Archive for August, 2014

The Smokelong Journey

Yesterday my flash piece, Susquehanna Blessing, was published at Smokelong Weekly. This was especially gratifying as I was able to select my very talented friend, Aeravi Link, as the illustrator. I have two of her paintings hanging in my house, but was happy to provide more exposure for her often frightening, always colorful and imaginative work.

Over the years, other writers I’ve worked with have been published in this well-respected journal, including my critique group partner, Saytchyn Maddux-Creech. I also was a participant in an online writing workshop conducted by Mike Czyzniejewski. Fellow workshop participant, and editor of the now-retired Camera Obscura, M.E. Parker, also has been published in this journal. I am honored to join their ranks.

Please take a moment admire Aeravi’s artwork and read my piece. As the journal title implies, it shouldn’t take any longer than it does to smoke a cigarette.


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Recommending WFWA as a Great Information Source.

I just read a long and interesting blog post on types of critique groups. I especially appreciated this post because one of Anne R. Allen’s three main points of advice is to “consider the source” when you are deciding what weight to put on specific comments. For years, I’ve been loathe to enter writing contests and ask for a critique, for this very reason–I don’t know who is doing the scoring and making the suggestions. Is it an elderly woman who writes poetry for her cat or a twelve year old writing space opera? To me, it matters. Of course, either of those two could give very sage advice, but it might not fit the type of story I write.

I needed some sort of visual, didn’t I?

My post today isn’t about critique groups or writing contests, but about the large organizations writers belong to. I’ve recently joined the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. My favorite part of this group is the Industry News they send out to members every Sunday. This digest includes links to blogs and articles on publishing, craft, agents, marketing, and other topics. Quite possibly this digest alone is worth the cost of joining this association. (I suppose, in the interest of “full disclosure,” I should mention that a post from this blog was referenced a few weeks ago. It certainly increased my readership, if only for that week.) The blog on critique groups mentioned above was one of the suggested reads yesterday.

If you happen to write something that might be called women’s fiction, you might consider joining this organization. Started only last year, there are already close to 350 members, including agents such as Donald Maass and a number of published authors. The group is planning a retreat for fall of 2015 and has offered numerous online workshops.

I also belong to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I’ve belonged to this local/state group on and off for years. They offer workshops in the Denver area and on the Western Slope, as well as online. Other resources include a blog and a monthly newsletter, plus a yearly conference, which is being held Sept 5-7 this year. According to an email sent this morning, there are only 49 slots left for the conference.

RMFW offers critique groups both in person and online. I attended a few meetings of a local group through RMFW a number of years ago, but the process they used didn’t work well for me. I do believe a woman who was in attendance at the first meeting I visited has gone on to be a well-known fantasy writer, so obviously the critique method works for others. The WFWA is in the process of setting up more online critique partnerships or groups.

There are numerous other local, state, or national writing organizations that provide different services. What writing organizations do you belong to? What do they offer, and which would you recommend?

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Retitling the Blog–Possibilites? Choices?

Painting by Aeravi. No relation to the post, other than it captures the feeling of some of the blog title possibilities.

I originally called this blog Cuisine of Loneliness because that was the title of my work in progress.

It might not have been a smart move to name a blog after a working title. If published, the title could be changed, or I very well might be trying to publish other works. Did I want to shop around a manuscript called Trillium Lie and reference a blog named Cuisine of Loneliness? I wanted to get going with blogging and thought I’d use that moniker to get set up. Almost a year later and I still have that title attached to this blog. Why? I hadn’t come up with anything else.

At one point I was going to do a blog called Writer in the Middle. Somewhere on the Internet there is a blog with that title. It was going to be the blog for my writing group, WURDZ. I don’t recall how we selected the letters, but according to my post, at first we had Turdz. As you can imagine, we changed that immediately! We each made up a statement to fit the acronym. Of the two that were mentioned on our blog, one member chose Writer Under the Rule of the Dream Zone. She writes fantasy. When it was pointed out to me that I had a t in place of the d–I believe I have some very mild dyslexia–I came up with Writing Ultimately Raises Details of Zeugma. (How many Z words can you come up with that have some relationship to writing?)

The WURDZ blog was titled Writer in the Middle. Apparently it didn’t even reach my dreaded fourth post. For many reasons, I still like that as the name for a blog. Some reasons that fit for the group included, we live in the middle of the country and we’re sort of middle-aged. It works for me because I’m in the middle of figuring out if I’m a women’s fiction writer, although I believe I write in the space between literary and mainstream. I’ve got a manuscript titled Man in the Middle. I’m in the middle of manuscripts, as well as mid-career.

Just now, while proofing this post, The Space Between popped up as an idea. There do seem to be a few blogs that have a rift on this name so I’d probably have to call it The Space Between: Literary and Mainstream, or some  other variation.

Recently I was thinking about the college application process. When I was looking for schools, the advice was to apply to three colleges and make one your safety school. Immediately a new name occurred to me, one that struck me as a metaphor for my life, at least as far as writing and career are concerned. Wait-listed at My Safety School! For me, that is a more unique way of saying, “Never the bride, always the bridesmaid,” or something equivalent. Many will view that as negative, but I think it is hilarious. Isn’t laughing at yourself and your plight a positive? For the record, I was accepted at Union College in Schenectady, a highly ranked private school currently boasting the #1 college hockey team in the nation. I’ve always been very happy with that choice.

For a moment I panicked. Last month I finally had some business cards made, and I couldn’t remember if I’d put a blog name on it. Luckily, I didn’t, only my url.

Which blog title would you choose? Writer in the Middle, Wait-listed at My Safety School, or The Space Between? Any other suggestions?


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