Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Random Photos/Random Linkages/Random Video

Video of a little mountain storm come to the cove at Killian Knob. This was the storm where we lost the top off a big tree - *sad* - and it knocked down another tree in the process. Luckily, we let our trees grow wild around us, and so does our neighbor next to us, so we hope soon another tree will take the place of the fallen one, and the one with the top off will grow back okay, or another will take its place.

So. I'm back from SIBA/Daytona, and a one afternoon/night in Savannah. I'm swamped with things to do, so I can't talk about the trip today, but I will say it was fun, and I met some wonderful people--booksellers, authors, publishers, bloggers, etc. If you are on twitter, there is a hashtag #siba10 where they 'tweeted' during the entire trade show, so that's a way for inside scoops. Some of the authors (I may do this if I have time) will be blogging about the experience on the Siba blog; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!

But for now I leave you with some photos taken from my room, all but one are from the Plaza hotel room, where I snapped them from my balcony. There is one, the last one below, taken from my hotel room window at the Savannah Hampton Inn in the Historic District on Bay Street, which was a gorgeous hotel--if you ever stay in Savannah, do look up this hotel! Bay street was lined with historical buildings and some were made into hotels--the Hampton was charming, and very very clean, comfy, and I just loved it (I have a big love for Hampton Inns anyway!)

Our own  Janna Qualman has a post on the R&T Blog - go check it out! Angie (Gumbo Writer) and I, along with our wonderful staff, are busy working to get the fall issue of Rose & Thorn Journal, and the R&T newsletter out - if you haven't signed up for our newsletter I hope you will -it's free and we never sell or give away your email address. Just Sign Up Here. We hope you'll go by and read the summer offerings on R&T Journal, because soon they will be gone--well, not gone, for we have our Archives Page you can always peruse.

All these were taken from the 'balcony' in Daytona Hotel

I also wanted to give a bit of news. I'd been talking about a novella-length work that would be published along with two other author's novella-length works. From what I understand, that is happening for sure, and the book will be released Winter 2011. The authors who I will be published with are two NYT Best-Selling authors (and I will be there one day! yes....yes I will...): Sarah Addison Allen and Deborah Smith. I saw the book cover (image later) and loved it. So, more as I know it!
from room, out of my hotel window, in Savannah

Y'all have a great day - I am going to be having some give-ways on my blog - probably starting Friday or Monday - stay tuned!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kat's Boopmobile has taken her away from her cove at Killian Knob

I'm not here! I'm at the SIBA conference in Daytona Beach . . . GMR is left all aw-wone except for Maggie Girl and Big Jake (see post below!) . . . All Together Now: Awwwwwwwwwwwww (he's probably kicked back and loving the unchaotic nature of the little log house; the way the swirling vortex has left; the way the big black hole isn't sucking up all sanity . . . but he'll still miss me - *teeheehee*)

Y'all have a great weekend . . .  I'll be at the Plaza Resort and Spa -where the Siba Trade Show will be held - ohhhhhh - Resort and Spa sounds loverly! & Atlantic Ocean! & Beach! & Food! &  ohhhhhhhh . . .

Just for fun: I wonder: what do you imagine I am doing right now? I know it's the silliest question ever - but, if you were to imagine me by just what you know about me (even if you just 'met' me here on my blog days ago!) - what do you think I am doing at this moment if I have a moment to myself to do whatever I choose? :-D

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Random Photos-Random Linkages!

some photos of sunrise from my porch, with mists
It's Wednesday and time for random photos/random linkages. I'm busy this week with Rose & Thorn doodly dah, and getting ready for my trip to the Siba Conference. Since Tender Graces was nominated for a SIBA award, I get to be on the writer's auction block (lawd) -proceeds go to charity, so it's a good thing. Link below  on the trade show!

Our own Angie Ledbetter Gumbo Writer was on Eddie's Clouds and Silvery Linings Sunday Roast - go by and read! What fun! 

AND! Angie Gumbo Writer's husband can sing! You can listen to him on Amie Street - go Angie's DH!

shy Maggie Girl wouldn't let me snap photo of her face (just like her owner, Kat! haw! ask Angie!)

