New Book: America’s Emerging Writers Anthology

 

Hi all and happy holiday season. I apologize for disappearing for a bit, but the transition from my time in New Orleans to home in the midst of NaNoWriMo kicked by butt. It was all I could do to get my 50,000 word win, YAY. I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of things.

However, in all the craziness, I received an exciting email from Z Publishing House stating that out of more than 2,000 stories, they selected my story Almost Paradise to be part of their National Anthology.

I am so glad they were able to fix my typo that my friend, and awesome drummer for The Rubber Maids, Xiomara, caught in the Washington’s Emerging Writers anthology (floatilla, with an a, instead of flotilla had slipped past so many sets of eyes). Now the perfected version will see the light of day in America’s Emerging Writers Volume 2.

The cover of America's Emerging Writers Volume Two

Treat yourself to a wonderful collection of enthralling quick reads by talented authors from all across the USA.

I’m honored that my work was selected for placement amid such exciting work.

If you enjoy enthralling quick reads, I highly recommend treating yourself and the readers on your gift list to a copy.

Here’s the description of the anthology from Z Publishing House:

In America’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction, 127 of our favorite up-and-coming writers (representing all 50 states) join together to share their words. Covering a wide array of genres ranging from satire, mystery, comedy, literary fiction and more, these young talents will amaze you.

I hope you’ll treat yourself and/or someone you love to a copy today.

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

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#OctPoWriMo Day 13 Blitz Poem: If I Were You

Ex

Not Like You

Absolute ultimatum
Absolute end
End of an age
End of trust
Trust is everything
Trust betrayed
Betrayed our love
Betrayed and alone
Alone, far from home
Alone and afraid
Afraid of uncertainty
Afraid to discover
Discover yourself
Discover you were wrong
Wrong to believe
Wrong to deceive
Deceive your believer
Deceive with a smile
Smile through the pain
Smile while the heart breaks
Breaks barriers
Breaks in the story
Story twisted
Story old as time
Time selfishly stolen
Time to mourn
Mourn lost trust
Mourn our love
Love ripped away in a day
Love in a paper heart
Heart involuntarily tightens
Heart in pieces on the ground
Ground fell away
Ground into dust
Dust to dust
Dust in the wind
Wind chills
Wind of change
Change your ways
Change your mind
Mind your manners
Mind to consider
Consider your options
Consider how I feel
Feel the love
Feel for another
Another day in paradise
Another love lost
Lost
Paradise

#OctPoWriMo Day 11: Cascade – Falling Through The Cracks

cracks in the pavement

Forever In Need

Forward and back
forward and back
I follow you to your tiny world
a forest within a pavement crack

The alluring scent
guides you ever after
A trail of bodies in labor
forward and back

Forever in need
saving for winter’s cold
Famine or greed?
Forward and back

Fascinated, I hover,
adding extra lenses
Finally, on my belly
I follow you to your tiny world

Weed to a tree,
pebble becomes mountain
I lose a day in
a forest within a pavement crack

#OctPoWriMo Day 10: Dancing On Air

Dancing On The CloudsThis OctPoWriMo, I haven’t been as interested in working on poetry forms as I have in the past. However, today’s form, Con-Verse, appeals to me. Here’s my attempt:

She Knows They’re Watching

Flipping off her heals, releas-
ing her toes to the cool breeze

She bends her knees, loose hips swaying
Her skirt joins the music playing

Then she steps and her shoulders drop free
Her arms grow wild and reach out to me

I shake my head, but I’m already there
Dizzy and weightless, I move without care

Something is off. She isn’t looking at me.
I am part of a show for others to see.

OctPoWriMo Day 3: In Security

dancing in the rain sToday’s OctPoWriMo theme is Insecurity. It is a very fitting theme for my day.

In Security

A crushing blow of insecurity
Why again? The shock. My love wants free
I hope I feel the joy and release
“The single life,” he said with such ease

I see his view. Now I don’t have to care.
The next time he breaks, someone else can be there
The beginning’s the good part, no need to fall
I like the learning, not knowing it all.

