Friday, September 27, 2013

Things that Did Not Happen this Summer (and Some Things that Did)

I did not fall off the face of the Earth.  Neither did I get kidnapped, develop amnesia, or have my laptop stolen (knock wood).  However, I did have a summer so filled with change that it resulted in me publishing, The Collector, the first in a short story series.  It also resulted in my family selling our house and moving!  And about a week ago, I was informed that my short story "A Sort of Homecoming" would be included in Spark: A Creative Anthology, Vol. IV (due out in January 2014).  With my list of publications growing, I decided that this would be a good time to get my on-line house in order and make a move.  If you are interested in continuing with me on my journey, you can follow me here. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How I Learned Humility...the Power of Friends

My forty-first birthday is later this week, and I realized that I had still done nothing courageous.  Sure, I had been writing, and I got a few short stories sold/published, and I had written more articles than I care to recall, but I had not done anything BIG.  I felt like I was running out of time.  So, on a whim (yeah, whims do tend to spur me to action), I went ahead and did something scary; I took one of my short stories, "The Collector," and I put it up on Amazon. 

It takes about twelve hours for a story to show up in the Amazon store, so I couldn't immediately chicken out.  I was in limbo.  So, I waited.  The next morning, after a fitful night's sleep with nightmares involving typos and missing text, I woke up around 4 a.m. and headed to the computer. 

There it was.

The Collector

I resisted the urge to take it down before anyone saw it.  (Um...yeah.  That would kinda defeat the purpose!)

I went to work as usual, but I didn't mention this act of insanity right away.  By lunch time, however, I started to let people in on what I had done.  The reaction was immediate...fierce...and humbling. 

Within a few hours, the Facebook share-fest had begun.  Friends, and friends of friends, and then people I didn't even know where sharing links to my story.  Soon, a review had been posted on Amazon.  Some friends pinned my book cover on their Pinterest page.  Others tweeted about the story.  Every repost, retweet, and email was appreciated.  All the messages and calls meant so much!

More than once I thought about Amanda Palmer.  I thought about how vulnerable it makes you feel to put a piece of yourself out into the world, about how hard it is to ask for help, but how vital it is that we DO share, and we DO ask. 

So, I am asking.  If you have not read "The Collector," please take a minute to download it.  It is a short read (less than 6,000 words) that combines Southern Gothic and Horror.  It is part Firestarter and part Fried Green Tomatoes, or at least that is what it feels like to me.  Read it for yourself, and let me know what you think.  Leave a comment, send me an email, write a review on Amazon, or on your blog.  Share the story with others. 

"The Collector" is the first in a collection of stories.  When ten year old Junie Rae Campbell wakes up in the parking lot of a seedy motel, and her mother is found dead inside, she has no choice but to go with the social worker who comes to collect her and take her to the tiny, sun-baked Oklahoma town of Crankston’s Landing to live with Granny Enid. But when lies and lechery threaten Junie and the people she has latched onto, secrets are exposed, untapped abilities reemerge…and a weapon for vengeance is born.

If you want to find out more about Junie Rae, you can buy the story here.  If you don't have a Kindle, you can still download the story to your computer, or read it on your phone with the free Kindle Reader App for phones and tablets.  If your budget is strained but you have Amazon Prime, feel free to borrow the story from the Amazon's Kindle Owner's Lending Library. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Well, (gulp!) I did it...

I uploaded my short story "The Collector" to Amazon.  It should be available in about 12 hours.  Until then, I plan on alternating between feelings of exhilaration and nausea.  I will let you know which one finally wins...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Storm, Reading Aloud, and the Inevitable Oopsies.

When you grow up in a part of the country known as "Tornado Alley," you kind of get numb to nature's danger.  Every now and then, though, it seems nature seems to sense this, and she rages and storms just to remind you that you aren't in charge, and you aren't indestructible, and that your plans mean nothing in the Grand Scheme of Things.

I had planned to edit tonight, but instead I rushed home from work to make sure the kids were safe (they were).  After a quick dinner provided by my mom and dad--for which I am thankful (especially since the storm meant no quick trip to the store to restock my bare cupboards), I sat down to read my latest short story aloud in search of The Inevitable Oopsies. 