"Grandmother" - bought from Woolworth Walk in Asheville - love this artist - I have many 'totems' from this artist

My beautiful friend Kim Michelle Richarson's book bookmark
Kim's book "The Unbreakable Child" will be released October 1. It is available now on Kindle. She's re-opening her blog this week and will be having a contest. Her publishers have a wonderful blog - Behler Blog - stop by and read. This is a powerful book and one most difficult for Kim to write and one difficult for me to read - except for the hope: the hope saves this memoir from despair. Yes.

Big Jake all tuckered out

Teresa Frohock is brilliant - if you aren't subscribed to her blog - do it! I loved this: Writing Fiction with the 3-2-1 method, but she has many more gems there.

These photos of rugs/throws are why I can't truly be a vegetarian ... although I told GMR this is sheared not skinned ... he begs to differ; I tell him "LA LA LA can't hear you LA LA LA LA LA LA

Backspace The Writer's Place is a great forum - I just re-signed up after letting my "dues" laspe for over a year. Check them out - the dues are quite reasonable. There's a good group of writers, editors, agents, publishers . . . join the forum!

Wanda's Wonderful Book Blog - check out Lady Banks Bookshelf, where I want to be!

As I mentioned, I'll be at the SIBA Trade Show from Friday through the weekend. I'll be driving from my little cove at Killian Knob to Daytona Beach, while GMR holds down the little log house all alone wif-out his sweet wonderful wife (snork) - if you see my Boop Mobile, give me a honk and a wave (you'll know it's the Boop Mobile if you see it :-D )

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, September 20, 2010

How a writer avoids working on a deadline:

Has a stare-down with a chipmunk who’s climbed up the Tulip Poplar and is cramming as many sunflower seeds into his cheeks he can possibly fit. He sees you. You see him. The stare begins. You win when he runs away, but you feel silly about it and then hum softly to yourself as if it doesn’t matter.

Watches Rachael Ray chop garlic at the speed of sound while talking about her family while waving her hands around while shaking a pot of simmering meat while pouring EVOO while grinning that big ole grin. Feeling inspired, you go into the kitchen to prepare your feast and instead come away with a handful of walnuts, three grapes, fourteen almonds, a half container of yogurt, sixty-seven Hershey’s kisses, and forty-three thousand M&M’s.

You look out the door and the chipmunk is staring at you again . . . commence Round Two of stare-down. The chipmunk turns its back on you in disgust and you sigh. One of the grapes falls to the floor and you don’t care.

You write completely inane blog posts about how writers waste time and hardly feel ashamed of your lack of motivation and imagination at all, hardly, sorta kinda hardly at all. You kick the grape hard enough to burst the skin and your toe is sticky.

You flip the channel on the TV when the commercial that has that creepy hamburger King comes on and makes you go “ewww” but there’s another commercial with that really loud annoying brain-bursting-to-pieces-with-lots-of-blood-and-brain-guts woman touting rugs, and while flipping, you come across a segment on Black Holes and Dark Matter and become fascinated, yet distracted, and then lose your train of thought and then . . . then you . . . you . . .

The chipmunk’s cheeks are so huge, you can’t believe his face doesn’t explode. You stare with your mouth slightly open, and the chipmunk completely ignores you. This makes you feel as if you don’t matter. You cram M&M’s in your cheeks and the chipmunk looks at you in disgust. You yell at the chipmunk, “Whash your problem? Shtop shtaring at me! Get a life, geesh!”

Finally, you open up your word document and begin. And it feels good. It’s the best thing in the world. It’s all you ever really wanted to do . . . you just didn’t want to be told you had to do it; you wanted it to be all your own idea.

(this may be a reprint, then again, it may not be - it could be just something I wrote and never posted; I can't rememeber these things - my brain is bleeding from the blond rug woman commercial AUGH AUGH ARGH! . . . by the way, you may have noticed I am on a MWF schedule and am trying to be regular about Wednesdays being random linkages and/or photos day - MF I'll do whatever - I'm too chaotic...wheee!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tell me (us) who you are and what you do!

I thought it'd be nice if you all could introduce yourselves.

So many times I visit blogs and read the blog posts, but don't always have time to look at the bios, or, I'll read bios but then become busy and forget the little details about the people I visit and/or who come by here.

