " and today, or this evening, I'll be 'round to visit you all and see what you did for the holidays, or if not for holidays, for whatever . . . but, for now - . . .

It's Cyber Monday - time for that online shopping!

I am reposting this blog post - below - about our shopping with the blogging community and local community vendors! Let's support each other and our communities.

If you are not listed, and want to be, please shoot me an email.

Angie Ledbetter(Gumbo Writer) and I are happy to post the links! Please support our blogging community aritisans and your local community mom and pop shops.

Let's support each other in this blogging community & let's support our local indie vendors!

Online Indie Artists/Artisans Resource List ---


I make jewelry; here's the link to my Winkelf shop:The Jeweled Rabbit

I'm planning to change artistic direction, so I'm liquidating much of my current stock. Most of my jewelry has been marked down 50%, so here's a great chance to stock up on jewelry at great prices for Christmas gifts.I'll be posting about this opportunity to promote indie artists on my blog.


I have found the Pink Ribbon shop link for those in the US and Breast Cancer Care Gift Shop in the UK, there are loads of goodies to buy and you are supporting a great cause. On Monday this week, my GP's young wife had a mastectomy, last year my Cypriot friend also had the surgery but sadly my aunt passed away from the (and note from kat! I can’t find the comment with the rest of this story – please let me know who you are so I can post your link!)


Maria-Thérèse afiori.com
www.afiori.com - fine art photography, collages, unique mixed paper notebooks, custom wedding books and guestbooks. Everything is handmade by me from scratch and the notebooks have my art on the covers. Direct link to shop: http://afiori.etsy.com/


Janna Qualman
This place is local to my state. I haven't ordered yet, but plan to. Gave Angie the same link. http://www.riggscreations.org/

western North Carolina, Haywood County

Haywood County Animal Shelter:

Haywood County Shopping


Small Footprints
This is such a great idea ... and lots of fun, too! Thank you for the opportunity to not only display our shops but ... to shop from our fellow blogger's shops. Very cool! Here's our shop (mine and "Art's"): http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6820529
I'll pass the word!
Small Footprints


The Accessory Lady
Thank you so much for your support! :-). You can find our crafty creations at:http://www.theaccessorylady.com/
Have a wonderful week.


Mommy Tyme
Thanks for promoting the artisan/handmade community! I think I speak for all of us when I say, we appreciate the shout out! Mommy Tyme bath and gifts is handmade soap, bath and body items, jewelry, scarves, accessories, and gifts for the home... All made by me! So, if you have time to shop, stop by http://www.mommytyme.etsy.com/


What a great idea. Thank you so much for doing this.

Linda http://ribbonsrosesandmore.com/


I was referred here by smallfootprints! Thank you so much for this opportunity! My links are:http://trusk4u.etsy.com/http://trusk4u.winkelf.com/


This is a great idea. I bought a piece of jewelry from a fellow blogger and I just love it. I wear it all the time. I purchased it from Denise at the Seasonal Cottage. I can't recall the name of her etsy shop but she's a member of the FMTSO meme. She does fantastic work.


Wonderful idea! I really love shopping handmade. In fact I'd rather shop this way than any other.These are my shops for hand crafted jewelry: http://www.1000markets.com/users/gibsonwirecreations

Andy Lowe
Hi my friend i was also sent an invite by Small Footprints. My wee shop/gallery is at http://www.photoboxgallery.com/3004962
where I sell my pictures of the highlands of Scotland all the proceeds go to charity; many thanks for the chance to share the link


Michelle Art Works

That's me, Michelle, for artworks :)


Meghann LittleStudio
I guess I should tell you I make handcrafted jewelry and also do art photography :)Fabulous idea! All my presents are always handmade - either by myself or another artist. Here are my shops: http://www.littlestudiojewels.etsy.com/
Blog: http://www.meglittlestudio.blogspot.com/


This is a great idea! My sister and I are planning to support handmade for this Christmas shopping season as well. We would be honored if you would list our shop! -Dawn at MairzyDozy



I came across this one through my job at a Catholic Church


I know Joe Collins personally and my oldest daughter has been to Guatemala to work with him.

Roberto's bracelets and tablerunners are awesome.

Thank you,
A Mom on Spin


I noticed your sweet comment on my blog regarding my friend Sara and her new ribbon necklace business. Thank you so much for this great idea! :O)Sara's sites: http://twillypop.blogspot.com/


It is a brilliant idea. I don't have an etsy shop, but I have a website http://www.dogwalkers.net/
where you can find my custom made fancy dog collars and where you can buy my book of dog stories.


Titus (
Could I recommend Aiko Harman's site, where she sells her "Poetry Pets". Fabulous single poems with a hand-made soft toy to go with them.She's here: www.lionandsloth.com/

Denise here are my shop links:

My blogs:



I just happen to have a studio full of my original oil paintings that make wonderful lifetime gifts. Also make handwritten poetry suitable for framing that is not quite as expensive as the paintings. Preview art works here:

Thank you, and as ever be well, Stephen Craig Rowe
And how could I forget my own BelleBooks Publisher's Authors! If you want books to give as gifts, visit your local indie bookseller, or independent publishers like Bellebooks!


And here are more links! (I hope I don't repeat any or leave anyone out!)

From Kimmi (The Unbreakable Child): Shop Goodwill. You can buy/bid online from Goodwill stores around the nation, land a teasure and give back to the community all in one click HERE.

From Carrie Link: Here's another one for you, Angie. It's my cousin's website, great for those spiritual seekers: http://www.creatingquietspaces.com/From Hilary of the awesome photographs: Gary over at the Pottery Blog has an etsy shop too at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5056727 and his blog address is http://grpottersblog3.blogspot.com/

From jeweledrabbit: Here are the links to the shops of some of the Etsy sellers whose offerings I love: Zygopsyche, home of all kinds of cute, fluffy critters
Wood Animal Sculptor, Sandra Healy

From Lady Glamis: Levenger Has the BEST Writing and Reading Stuff EVER http://levenger.com/

B.J. Anderson Awesome!! Thanks so much for putting this together!!

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Deshawn Marie's handmade soap club! Soap of the month . . .


All right -Happy Shopping - let me know if you have trouble with any links, or as I said, if you were left out, or have any links to add for a future post!


image from google images: http://www.stereophile.com/images/archivesart/shopping.online.illo.jpg