No matter how hard I try to edit, it seems that something manages slip through.  However, reading aloud makes me slow down (I am a crazy quick reader), listen for changes in tone or voice, makes me pay attention to inconsistencies and plot holes.  It also results in me taking on the voice--the tone, inflection, and vocal mannerisms--of my characters.  This can be a bit tough to shake and creates the illusion of delusion.

I had just nestled down to immerse myself in my delusions when: BOOM, zzaaaaaaapppp, silence; the electricity went out.

After much cussing, I gathered enough candles and flashlights to illuminate the room well enough to read.  I was shocked at how much more I noticed when I read aloud.  It forced me to focus on the work.  Distractions fell away, and the story consumed me.

I made notes, and once the lights came back on I made the changes on the computer, as well.  Now I will set it aside a while longer.  A story needs time to steep--like tea.

Also, my hand needs a break.  All this typing is taking its toll...Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and tendonitis. 

So for the next few days, I will write and edit and read aloud.  I will wait to see if the ginger agent ever responds, and I will send off finished stories and start new ones.

More storms are predicted for tomorrow, so there may be more candles in my future--but even if the storms hold off I might just light a candle anyway--for being safe, and feeling happy about a story, and prayin' that the story might be the one that tips the scales in my favor. 

For those that have read the short story, and offered comments and suggestions, who have kept reading and following me in this journey, who have bolstered my spirits and made me feel like I can do anything...I thank you. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good Lord, What Have I Done?

Let me begin by saying that it seemed like a perfectly good idea at the time.  For some reason, I happened to clink on an email that I had absolutely no time to read.  But I did read it.  It was from Writers' Digest, and it mentioned new agents who were accepting submissions.  I scanned the various agents.  One stood out.  Perhaps it was the red hair...I do have an affinity for other gingers.  Perhaps it was because he was from the South.  Maybe it was because he mentioned story collections.  No idea, but I decided to send off some stories.  Just to know?  Sometimes you feel so...compelled to follow a notion through to the end. 

Which would be all well and good, except I can be a bit...impetuous.  I have a tendency to run and jump, simply believing that the world will reach out and catch me.  (This is not to say that I haven't fallen on my face a time to two.)

So...I did it.  I wrote some blathering thing and included two partials, and I hit "send."  Then...I panicked.  Oh no!  But it had seemed like such a good idea.  Suddenly, I feel like I am back in elementary school--with home-cut bangs and braces and glasses.  What I pride as being "fun" and "quirky" just feels...silly.   

The doubt sets in.

That thing I wrote...the one that I was so proud of...what if it is total crap?  What if the beta readers lied?  What if no one had the heart to tell me?  And why the hell didn't I think any of this until I hit the "send" button?

It doesn't matter that I have sold some stories...the doubt doesn't go away.  I don't know if it ever does.  I wonder if other writers, writers whom I admire, feel the same nagging sense of inadequacy?  I think about the thing Amanda Palmer said about the fraud police.  I try to catch my breath, which seems to have seeped out of my lungs and shows no sign of returning.  I lean over and put my head between my legs to quell the spinning room and overwhelming desire to puke. 

I try to remember everything I have ever heard or read by anyone whom I have ever admired about self-doubt and the creative process.  Then I remember...

Make Good Art...   

...and the air returned to my lungs.

Maybe I did act impetuously.  Perhaps I will never be as proper or professional as some writers.  I will always retain a bit of the girl with the home-cut bangs and the glasses.  Perhaps I will always doubt myself...but I don't doubt my stories, or the people who inhabit them.  I don't doubt the voice inside me that wants to be heard.

Ask me again, though, next time I hit that "send" button.  I might not sound so brave then.

What about you?  Do you feel like the Fraud Police are waiting to expose you?  How do you cope with the doubt after you hit the "send" button?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Life...and Other Creepy Things

Life has been busy and scramble-y lately.  The kiddos have been having lots of “end of school year” stuff going on, and I have been writing…a LOT.  In fact, I sold another short story!  The story is called “Call for Courage” and will be appearing late this summer/early autumn in Page & Spine.    I will shout about it more when it comes out, in case you want to head over and check it out. 

I finished the story I was working on for the “Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction.”  I read, reread it, revised it and tampered with it so much that I’m pretty sure the image of the words are burned on my retinas. 