But what if there’s no one, no match for me?
Doubt creeps into an obscured destiny
But I don’t have time for tears of self-pity
Not a second for his future self-loathing misery

I can embrace a bramble to feel secure upon a thorn, but
I’d rather dance in the pouring rain with a future freshly shorn.

The Rubber Maids Reunite Tonight! A show 20 years in the making.

The Rubber Maids reunite

I can’t believe I flew into New Orleans on Monday and I’ve already been on WWOZ and now the day of the show is here. It has been a whirlwind week of daily practice, costume sewing and promotion and yet somehow it feels so normal, like this is what we always do.

If you want to know more about how our group formed and such, we talked about it in our WWOZ interview . We start talking at 126.

Tonight’s show is going to be stuffed full of great music. I’m excited to be reuniting with friends from when we started: The Stacks and Egg Yolk Jubilee. David Rhoden from the stacks made this adorable animation to promote the show:

http://davidrhoden.com/news/2018/the-stacks-with-rubber-maids-and-eyj-this-saturday

Robin, lead singer/guitarist for The Rubber Maids got our recordings re-mastered and pressed to vinyl. The record sounds great and will be available to buy at the show.

The Rubber Maids at Siberia

And next week we’re doing it all again. We have a show at Poor Boys next Saturday. We’re going to play more shows while I’m here and we’ll be posting videos, so keep checking back.

Though my main focus today is music. Don’t forget OctPoWriMo starts on October first, so get your poetry chops prepped for a month of great prompts and poems.

 

 

Top 10 Reasons To Go To A Writers Conference

I recently attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference (PNWA18). I had a great experience. Here are my top ten reasons to attend a writers conference:

Cover Writing the Breakout Novel10. Autographs – At PNWA authors can buy a table in the “bookstore” to sell their books. There is an autograph party where you can meet the authors and ask them to sign their books. The week before the conference, a member of my critique group gave me a copy of Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level by Donald Maass. He didn’t know Mr. Maass would be at the conference, he just gave me the book out of the blue. I took itMaass Signature with me and was happy to see Donald Maass signing at the autograph party.

9. The speaker – This year’s speaker was R. L. Stine. His speech was funny and informative. He started off by reading letters he had received from children and followed up with some great advice. He said to always say yes to everything. He probably meant within reason, but I’ll leave that up to you. After his speech, he did a book signing. My friend Stevie was so excited to get her childhood Goosebumps book signed. It was a choose your own adventure about a mummy. I didn’t know he had done choose your own adventures. Mr. Stine was very kind and let people come behind the table for pictures.

8. Author panel – During one of the desserts, Robert Dugoni lead a hotseat style question and answer session with Donald Maass, Julia Quinn, Cat Rambo, and Christopher Vogler. They talked about how they got started and their careers. Mr. Dugoni did a great job of keeping it fun and lively.

7. Pitch fest pitch practice – This is a great opportunity at the beginning of the conference to meet other writers and hear about the stories they’ve written. Each round table has a coach to give feedback on your pitch, so it will be ready when you get your chance with the agents and editors.

Cover Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell6. Question and Answer sessions in your genre – This is a great opportunity to hear agents and authors talk about working in your genre. I volunteered to moderate the literary fiction section. The three agents who were looking for literary fiction talked about how they find and work with their authors, their favorite recent titles and gave great insider information about the literary journals they read when looking for new talent. Hint: Start reading Tin House.

5. Classes – One of the reasons writers really like the PNWA conference is that it focuses on the craft of writing. There are many great sessions to choose from. I got a lot out of “A Novel in Four Drafts” presented by Lindsay Schopfer and “Words Matter. Writing the Literary Novel” with Robert Dugoni.Dugoni signature

4. The agent and editor panels – This is a very important part of the conference. Finding the agents and editors most interested in stories like yours will help you make a successful pitch. It’s important to research the agents and editors before going to the conference, but even when you’ve done your homework, hearing the agents talk about what they’re looking for specifically gives you a much clearer picture if they will be a good fit for your work.