So, how about you tell me and everyone what you are up to, who you are: are you are writer--and what stage are you in the process? Do you create things--do you sell them? Are you an artist/truck driver/mom/dad/dog trainer?

Who are you? . . .

Y'all have a great weekend and go do the day!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random Linkages for Writer Wednesday or Whatever Wednesday

Rosaria Williams of "Sixtyfivewhatnow" blog found my grammatical error below. I had a run-on sentence.

She said:
“You got a run-on there, pretty lady, right there, the sentence before you ask us to tell you if we saw any errors:  "I will surely admit it, you bet your by grammar gollies I will!"

And she is correct. Rosaria received a gift. If anyone finds another one, call me on it.

Received a bad review? A rejection? A scathing critique? Then go here and see what some reviews had to say about some of the “beloved classics” and maybe you’ll feel better!

Amazon reviewers think this masterpiece sucks

Love Calvin and Hobbes!
It’s your health network – I’m exploring this website now. Facebook friend Lisa has asked for support in helping to garner notice for this health site, and I’m happy to do it. Stop by and begin a healthier lifestyle!

Many of the writers/readers here are from our area; however, it is open to all who love writing, books, literature – Asheville Citizen Times Rob Neufeld is the owner founder. Sign up and join in on the conversation at The Read on WNC!

Some of these made me laugh -
100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English

There are no rules, by Jane Friedman (Writer’s Digest publisher/contributing editor) LOVE her bio (here’s an excerpt)

“I am a late-sleeping, bourbon-drinking editor, at least mostly sane. I live life forward, even though you can only understand it backward. I don’t have hobbies, unless drinking is a hobby. I write, I read, I edit, I teach, I speak.”
Did you know I am actually in a horror anthology-or one of my stories, that is.  Bump in the Night, by Drollerie Press. My story is tame next to some of the others. I wrote it years back and of course I now see what I would change about it -- too late! I am in Part III: Bien P’tit Gens - I think I will re-visit that story - change the ending, tweak it a bit.  But, there are some fine stories in this anthology. Drollerie Press is a small press that is quietly making its way out there. Go by and give them a look see.

That's enough for now. Now y'all go do the day!
PS - I received a few "Advanced Review Copies" of SWEETIE - uncorrected proofs - so it is so wonderful to hold the book in my hands, see the cover (which will look even better than it does now with the final published book!) I'm reading it now for errors to be corrected before the final goes out. I'm so excited to hold my words and read them. Bellebooks is sending out review copies to their lists. I sent two out - one to Asheville Citizen Times Rob Neufeld and another to Baton Rouge Advocate Greg Langley - they did kind wonderful reviews of Tender Graces, keep your fingers crossed they will want to review SWEETIE and be as kind!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Wild World of Grammar

Grammar to Some of You is like Me to Math—I do not care if math is "easy." I do not care if it is simply formulas where one plugs in numbers and Voila! the answer is there. I am unconcerned that Math is a science and always true. My brain will not accept such logic. Perhaps grammar is in a sense illogical and that is why I love to study it, fiddle with it.

Grammar is slippery and cantankerous; however, when it is applied properly, it creates prose that slides across our brains in a deliciously beautiful way. Yet, to complicate matters, the on-purpose manipulation of grammar in our fiction and in some non-fiction can make the prose interesting and uniquely ours.

“Know the rules so you can break them effectively.” Despite my Grammar Can Be Cool attitude, I also believe in breaking grammar rules to create prose that better fits your voice and your style of work.

I am providing links below to start you off, to help you to begin to understand what so many do not quite understand (and what even editors will pull out their hair over). Things such as: where to place commas and semicolons and colons (commas, semicolons, and colons -- Oh my!), is it a which or a that and who really cares but editors (Kat wrote words, which have letters), punctuation inside quotes or outside quotes ("Why," she said, "I know the answer to that."), fewer versus less (I have fewer cookies than you do, so I have less food to eat), different from or different than, hanging participles (okay, I admit I love a good hanging participle), split infinitives, and the list goes on or so it seems to the writer who just wants to write her prose—she beings to feel jealous of poets, for they can throw grammar caution to the wind.