I just finished a draft of the story I plan to submit to the NPR Three Minute Fiction Contest later this week.  (Incidentally, the story I just sold was originally written as an entry into a previous Three Minute Fiction Contest!) 
I have also just realized that a lot of my stories creep me out.  I am not sure what this says about me, but it is true.  I don't actually read a lot of horror--unless you count the news headlines.   

So, tell me…what kinds of stories do you like to read?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's the Little Things

Admittedly, there are times when you have to take a leap of faith.  Sometimes, you just have to jump.  But other times...well, other times you don’t necessarily jump—more like you get pushed.  Life can be a bit of a bully that way.  Everything comes at you at once, and you find yourself in a free fall.  These are the times when you realize who really cares.  Sometimes they catch sight of you in the moments before your fall, and they rush to prepare a soft place for you to land.  They do this without speaking a word.  They do it without expectation. 

This week, my youngest has been having severe asthma problems.  Every day this week he has had to be picked up early from school because, despite his medications, he simply can’t get enough air.  He went to the doctor yesterday.  We are heading there again today.  Even as I type this, I know that prayers, good thoughts and intentions, and blessings are being said for him.  The people in my life, and on my blog, are just amazing like that.   

This morning, I had to get gasoline before I began the 1.5 hour trek to get all the kids to school and/or bus stops.  I was in a hurry, and I ran out without breakfast, and without preparing a drink to take to work.  (I refuse to spend $1.65 for a soda in the machine!  Besides, I didn’t have any cash on me.)  When I got to work, I found a stray packet of water flavoring in my desk drawer.  SCORE!  That got me through the morning.

When I rounded the corner at work, a friend asked, “You can eat bagels, right?  Someone brought bagels.  They are in the kitchen.”  BREAKFAST!  I couldn’t believe my luck. 

A bit later, when the school called, I hurried to call his doctor.  The nurse told me they had JUST had a cancellation and could get us in.  WIN!

With all the doctor’s appointments and emergency school runs this week, I had not found time to get groceries.  As a result, things are pretty “Old Mother Hubbard” at my house.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do about dinner.  In fact, it has been weighing on me all morning.  Takeout is rarely an option—besides being stupid expensive, it is also problematic due to all the food allergies in our house.  As I pondered this, the phone rang.  My mom had just been to a big Grand Opening Sale at a local store and got some good deals.  “I picked you up some—“ she began, then rattled off enough food to feed the family until the weekend.  YES!

And, just now, as I heated up some leftovers that I had stashed in the office ‘fridge, my dear friend popped her head in, “I am running out, do  you want anything?”  I thought of my now-empty glass at my desk, and nearly cried.  “Caffeine?” I whispered, almost afraid to hope.  She would laugh if she read this, because I am sure she didn't give her act of kindness a second thought, but for me it meant a lot.  The little things always mean so much more than you realize.    

In a bit I will leave to meet my son at the doctor.  I am worried.  So, here is hoping for a bit more good news, just one more blessing. 

Have you ever had a day when it felt like something was watching out for you--whether God, the Universe, or friends, or family? 

World Book Night Book WINNERS!

As promised, here are the winners of the World Book Night Book Giveaway:

1.  Lauren Gilbert
2.  Janie Franz
3. Sheena-kay Graham

Also, because there was a lot of sharing going on, I decided to give away several additional copies of the book.  So emrose415 and mittensmorgul, you get a copy, too.  To receive your copy, please email me, within the next seven (7) days, at gingerlovinmind (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know the address where you want it sent. 

I appreciate everyone who shared and spread the word.

So, 'fess up, what how did you celebrate World Book Night?


Monday, April 22, 2013

World Book Night Give Away: A Handmaid's Tale

April 23rd is WORLD BOOK NIGHT.  This is my second year as a Book Giver, and I am getting excited about the idea of handing over free books, with no strings attached, to unsuspecting people.  As its website explains, "World Book Night U.S. is a celebration of books and reading held on April 23, when 25,000 passionate volunteers across America give a total of half a million books within their communities to those who don’t regularly read. In 2012, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany and saw over 80,000 people gift more than 2.5 million books."