3. Pitching to agents and editors – Here’s the actual professional work of going to the conference, pitching your novel. If your manuscript is complete and polished, or you will have it polished by next year’s conference, I recommend buying the early-bird tickets as soon as they become available. The ticket is less expensive and comes with two pitch blocks. I think it’s important to have two pitch blocks because there is less pressure and if things do not go well in the first block, you can adjust your pitch and try again. Make sure your pitch is about 90 seconds long so there is time for questions. Include a quick description of your main character, the inciting incident and the crisis of your story, but don’t give away the ending.

2. Inspiration / Filling the well – Writing can be a very isolating and introspective vocation. Spending time with writers at every stage of their careers, listening to their personal stories and the stories they’ve written, and going to the sessions all help to get your creative juices flowing. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron calls this “filling the well.”

And the most important reason to go to a writers conference is . . .

1. Relationships with fellow authors – I have met some amazing people at PNWA. Meeting other writers online is nice, but it is not the same as meeting in person. There’s just no substitute. Make sure to make business cards that not only express something about your novel, but also show your personality. Make sure to include all of your online platform information and hand those cards out to everyone who will take one. Be open and have fun meeting everyone. The joy of going to a writers conference is the concentrated evidence that everyone has a unique story to tell. It’s amazing.

Getting excited? A good place to start is heading over to pnwa.org and becoming a member. Not in the pacific northwest? That’s okay. You can attend the meetings online and the conference is open to everyone. If you would like to find a conference closer to your hometown, I created a map of US conferences to get you started in your search.

Remember to support your local authors.

dVerse Poets Quadrille: Stacked Boxes

Today is Quadrille Monday over at the dVerse Poets Pub and De Jackson served up the word: box.

A photograph of large boxes stacked on smaller boxes

 

Stacked Boxes

Stacking larger boxes on small boxes
A heavy head bobbles upon a lilting middle, teetering on a poor foundation
Functioning intelligence, serpentine systems based on a corrupted piece of code
The hypocrisy covers lies told to disguise the fib
A whisper topples the tower.

dVerse Poets Quadrille: Puzzle

For anyone who has been following my writing adventure, you will not be surprised that “Puzzle” inspired me to write many poems. I wrote three dVerse Poet Quadrilles in the first 25 minute sprint of #MagicMon over on twitter. I am excited about this one.

pieces

Bronchial Birch Trees

I asked for the box because I need to see the corrupted result
Pieces will fit together, but not to my vision
My passion for this puzzle used to excite me into the night
I can’t open this mangled mutation of my aborted dream.

 

Plotting with Tarot: Interpretation for a friend-The Perfect Romance Plot

This is fun! My friend Diana Rose Wilson was having a bout of writer’s block, so I mentioned trying plotting with Tarot to get some ideas. She tried it, said it took her down a rabbit’s hole and gave up, but said I could go ahead and interpret her spread. I decided to give it a try, thinking it might be fun to see if someone else’s spread might inspire a scene for me as well since the cards are interpretive symbols with immeasurable possible interpretations.

awesome notebooks

I decided to make this the first entry in my I Regret Nothing Journal from The Mincing Mockingbird & The Fantic Meerkat (I love these journals) and wrote down each of Diana’s cards and positions. Many of the cards she pulled were reversed which I found interesting. While doing this, I noticed she was missing a card for a Celtic Cross which looked like her intended form, so I pulled out my hand-made Tarot cards and found the cards she had pulled, put them in order she would have pulled her spread and then started shuffling and cutting for her final card.

I shuffled and cut my deck three times while thinking, What would be the last card in Diana’s spread and What would the outcome be for Diana’s story? Believe it or not, the top card after the final shuffle and cut was The Lovers. Perfect.

 

romance plot spread.jpg

I grabbed my copy of Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, turned to page 75 (Note: after I published this post, I found out that Mark Teppo’s book is in second edition with significant additions, so that page number may not be the same in your book) and started my plot interpretation. During my first exploration of the Tarot last fall, I found that I liked using Teach Me Tarot for online interpretations, so I went to the site and started with Diana’s first card, The Ten of Pentacles in the search bar. The great thing about Teach Me Tarot is it thoroughly explores the upright and reversed positions for every card. Because I am using this for fiction plotting, I can pick and choose which aspects of the card, in the given position, are exciting to me for a plot-line.

