Stephen King

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Burr.....

Winter here again in Michigan. My husband and I went for a long snowy beach hike and dune climb today. The wind whipped snow into every crevice of my coat and by the time we reached the end of our hike (which concluded with a bumpy slide down a very steep dune) my face was raw and red. It was a wonderful, in the moment, experience that I hope to repeat many times in the upcoming months. Writing has been sluggish at best, lost in the throes of my seasonal job at the Cherry Republic, a very Michigan Company that specializes in all things Cherry. It has been a great break from my books and has given me another angle with which to view the world of fictional characters and places. I am working on my third novel, approx. 12,000 words in and hoping to dive back in after the first of the year. I have also been querying for Ula and Skidmarks on My Heart. I recently received a rejection from a small print and web publisher for Ula, which contained extensive feedback (not happy feedback, but any suggestions are welcome) so although it was on some levels disheartening, it was great to get constructive criticism. That's all in the land of writing updates. As for reading, I'm working on Middlesex by Jeffrey Euganides, which has successfully pulled me in. I'll list a few other good reads below:

We Don't Die by Joel Martin and Patricia Romanowski : Really interesting story about the medium George Anderson with some inspiring true stories.

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson: I liked it, but honestly, I found the first book much more compelling.

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult: I've read a few by her and really enjoyed this one. Picoult created a unique comic scenario that paralleled the story and added dimension to one of the central characters.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall in Northern MI

Summer has edged away and been replaced by falling amber leaves, breezes loaded with the sweet scent of foliage in decay and morning walks that call for mittens and wool socks. It is a transformative time for nature as she shrugs off the heavy boughs of summer and begins the slow crawl toward a long winter cleanse. We have frequent fires in our fireplace, spiced cherry wine and ample time to reflect on our own transformations as we too transition with the seasons. Driving down our street, I am renewed by the corridor of gold and red that flecks the leaves like a child's paint project en masse.

As for writing, it transitions as well with the seasons. Fall is a new beginning, it is also an end. Colder temperatures mean more time logged with this keyboard, more words into the world - hopefully some that make a difference - and less face time in the world when the snow drifts pile too deep for driving. All in all, I am embracing this time. The summer, though it is glorious, is packed with family, friends, lake outings, beach days, travel, festivals and more than seems humanly reasonable in a span of several months. It is often a long choppy break from writing, speckled with bursts of productivity, but surely bringing my average down.

On my other blog, I wrote about a conference that I recently attended and I will mention it here also. It is called the Great Lake Bioneers Conference and includes several days of amazing speakers beamed in from California as well as local speakers covering a range of critical topics from global warming to spousal abuse in India. The speakers are activists, a dying breed I fear, who have devoted their lives to informing people of our impact in the world. They are scientists, researchers, hippies, mothers, teachers and even children. One speaker, who was only sixteen, had a standing ovation for his pleas that his generation stand up and begin the changes that are necessary to bring harmony back to this planet. The conference also includes work shops. My husband and I had the pleasure of experiencing a Tibetan Bowl meditation with Mark Handler and having an open discussion about acceptance of painful world news with Diane Osborne. This conference revitalized my spirit and thus my writing for that, after all, is where the words come from.

As for more technical updates, I recently had a request from a small press to submit my manuscript for Ula. I finished the submission packet yesterday and sent it out. I have several queries circulating for Skidmarks on My Heart, my chick lit book. I just realized that I may not have mentioned the title here before and I chose it because it is a Go Go's song and my main character was named after their lead singer. I am also keeping a blog for Writers, which I update a couple of times a week with jobs and markets etc. I have not written many articles lately; however, I did have a rant published in Urban Garden Magazine which won my husband a turbo cloner. I will end this by listing a few good books that I have read lately below:)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson - Wow - non stop action - riveting
The Girl Who Played with Fire " " - Not finished, but so far very good, less action in beginning
Naked by David Sedaris - hilarious as usual with Sedaris

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Very Long Break

Yes, this may be the longest break that I have taken from the blog. Thus is the state of a Michigan summer. Though that implies that out of several months I never had time to write a single entry, which isn't true - I just haven't wanted to. In my previous blog I mentioned that my husband and I had moved and now we have moved again. I will not go into detail, but our previous choice turned out to be a bad one. However, we are now on the Leelanau Peninsula and it is spectacular. The dunes sit like our own distant desert just a mile away, we have water at our fingertips, a massive friendly porcupine frequents the backyard and Lake Michigan is so close that its smell permeates every breath.