I am proud to be a World Book Night giver again this year, and I will be giving away "The Handmaid's Tale," by Margaret Atwood.  To celebrate, I will be giving away three (3) copies of the book here on my blog.  If you are interested in winning one of the copies, all you need to do to enter is to share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr and then let me know in the comments below.  Three winners will be chosen at random, and I will announce the winners on April 24th and you will have one week to email me your address for mailing.  Any unclaimed books will be donated to the local shelter.
If you haven't already read the book, here is the teaser from the World Book Night page:

 In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now....

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once a scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force for the mature and adventurous reader.
I gave away several books on my blog last year, and I also handed out free copies on my lunch hour to strangers walking around downtown.  It is amazing the suspicion that free things evoke in people.  So many seemed scared to accept a free gift.  Some refused it.  Others, however, lit up when I approached them.  Maybe I was the first person to acknowledge them, to actually see them in a long while. 

So many people seemed to walk with their heads down, reluctant to make eye contact, their hands preoccupied with electronic devices or stuffed defensively in their pockets.  Just getting them to look up took and engage took a herculean effort.  But when they finally did slow down and look up, they seemed eager to talk, to receive my gift and to give back with their time, their own stories, a few even gave hugs--so desperate for human contact. 

See, it isn't so hard, this give and take.  We just forgot how.  We have to relearn--to start somewhere. 

This is my somewhere. 

So take a minute to enter, chose a book to curl up with tomorrow to celebrate World Book Night, and add a comment to share how you plan to celebrate World Book Night and the gift of reading!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Winds are Changing

One for sorrow, two for joy...
The winds are changing—and I am not just talking about this freakish Oklahoma weather.  I mean my life—my direction.  I am finishing up a longish short-story.  It has a sort of Southern Gothic feel, which I had been wanting to try, and it also allows me to indulge in my fascination with creepy nursery rhymes, crows, strange people, and small towns. 
Once it is completed, and fretted over, and polished, I will go about all the little details required to make it available on Amazon.  But, before then, I will be launching the new website.  I wanted a place to share some short stories, house my blog, share links to others stories and books available for purchase.  Basically, I wanted a home for my writing life. 

Being a nosy sort, I wonder what people like on a website.  Personally, I like the snippets and bits of the writing life.  I like a glimpse into the process, into the inspiration, into the wins and almost-wins…and the losses that feel like will keep us forever rooting in “what if” only to turn into an even greater opportunity.  I like photos and drawings, quotes and songs, and I like to feel like I am there as the art emerges.

I love it when writers share things, like J. K. Rowling’s handwritten notes to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Or when Neil Gaiman gives me a peek at his new book covers, or his lovely yet ailing cat, Princess, or his take on the writing life.    I guess I just like to feel included.

What about you?  What do you like for writers to share on their website?  What interests you?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Evolution of Dreams...and the Art of Asking

Things don’t always happen the way we expect or in the order we anticipate.  Plans get derailed, dreams get sidelined, but sometimes—if we are lucky—the reality turns out to be even better than what we originally hoped for. 

My novel is still in the works, but it is really difficult for me to work on a piece that relies so heavily on continuity when I can only carve out small blocks of time.  Between work, and family, cleaning, and carpooling, and writing articles for extra income—well, it can be nearly impossible to sit down, reorient myself, remember where I left off and where I was going, find my voice, and get down a reasonable number of words before I doze off at my keyboard. 

However, I have been writing several short stories.  Some I wrote for contests, some to submit to magazines or journals, and others I wrote because they would not shut up until I did.  Last week, I glanced over the files of short stories that cluttered my computer.  I didn’t realize how many I had amassed or the spectrum they covered:  Southern Gothic, science fiction, horror, mystery….

About that same time, I read that Amazon had a new imprint.  I read a little further and realized that it was geared toward short stories.  Apparently, short stories are enjoying a renaissance  Whether it is due to time constraints or decreased attention spans, I have no idea—but the timing couldn’t be better!

Now, I am not always the most observant person in the world (a hardship for a writer, I know), but I don’t need a pile of books to fall on my head for me to wonder if perhaps—just perhaps—this is a sign.  

Even if it isn’t a sign, I am going to pretend it is. 

I am going to release some single short stories as well as a collection on Amazon.  As things get closer, I will need your help—help choosing a book cover and possibly the title.  I will need help getting word out.  If you decide to purchase a story, or the collection, perhaps you will also consider helping out by writing an honest review sharing your thoughts and impressions.  You can help by spreading the word (once there is more word to spread).  And you can help with your presence, your encouragement, and your well-wishes--they really do keep me going.

