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 energy...so 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?