On writing, I revised for the final time, Ula, and submitted it to a small web publisher that had previously requested a full. I have written a few articles here and there, but all in all, my writing has been stalled for the last couple of months. I did, however, write 3,500 words on my chic lit novel yesterday and feel another 5,000 words should wrap it up. Oh, what a glorious feeling to have a long project coming to a close. Not that finishing is anywhere near the end of the novel. I then have to revise it about 8 million times and then submit it 8 million more. But honestly, it's all quite enjoyable. The writing is the best, it's so much like reading that when I'm 'in it' I can go all day. So yes, that's a writing update. As for reading - I will make a quick list of some good stuff that I've read lately.

The Eagle and The Rose- Very inspiring true story of a medium. I found that it gave me a profound sense of peace.
The Dome- AMAZING- Stephen King is still the master as far as I am concerned.
The Kiss- A sad and disturbing memoir about a woman who observed her father's murder.
Nightmares and Dreamscapes- Another Stephen King - this is a fantastically macabre selection of short stories. They are great writing fodder.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Quickie

The world is still again. I have recently re-located to Fife Lake, lovely, and have finally, after a grueling battle to get satellite Internet, have begun writing again. Edits on Ula are slow, tedious and extremely rewarding. I have rewritten approx. the first 40 pages and added grammatical edits into the early 100's - thanks again to Michael, my editorial savior. The chic lit novel continues to waver in the low 60,000 word mark because I have been trying to get back to Demand Studios and get some articles done - which is not exactly easy when you have endless time and zero organization. On books, I just finished Pigs in Heaven (Barbara Kingsolver) - an amazing novel filled with her usual imagery. I also read Foxfire (Joyce Carol Oates) - true to her soul gripping narrative - I loved every page of it. Beyond that I'm slogging through Writer's Digest 101 Best websites, mostly to procrastinate, but also to add more useful sites to my bookmarks page, which now involves several minutes of scrolling to reach the bottom. That's it for writing updates, I believe. Au Revoir

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Eden of that dim lake

This morning the lake is a sheet of diamonds. The sun streaks onto it, lays flat its contours and reflects the most glorious image back to the sky. Perhaps this is nature's modern day sacrifice to the sun god Ra, surely it is pleased looking down on this splendor. The trees have begun their crawl from the deep shredded wood and cold roots back to the rawness of Springs air. Their tips have sprouted tiny colored buds that grow green with each passing morning that we walk the road to the woods nearby. I am surprised not to see birds diving for the water's surface, magpies scrambling to seize the faux diamonds blinking in and out of light like nighttime stars. I can imagine floating out there on a clear raft, allowing my fingers to trail the icy surface, prepared for the hard cut of the jewels that will not come. Diving beneath the water, down, and flipping to stare back at the sun that dives with me, that shoots like bullets into the tendrils of algae, flicks off the scales of otherwise colorless fish allowing them momentary glamour in their underwater world. The cats wander aimlessly, they face off at night with their tails bushed to maximum size and their backs arched, they race up and down the driveway, the hills, the road. They are so alive, they are alive like the grass clawing its way up from winters dirt bed, the ducks flapping their frantic wings to ward off those meandering too close to their nests, the flowers already folding back their vibrant waxen petals to draw the other creatures, the bee that will begin its codependent relationship for another heavenly summer.

This was a post from my journal in April, but it seemed appropriate for today as well. It has already been such a glorious summer and every day, even the gray ones, feel charged with energy. My writing has been going exceptionally well. Michael's edits have been tantamount to a massive re-write that I've undertaken in Ula (five thousand words today). I've been blogging for a realtor about things to do in Northern Michigan, which makes me want to run out and do all of those things. I've also been doing online articles again and have nearly reached 60,000 words in my chick lit novel. Been reading as well, but nothing I'll report just yet - oh - except for Writing Down the Bones, which I've read before, but am re-reading b/c it is spectacular.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back to Childhood

I just read an amazing post about the creativity of children and their ability to see the extraordinary within the ordinary (in this case a bed sheet). How true it is that children seem to view the world through a lens free of fear. They race blindly into the rain, down a hill, out the door. There is not judgement or pain or expectation clogging their thoughts, slowing their excitement or paralyzing their racing feet. In this world, this new one that my husband and I have somehow built, I am finally retrieving my childhood self. Like so many fleeting things, I forgot what it felt like to jump down sand dunes and cartwheel in the front yard and without guilt or thought do absolutely whatever I please. I hope that somehow more and more people awaken to the loss of their free selves, the selves that existed before school cliques, gender expectations, body image qualms and a million other tiny needling thoughts that mold us into something we never planned or wanted to become. It is not an easy road down from that high cliff of fear and guilt, but it is one that fulfills more than any job or relationship or bank balance. It is a place that begins in wonder and that changes every second of every day for the better, in my opinion, for the best.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some Scattered Thoughts

I just read through all of my previous posts - all of them. That may sound excessive, but to my delight I realized that this space - that no one except me (I think) ever reads has chronicled (some of) my life. Now this is not important in any grand way, but it does allow me the past. Here I can glance back at all of those oft forgotten steps that culminate in life. Not to imply that this is my only journal, it's not, but this is the only one focused entirely on my writing, which gives me that breadth of progress at least.