I feel a bit like Amanda Palmer (but with eyebrows and pathetic singing voice) humbly asking that you share in this dream with me.  If you have not seen her TED Talk, you should. 
Asking for help is scary and risky and…liberating.

 I will let you know as things get closer, because I when I jump…I’m going to need someone to catch me! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crazy Familiar

My life has been taken over by short stories.  Flash fiction, longer pieces, snippets that are on hold... and one special piece. 

The special piece is a Southern Gothic short story that I hope to finish in time to enter in a contest.  The deadline is April 30th, and I have a lot of crazy to pack into those pages before it will be ready to go.

I might have mentioned that my family has certain Southern Gothic attributes that may have contributed to my writing.  I definitely feel a need to memorialize the colorful quirkiness that so many try to stomp out of themselves.  I prefer to embrace it.

So I am both eager and terrified to actually be weaving together these bits of crazy.  I need to write at least 500 words per day for the next 10-14 days, and then spend the rest of the time available on re-writes and panic attacks.

Writers have such a glamorous life.  Glamorous and crazy.  See--Southern Gothic!

I have always loved Southern Gothic.  It just felt...familiar.

What about you?  What genres do you gravitate toward?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

More Things I Suck At...Involves Juggling and Dogs

Because I am horrible at juggling all this life stuff, I never got around to posting the link to my guest blog over at Cordelia Calls it Quits.  For those interested, I blogged about my obsession with following tragedies.  I really do think it has something to do with being a writer, and the fact that I can't stop until I reach the end of the story.  The problem is, some stories have no end.  As the tale unfolds, its reach continues and touches more than the initial protagonist and antagonist.  Minor characters pick up the story and carry it with them in another direction, having been colored by the imprint left by the events. 

It is the same when I research something for a story.  I get so caught up in the details and the tangents that I end up on the periphery staring back at my starting point, quite unsure exactly how I got from there to here, then retracing my steps.

I am horrible at juggling.  I get too caught up in the fact that I am actually juggling that I end up dropping all the balls once I realize that I am actually doing it.  Maybe if I don't pay too much attention to it, I will manage it better.

This is not my puppy,
but he sure is handsome.
Since I don't have quite enough on my plate, I think I am about to give in to my herd's family's desire to add another dog into the mix.  Apparently our beagle is lonely and desperately needs a German Shepherd puppy to keep her company, or at least that is what my little ragamuffins are claiming.  I realize that this is an insane idea that will take up even more of my time and chances are good that I will go ahead and do it. 

After all, when you are terrible at something the only way to get better is to keep trying, right?

How are you at juggling life?  Are you getting better at it, or are you just better at accepting it?

Saturday, February 16, 2013


If you have not already stumbled on it, there is a wonderful website called Cordelia Calls It Quits, which is the brainchild of the talented Kelly Gurnett.  Kelly decided to quit settling and to reclaim her life.  (More power to her!)  There is a feature on the site called the Quit List, where Kelly and her readers share what they are quitting.  I am proud to announce that my personal Quit will be posted there on February 27th (don't worry, I will remind you). 

In other news, I sold a short story.  Sorry, didn't mean to shout.  But I am inordinately proud and relieved and walking around feeling quite authorly (however, I will deny that last bit, so don't go blabbing about it).  I realize that it is one short story (out many that I have written?!??!), but still...pretty pleased about it.  It won't be published for another 3-6 months, but as soon as I get a firm date I will let you know.

On the down side, all of this makes it even harder to sit down and write the articles that are helping to pay the bills.  While there are things I quite like writing about, there are other topics that suck those Authorly Feelings right out of me.

I am working on a couple of short stories now that I hope to send off.  The long waiting periods are murder, though.  I think they had it for about six months before I heard anything.  I had pretty much given up on the one I had just sold.  Ironically enough, my dear friend Angela B asked me about it just last week and I had just kind of shrugged it off.  (Perhaps that is a misuse of the word ironic*...maybe it is more creepy than ironic.  But if so, it is of the "creepy cool" variety, so I will take it!)

