It’s been a crazy two months with trips, conventions, a house guest, and just the push and pull of life. I finally feel a bit more balanced and words are once again pouring through my fingers. Part of that is undoubtedly that I am settling down from traveling and that I’ve adjusted to living with an additional person. Part of it is that I am getting more sleep. And part of it that mysterious force in our lives that defies explanation and can’t be captured or bottled.
I went back to Zen. I won’t be a regular, but I do enjoy meditation with others.
I’ve also rejoined the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. I plan to use it as a quiet place of beauty where I can go and write or think and walk. My writing group had a lovely time last month dressing posh and writing erotica there. I called it exhibitionism for introverts, which is to say that we were embarrassed but no one realized what we were doing. Above you can see a photo I snapped of Max writing erotica in front of one of the pictures in the gallery dressed in my hat. It was enchanting. Max is so wonderfully photogenic.
Writing and Learning
I’m finishing up WMG’s Endings course and will be starting the Writing Into the Dark course. Despite the fact that I find literary analysis easier than writing, I still find the analysis courses not as much fun as the writing courses, so I’m looking forward to starting the Writing Into the Dark course.
The Great Challenge!
I’ve joined Dean Wesley Smith’s Great Challenge and I’m engulfed in excitement and nervousness. The Challenge is to write a complete 2000+ word short story and turn it in each week by Sunday night. If I can do this for six months, I will win a prize. If I can do it for a year I will win an amazing prize. Dean says that I don’t have to start when the lessons start to drop (April 14) and Steve is urging me to wait until May 10 when my personal distraction will have left and when his semester is over. So I may do that. In the meantime, I’m trying to get back to writing every day (at least 444 words) and trying to get some short stories finished this month..
Short Story Challenges
I’m working on several pirate-focused short stories for the Superstars pirate anthology. I’m allowed to submit two previously unpublished short stories featuring pirates or theft. I have three that I am working on. Two are set in the ancient world. One is urban fantasy. None are done yet, though they are due by the end of April.
My mother liked my short story Dangerous Goods Done Dirt Cheap, saying she’d never read anything like it. That gives me hope that someone might find it interesting enough to publish. It’s hanging out at Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine where it has been since January. They’re listing a 6-month reading time, so it will be a wait. I am also waiting to hear about Djinn Fizz, which I sent to the Writers of the Future contest. I don’t expect to hear from them until June, either. Of course, that means that I need to send more stories out.
Short stories completed in 2019
- “Made of the Future” First draft 4,217 words
- “The Cat Ate My Naked Shorts” First draft 3572 words
- “Dangerous Goods Done Dirt Cheap” Final Submitted 4695 words
- “Djinn Fizz” First draft 3702 words
Favorite Short Reads
“Four Billion Years of Solitude” by Alex P. Berg from Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath In this story, we are pulled into the life of a scientist probing the ice of Europa and her quest to see what lies beneath. We experience her fear. The end of this story caused me to tingle all over. I had to close the book because I didn’t want anything else in my mind afterwards. I wanted to savor this story. Highly recommended.
Worked on metaphors and similes in my novel.
Eating veggies and trying to get 10,000 steps a day. It’s been up and down.
Time for Gratitude!
Every week I experience things that make me better and that I’m grateful for. Some are books, podcasts, websites, or videos. Some are simple experiences. I share them here.
The Power of Empathy:
We must be able to feel in order to write meaningfully and create living characters. So, empathy is a key attribute of the fiction writer. This article by a clinical psychologist on the distinction between sympathy and empathy and how those with disorders experience emotions came at a good time for me and gives me much to think about. I know that my own empathy has grown as my writing has progressed.