As for writing, I'm doing a lot of it. Today I wrote 10,000 words in a new chick lit novel that I've been working on for a couple months. I have passed the 35,000 word mark. My second novel Ula is, well, it's done and it's patiently waiting for me to write the sequel, which I have not begun because I have not found an agent or a publisher or a random guy on the street that will print it on his home computer and purchase it for more than a dollar. I am not truly this pessimistic about the state of my second book. I actually believe that I will publish it eventually. Right now, a teacher (Michael) at NMC is reading it for me. Does this mean progress? Maybe or maybe not. My time at the White Pine Press has sadly come to an end because it is a college paper and does not run during the summer and the fiction class that I signed up for was cancelled due to low enrollment, not a productive start to my week. I've received more rejections than I could list with my available web space, but honestly I view this all as progress, all those ridiculous fire rimmed hoops that you jump through before eating the bloody corpse at the end (I meant that much more eloquently). I've been reading a lot of Anne Rice, her Vampire Chronicles and am in total awe of any writer that can craft entire worlds of fantasy that nestle so sweetly here within this rigid reality that we call life. Did I mention that I really would like to be a vampire, the Anne Rice kind though specifically? I'm also reading the memoir Kiss which is equally enthralling and disturbing. What else have I read lately? Let's see... Black Girl White Girl by Joyce Carol Oates (exquisitely detailed characters as usual), Anatomy of the Spirit (not quite finished, but it is spiritually liberating), Max Berry's The Company (decent, but not amazing), The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (a future possibility?) and a bunch of others that slip my mind.

I feel that this post has been garbage. It's totally coagulated and now I am ending it without a single significant thought. How about this? Today has been the most glorious Spring day, perhaps of my life, and I bid it farewell with great reluctance.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Love Tea

It is Monday morning, which is insignificant to me because I have not had a regular job in over a year. In the beginning, days of the week still had meaning, now they don't. Mondays have been banished as a symbol of anxiety and trepidation. I do not wake up, rush the house in search of nylons, have a meltdown when my windshield is a frozen sea of snowflakes, drive like a manic an hour to work, spend eight hours drumming my fingernails and counting the minutes, only to end it all in another rush home to bed (more or less). Instead I wake (this morning at 5:48 AM), make tea (today it's green and black hibiscus), sit in the bathroom with my space heater (smallest room-easiest to heat), and work on whatever I want. Eventually I will eat (usually something that Will makes), workout or hike, and spend the rest of the day alternating between fiction writing, fiction reading, article writing, research, podcasts, drinking mass quantities of coffee, and querying. This, I believe, is how life is meant to be. So many of today's jobs are irrelevant. They are menial paper pushing positions that are super inflated by employers because no one really knows what the point of the company is. Like Insurance, for instance, which costs people a small fortune, wastes massive quantities of natural resources while powering buildings that pump out tons of useless paperwork daily, and creates no tangible product. Not only is it useless, it also sucks the lives from every employee who sacrifice their precious hours chasing a paycheck so meager that they dig a giant whole of debt to bury themselves in so that they don't have to face it head on. I have lived in that world, we all have I think, and it makes me extremely grateful for the world that I am in now.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Typed for Miles

It is January now, cold and snowy and blue. Alas the perfect weather for writing b/c frankly what else is there to do? So I finished the book about fifty times. Not really, but several revisions have come and gone so let's get down to updates. My husband and I attended a great writers conference at Northwest Michigan College in November. We learned about tropes, more about revisions and a bit about beginning the story in the action. Thus I reworked quite a bit of my first several chapters to focus on a few of these things. I also joined a writers group that is wonderful. My other members, Patrick and Jeph, are both working on really great fiction pieces that hopefully will show up at your local bookstore in the near future. I am also now writing for NMC's the White Pine Press and will be doing a piece in the next issue about Land Use Planning. I also received a request for a partial on my manuscript from an agent this week. YAY!!! Other than that I've been submitting short stories and piling up the rejections, oh what an eternally self esteem boosting career writing is.

About Me

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I am a freelance writer living in northern Michigan. My fiction novel Ula is under publication contract and I am currently writing the sequel. I also write a variety of other SEO articles, short stories and blogs.