Actually, this is the
Antennae Galaxies undergoing a collision
So maybe this is the Universe telling me that I just needed to take a step back and let things happen.  Perhaps I just need to shrug things off more and take comfort in the fact that things always seem to work out.

Hmmmm, if that is all it takes--maybe I should just shrug off those lottery tickets I just bought.

So, 'fess up--how long have you had to wait to hear back on a story?  Had you given up?

*  No, it wasn't a misuse.  I checked:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My "To Don't" List

Life is too short to accomplish all the things expected of me. With the day job, three kids (two of whom have been ill since the weekend), seven cats, three blogs, my novel, my freelance work, and a marriage that too often gets shuffled around to make room for other things. There is simply too much on the "To Do" List.

Clearly I need to move some things over to the "To Don't" List.

  1. Neatly Made Beds - I think that this is a "To Don't" no-brainer.  While I admit that I appreciate the comforting smell of fresh linens, and the joy of sliding between freshly laundered sheets neatly turned down and waiting, this does seem to be one of the few housekeeping areas that might be able to slide--at least temporarily.  I am more partial to clean underwear than a made bed.
  2. A Clean Car - wait, my car is never clean, so this won't really buy me any time.  Damn.
  3. A Made-up Face - I wear very little make-up anyway--normally just some powder, a bit of mascara, and a dab of lipgloss first thing in the morning.  I never bother to reapply.  I am not sure if giving this up will garner any "real" time, but I am willing to try. 
  4. Lunch Options - I may need to revert back to my time-saving strategy of taking a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter to my office and calling that lunch for the next month.  This actually saves time and money.  WIN!
  5. Valentine's Day - luckily, hubby has to work Valentine's evening (Sorry, sweetie!  I mean that in the nicest way possible!), so that takes the pressure off both of us to find something "new" and "exciting" to do after 23 Valentine's Days together.  We have mutually agreed to celebrate it at a later date and, since this means that the jacked up prices might be back to normal by then, I am considering this a time and money win as well!
But let's just plan our Heart- Day Meal
for another time...

There has to be more things that I can avoid me out, here!   

What have you given up to make more time for reading, writing, or family?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Death by Procrastination

There is the writing I love...the writing that wakes me up at night whispering ideas.  Then there is the writing that helps pay the bills.  Certainly, until I get the novel finished, the two will likely remain quite separate. 

The writing I love is so all encompassing that I scribble notes at stop lights, jots reminders on my arm with Sharpie, and chant bits of dialogue for fear of losing the idea before I can memorialize it.

The "other writing" can be a...chore. At times I feel like a rebellious ten year old, whining in her messy room, spending the day doing anything other than what needs to be done. 

I had no idea that procrastination was so exhausting.

What do you do when there are thing to be done, but you can't quite make yourself do them? 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Accumulated Life

Sometimes themes reveal themselves to you.  A common thread becomes apparent in the tapestry of life, and you realize that Life, or the Universe, or God is whispering in your ear.  Sometimes this happens at all once.  A “Grand Revelation.”  But sometimes it sneaks up on you, skirting the perimeter of your life until, finally, it envelopes you and startles you out of your ignorance.

Things have been happening around me.  Not to me, mind you…but near me.  People have passed away, people have had their home and security threatened, others have had their health compromised, and some have decided to make good on promises they made to themselves and dreams long since abandoned.

I have slowly come to realize that the thread that links these events around me is the fact that they all can be traced back to the accumulations that build up in our life…for better and for worse.

Death, which seems to hover around me, results from the accumulation of time.  Those days that we are allotted fall away like pages from a calendar until finally there are no more pages left to pull. 

I wonder how many days my calendar still holds.

A dear friend’s home was broken into.  Her life’s accumulation of things, and memories, and mementos were rummaged through, strewn about, and stripped from her.  So many irreplaceable things, lovingly picked out and arranged, the accumulation of a family’s life together...ripped away.

Others have succumbed to illnesses both big and small.  Viruses and cancers and artery-clogging plaque accumulate within us, unseen to the naked eye...yet still taking a toll. 

Another calendar page falls to the floor.

Fortunately, this is balanced out by the accumulation of hope and dreams and blessings.  Those who had previously given up on themselves now find cautious courage as they take tentative steps towards long-forgotten dreams.