Why, even as I write this post, I worry I will forget my Grammar PooBahness and leave a big fat error or two for everyone to sniggle over. If you find a grammatical error, call me on it in the comments section below, and if I agree, I will surely admit it, you bet your by grammar gollies I will! And if you do find a grammatical error and I agree to it, I’ll send you a gift.

My friends, the more polished your prose, the better it reads. Even if the person reading does not know why your work reads so well, they will surely notice how beautiful the result is. And wait! There’s more! As an added bonus, the more you know and automatically do as you write, the less work for you to worry about in re-writes. Yes? Yes!

Which and that, oh, I get it now—commas before whiches. And when comparing different from versus different than? Why, no problem as it's different from almost all of the time. Indeed and alas, it is those grammatical “almosts” and “sometimes” that drive writers and even editors to distraction, one hair pull at a time. Split infinitives, well: to be it is and be to not no more. Commas are pauses. Semi-colons "link" complete thoughts. Et cetera et cetera et cetera!

To start you on your Grammar Journey, here are some sites that may help you to understand The Wild World of Grammar. There are certainly more out there, so find the one(s) that you like and dip your toe into the ocean of Grammar. Start by understanding one grammar question at a time and build from there.

The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar

Everything Language and Grammar

Throw Grammar from the Train

Grammar Girl

And, of course, if you do not already own one, go out and buy that beautifully slim, but chock-full of gooey goodness grammar and tips: Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style

Good luck!

Friday, September 10, 2010

LitChat & I was a weird kid, were you?

Today I'll be the Guest Moderator at Litchat (@litchat on twitter with hashtag #litchat, and for this week, hashtag #tkam)and @katmagendie Celebrating 50 years of To Kill A Mockingbird. I'd love to have you join us - if you do so via tweetchat, it's easy to stay in the chat and see what's going on. It's from 4-5 EST today (and every M, W, F, from 4-5).

I was thinking about the weird things some of us may have done or said as kids (or all of us?) I guess I was a pretty weird kid- no weirder than some, maybe weirder than others . . .ha!
But, when I was a young teen, one day my friend was talking about how she had had an imaginary friend. I thought, "imaginary friend?" I'd not remembered ever having one of those. I had an imaginary Stallion - I'd ride my bike and pretend it was my trusty steed. But an imaginary friend? huhn. I decided I wanted one of those. So I "made one up," and thus began a glorious friendship to span, um, a couple of days . . . maybe it would have spanned a couple of more days, but my Real Live Friend said, "Um, you're a little old to have an imaginary friend - it's weird." Oops. Oh. Okay. I said, "Well, gee, okay." Teehee. So, Imaginary Friend disappeared. That's okay, it was always nagging at me that it had to keep up all the conversation and was a much better friend than I was . . . haw!

I thought about that day today and laughed. I mean, to have an imaginary friend when you're little is Cute; to have one when you are 13 or so probably seems a bit InSane.  I did a lot of weird kid things, but that's one I remember this morning.

So, you tell me: What kind of weird kid thing did you do that you look back on and think, "Geez, I did that? Lawd."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Random Photos & Random Linkages!

this morning from my porch
My good friend and co-editor/publisher at R&T Angie, Gumbo Writer, will have her Writerly Wednesday links up today - and very worthy and good links they always are, so head on over there and check them out. I won't repeat them here, but add a few of my own:

The SIBA Trade show, September 24-26, is almost here. I'll be there with my publishers. As well, I'll be on the Writer's Block, and proceeds will go to charity. If you are going, let me know and we'll say hello!

Litchat is celebrating 50 years of To Kill A Mockingbird. On Friday, I'll be their guest moderator. It's a twitter group for writers, readers, and anyone who loves books and literature and related, and all are welcome to come chat with us. Litchat is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4-5, every week. Click LITCHAT for more information.

Rose & Thorn is now reading for winter issue. We're reading prose/poetry submits now for fall, and it's going to be a tough decision. I wish we could publish all the worthy prose and poety. I hope you'll stop by the R&T Blog and subscribe - there's always something good going on there and we post every Wednesday.

Alexandra Sokoloff is brilliant. If you haven't been by her blog, and especially if you are writing, then go by. She has a unique way of 'seeing' your manuscript, as it applies to scripts and movies, screenwriting - it's facinating stuff.