Now that you know the tools I used for my interpretation, I’m going to give you my interpretation of the entire spread as a story plot. If you would like further instruction of how I came up with this interpretation, I highly recommend getting a copy of Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch, and reading my blog posts from November 2017.

Now. With no further build up . . . Drum roll please . . .

♥ Diana’s Most Amazing And Useful Romance Novel Plot! ♥

Your protagonist is wealthy on many levels: from a wealthy family and a well-known family name, may have old money or be “self-made” through hard work. S/he is from a close-knit, tight family unit and follows family traditions and customs. This protagonist starts out having it all, but something from the past threatens his/her happiness. Something from the past: a person, a document, a memory threatens to destroy this perfect life.

The story begins with the protagonist facing doubts and fears that something isn’t right. S/he wishes to let go and enjoy/reap the good life, but worries it is too good to be true. Whatever threat from the past has come to light (family, business, family secrets, blackmail, old business partner, old school friend, old lover, inheritance, current relationship falling apart, etc.), the protagonist has dug in his/her heels and stubbornly refuses to negotiate or compromise. There is a good chance that s/he is wrong, but pride/ego/family name is in the way. The protagonist becomes awkward and difficult, determined to keep the battle/conflict going. S/he will lose any honesty s/he had, willing to call black white to disagree on almost every item.

The protagonist wishes s/he could walk away, but because of original home/wealth/happiness, can’t. S/he wishes for space and time to think, to come up with a new approach, but is constantly pressured. S/he wants to find a way to be free from blame for every horror s/he is discovering created the wealth s/he enjoyed. And/or wants to know who is causing the unrest (blackmail/threats). And/or wants to come clean about past (family, business, secrets).

The protagonist makes an attempt create distance from the situation; makes a move from turbulent seas to calmer waters where s/he finds belief in self and sense of purpose. This is where the protagonist recognizes/discovers love for another.

No matter what this protagonist does, s/he is still a representative of the family s/he was born into, thus people see a person who: earned a place on the winners podium; earned success because s/he learned vital lessons of life; has balance in life and success that will be long term. This perception feels hypocritical and difficult through his/her changing reality.

The protagonist must overcome the past and transform into a lover. The love interest, met earlier, helps in discovery and realization with a sharp wit and intelligence. S/he sees through the wealth and prestige to her/his heart. This lover helps the protagonist to rise above the conflict and trouble. As lovers, they find the truth.

The protagonist finally finds real love–has changed from being selfish and entitled to someone who listens to needs, desires feelings, likes and dislikes and knows how to communicate his/her own. Through this change the protagonist finds balance and harmony in relationship and life.

The End

And there you have it–a delicious romance plot outline that you can use over and over again–from only one Celtic Cross Tarot Spread. Why do I think this is so fun? Because using this plot I already came up with these elevator pitches:

A young heiress, happily living in the lap of luxury, finds out she has been promised to her father’s business partner. Unless she can find proof that an accidental death that occurred before she was born wasn’t her father’s fault, she will have to marry a man she loathes, or her family will lose everything. With the help of a childhood friend, she delves into her family history finding more than her heart can hold.

A Pop-Star in the middle of a world-wide tour finds out that her manager has stolen all of her money and disappeared. Not able, or willing to return to her hyper-religious family who has “dis-owned” her,  she ends up in a dive-bar in a small southern town where she sings on a bar-stool for tips. When a disgruntled lawyer gets lost and finds her way to her arms, she promises to help her get her life back.

A young developer thinks he has it all: wealth, property, a thriving business and the best name to use as a brand all over the world. When his father dies, he expects everything to smoothly continue into his wonderful future, but the will is cryptic and suddenly he has to face the questions of how his immigrant grandfather made his money. The business runs itself, or at least stays still while he tries to follow his father’s odd clues that lead him to a mysterious woman and a new understanding of himself.

Like I said, this is fun. I came up with those in the last 15 minutes. They’re not great or anything, but they have what you need to start an intriguing romance novel (imho).

Diana mentioned she might read this interpretation and write a companion piece, so keep your eyes on her website.

Happy Reading and Writing!