And here, in my own world, at my cluttered dining room table, I sit at my computer and peck away.  The page-count grows, accumulating a bit more each day. 

Word building upon word building upon word. 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Keeping Food on the Table

Over the past year, I have had a lot of requests to read short stories, chapters, and entire book manuscripts.  And, honestly, I love reading them, but I realized I was spending more time working on other writers' books than my own.  I also realized that I was having trouble finding enough time to work on my freelance writing. 

So, my desire to keep helping other writers, and to also keep food on the table, evolved into this:  Terri Wallace Freelance

It gets better!  If you are a follower of my blog, I will offer my editing services to you through February 28th, 2013, at HALF OFF my regular rates!  If you are interested, contact me at gingerlovinmind(at)gmail(dot)com.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Still the World Continued

I missed my blogoversary.  It was last week.  But last week is a blur...a really bad, really long and drawn out blur. 

It all started Monday night.  I found out that my uncle died.  I had not seen him in quite some time.  He had been in prison.  He was my only uncle, or at least the only one I grew up knowing.  He was the one who told me stories, and grew gardens rivaled anything in a magazine.  I was married in his garden, near the bridge and just down the hill from the pergola, with a sound of a bagpipe wafting in the autumn breeze.  When his sister (my aunt) was murdered, it was he who drove with me back and forth to the courthouse several counties away.

I never got to say goodbye.  Not to either of them.  One moment they were here and, a moment passed and it was suddenly too late.  We always think there is time enough....

Then on Wednesday, my dad went into the hospital for tests and had some complications.  A series of telephone calls, and missed information, and driving around trying to find the right hospital.  He was admitted, and the immediate threat was taken care of...for now.

Thursday brought with it a dog attack on our cat (luckily, it seems it only used one of his nine lives, so all is well).

Friday was the funeral.  It was surreal and dismal and so totally not-a-proper funeral that I have decided that it was NOT actually his "real" funeral.  No, that will happen this spring when I can plant some rosemary (for remembrance) and gather my children around the grave to tell them stories of the great-uncle whom they will never remember but through the images I weave for them.  And weave I shall. 

I arrived home Friday so very tired, and drained, and emotionally spent.  But then there was another call.  Another death.  This time it was another aunt...stolen away by illness.  She was gone nearly as soon as I had heard she was ill.  Another wordless goodbye. 

So, amidst the plague of sorrows that had cloaked my house, I did not notice something else passing...time, milestones, and silent markers along this journey.  Hour blurred into hour and day into day.  Before I noticed, the whole week was gone and I was left too weary to care.

After many cups of tea, and many spontaneous hugs from children who can't quite understand why mommy is weepy, the moments stop bleeding together and start to resemble something familiar.  The fog begins to lift. 

Despite my grief, still the world continued.

A year has passed since I started this blog.  Some goals have been met, and some are just now taking form.

A year has passed...but the journey continues.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, Same Journey

I do not tend to make resolutions.  I always mean to…I just never seem to have my thoughts collected by December 31st.  I still have visions of sugarplums, and remnants of “To Do” lists dancing in my head.  So, as far as resolutions go, I vow only to Read More, Write More, and Love More.  Anything beyond that is the cherry on top.

I have always been all about the journey, rather than the destination.  Because even once I get somewhere, I tend to be looking onward.  This is both a blessing and a hindrance.  It is wonderful to look ahead, but I do need to be reminded, at times, to stop and look around…to appreciate it all while it lasts.

I find that the month of January tends to result in lofty goals and aspirations, some which I end up achieving (almost in spite of myself) and others which I continue to aspire to, but all of which I am proud. 

Last year, I got motivated to work on my novel.  And I am still working on it.  The past year has seen me make startling (well, for me, at least) amounts of progress on the novel.  It has seen the start of this blog (and, yes, my blogoversary is looming), and the start of my author Facebook page.  2012 allowed me to start making some money with my writing, and I have been blessed to see my words in print.  (And I am hoping that 2013 sees more of both!) [Knocking on wood.]

I hope that 2013 brings more words, and more books; more love, and more friendship; more blessings, and more prosperity. 

I hope that it brings health and joy, honesty and dignity, and that it brings truth, and honor, and courage. 

May it bring things worth quoting, and remembering, and sharing…and friends with which to carry on the journey.