I've been going by Writer's News Weekly. I read my writer's horoscope there and laugh because lately they've been hitting the nail on the head for old Pisces Girl here *teehee* They have other offerings as well, so go by and give them a look.

Teresa Frohock at Helluo Librorum has an new agent, and her interview with her is up. Have a peek inside the mind of an up and coming agent.

I found this grammar blog when I was trying to prove my point to someone that it is Most Important/More Important, and not Most/More ImportantLY . . .

And for fun- this Geico Commercial makes me laugh every time I see it. I generally hate commercials, but sometimes they hit it right. The look on Abe Lincoln's and on his Wife's face---teeheehee.

I forgot one here: Blind Pig & an Acorn has a wonderful blog about Appalachia (APP AH LATCH CHUH, not App ah LAY SHUN!) & she's having a Guitar Give away . . .
first signs of fall
I want to say hello and thank you to new followers. We had a labor day BBQ at KarenG's place and folks were a-visitin' and a grinnin' -- I've met some wonderful new bloggers and they've come by to say hi as well. It's not too late to join in on visiting and getting to know new blogger friends.

Finally, I hope you'll come follow me on
And, if you have links to share, leave them in the comments. Or, if you are new here, invite us to come visit you at your blog and say hello!
Now y'all go do the day!

Add caption

Lake Junaluska rose
Love this old willow at Lake J
Add caption

The Butterfly house at Lake J &amp

Monday, September 6, 2010

Does the marriage between writer-character & reader-writer come between a real-life marriage?

Only in books can you be married to them all.” –James Salter

At a party, a woman tells me how she has decided my husband is a saint, and I'd better never ever complain about him. I say, “Huh? What do you mean by that?”

“He puts up with your craziness; he cooks you dinner.” She sniffs. “And, you said he even does his own laundry. You can sit there and write all the live-long day and never have to worry about your husband yelling for his dinner and a clean pair of underdrawers.” She glares at me, dares me to deny.

I’ve heard this before. It doesn’t stop me from rolling my eyes. “Well, you live with him and then see if you still think he’s a saint. No one is a saint. Maybe I have my good points, too . . . huhn." I sniff, just a little. "Maybe he thinks I'm . . . I'm . . . all that and then some.” I take a hah-uuuge bite of cheesecake, to stop any other words from spilling out. I know it’s true; GMR cooks, he does his own laundry, and he is self-sufficient in a way some spouses are
not, if what I hear about some spouses is true. I know he puts up with my . . . ways.

Besides, harumph, I can cook; I just choose not to. Truth is: I become dazed and restless and remote and strange, and therefore food at times becomes only something to sustain me so I will not shrivel up from hunger. And, okay, I admit it: I am ashamed to say, I sometimes treat marriage the way I treat food: I can relate conversation; I just choose not to. I become dazed and restless and remote and strange, and therefore GMR at times becomes someone to sustain me so I will not be unloved.

And, GMR has competition for my affections: All the stuff in my pea-head. He competes with the crowd of "people" swirling around me like worrisome, but invisible (to him), gnats. It's not just my characters I can look inward to, but all of You out there.

I can ignore the real world around me for long enough almost to lose who is important to me—my family, my friends, my town. Yet, even as I write that, I know how I need all of You to be important to me. But even more, I want to Me to be important to You. A long-term relationship. A marriage bond between writer and reader, between editor and writer. A contract. An understanding. A promise.

We need each other, don’t we? We are important to each other, aren’t we? We can’t live without each other, can we? Tell me you love Me and I will show you I love You by offering you what I offer best: My words, the love between the covers of my books, my care in reading your stories you submit to Rose & Thorn Journal. It is a marriage weaved together with words and promises of more words. We stand before the alter of Language and Literature, and we brace ourselves against the years, and we give and give and take and take, give and take. A love that never dies, even in the lean and hard and mean years. Not even until death do us part—for written words never die.

[And even as I post this here, I know I will be 'leaving' again- 'leaving' GMR, but even 'leaving' all of You for a while, for the latest manuscript calls for my attention. Play time is over. Deadlines are deadlines. My editor can see me here and lift an eyebrow, "Kathryn IS writing isn't she? hmmmmm. . ." I have to kick out some of the crowd in my head and leave only the world of Virginia Kate.]

What about you? Is the Real World, the tangible one you can touch & see, at times less real than it maybe should be?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kill yer Darlins; kill yer darlins; kill yer darlins, Clementine . . .

I was round to Nathan Bransford’s blog today, and he mentioned the “kill your darlings” phrase that has been attributed to authors, but I am not really sure who first came up with that gem.

I’ve killed me some darlin's in my time, let me tell you what! However, I do remember a time when I didn’t know just what that meant—I mean, I knew in theory kind of sort of, but in reality it only confused me. I could see the obvious phrases or words that could come out, but “Darlings?” What the heck is a Darling? I often thought, and would tear my clothes asunder.

How would I know a darling to be able to kill it?

That, my friends, is the burning question that I'm afraid cannot be answered by any writer giving advice, much as we may try. This, I believe, is one of those “Unteachable Things” that writers really must figure out on their own, in their own way. They must have their AHA moment(s) and then the mists lift and things become clear—or not, and then it’s a whole lot of guessing or hoping or experimenting or jumping up and down on our manuscripts and screaming and then running nekkid down the street pulling out our hair.

However, it does become easier. Things do become clear. The "Kill Your Darlings" begins to make sense to you - with practicing your craft. With writing and writing and re-writing and re-writing. It happens more often with second books than with first books, and even more with third books and beyond. The Delete Key becomes our best friend. Why? I dunno; well, I do, but that's a whole nuther bunches of words and this will be too long as it is.

Knowing every Darlin' to Kill verses Prose That Should Stay is, well, at times subjective, and at other times necessary, at some times clear and sweet, and at other times we run down the street nekkid screaming and pulling out our hair.

Have you ever watched deleted scenes in a movie and thought, “Oh geez, so glad they took that out!” But of course we are seeing the deleted scenes in the context of what we’ve just watched. Imagine if those deleted scenes were still in the movie—some of them may bring out a “why did they put that in there?” or “I’m bored right now;” and then others may fit right in without a glitch. But one thing is for certain, most all of the time the deleted scenes are not missed as we watch the final movie-product. It isn’t as if we are sitting there saying, “Something is missing here, I wonder if they deleted a scene?” Then again, there may be times we say, “Wait, something is missing here . . .” ah, isn’t it an ever-moving vague wavery line made of pencil that can be erased and replaced, erased and replaced, and even misplaced?

We have to use our own judgment and instincts to kill our darlin’s - unless you want to trust someone else to kill them for you . . . someone who can be cold and impersonal and . . . well, Word Murderous. I believe I have finally become Word Murderous with my manuscripts, and even in my murderous state, I am sure there are darlin's I leave, because, well, I wanna that's why.

I’ve said it before: there is no magic. There is only the writing and tweaking and rewriting and editing and hoping and dreaming and doing the best we can.

How many times have you written something you thought was GOLDEN plucked straight from the GOLDEN tree of GOLDEN words, and then when you sent your work out into the world with glee, no one mentions that GOLDEN part--what? they didn't notice your GOLDEN words! Heathens! Blasphemers! Cretins!--, but instead, they mention some other part you hadn’t even paid attention to, and in fact, you almost deleted that scene because it seemed so, well, NOT GOLDEN. We writers aren’t always the best judge of what a reader will respond to and love. That's reassuring while darling killing, isn't it? huhn.

Killing our Darlings can be one of the most frustrating or scary exercises in our writing, but it can deliver our prose to a higher level of "oh, hey . .  ." Friends, all we can do is practice our craft, practice practice practice practice, use our best instincts, did I say practice?, and when it's all said and The End'ed, hope for the best.

What do you have to say about Killing your Darlings?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just Random Photos

Today, it's all about the visual . . . click to enlarge if you like . . .

Angie Ledbetter's (Gumbo Writer) Vizpo art taken from my Golden Sparkled Dancer's Cap essay

A man holding me (in West Virginia) who is called on the back of the photo "Grandpa Davis" and I have no idea who he is-ah the mysteries
a rip in the sky

Lil Boop
an alien?
weird old-timey ad

Now, go do the day. I'll be writing - you?