Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG - WHAT I'VE LEARNED SO FAR

Here we are at the first Wednesday of the month, or in other words IWSG Day and I'm not prepared AGAIN. YIKES! LET ME EXPLAIN...

Back on May 22 I left my home at Lake Tahoe to make a move to Idaho. For the past seven weeks I've been staying with family. It has been an adventure. Idaho is not completely foreign to me (I lived here sever years ago), but it is a place I thought I would never return to for more than a visit. Anyway, things have been a bit today-turvey for a while now, I am moving into my own place onFriday and hopefully will be able to settle in and have a more normal live back. Ha, ha, ha! Like I would know a normal life if it bit me in the butt.

The IWSG QUESTION of the month is something like "What have you learned since you started writing?" I'm gonna tell you what I've learned about writing and life in the last seven weeks. Family is important. They can drive you nuts and even take incredible advantage of you (kind of like I have been for the past seven weeks), but in the end they love you and take care of you in a fashion that most others won't even attempt. Now when it comes to writing, family can provide you with some of the best fodder for your imagination. Whether you're writing a memoir: where family and family reminisces are of the utmost importance, or just creating characters for a totally fiction piece, your family and their nuances can be of tremendous value.

My advice to each and everyone of you...value your family. If you've had a falling out with one or more of them make amends and do what you can to build a bridge. If you live far apart make an effort to stay in touch, regularly. Life is shorter than you think and I promise you, one day you will be wishing to have a nice sit down with a family member who is no longer with you.

Having said that, today is my mother's birthday. She is no longer with me and has been gone for quite some time (38 years). I was much too young to lose her when I did, but that's life or the absence of it, I guess. Love love you Momma and I miss you every day of my life.

Now get yourself on over to the IWSG site where you can find the list to visit other participants and see what they have to say. Unfortunately, I'm still having computer problems and working on a iPad, which is way smarter than me and won't let me make the link. But, I trust you're smarter than this dumb blonde and can find it without my help.

Enjoy my parents song.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WEP CHALLENGE - 'Burning Bridges"

Well friends I finally got my WEP Challenge finished up. I'm having computer problems, so this was written on am iPad and this dumb blonde can't figure out how to turn on the word count feature. I'm hoping I'm not too far over the 1000 word limit. If I am please forgive me. Although I did have plenty of time, I did put this together kind of last minute. It's from an idea I had for awhile based on a song by Garth Brooks. I hope you enjoy.

BURNING BRIDGES



     "Clair, Clair, you in there?”
     “Hummm…”
     “I’de like a a little more coffee, if you can tear yourself away from the screen door. What are you staring at?
     “Coffee, yeah sure, Abs. On the stove,” Clair responds without turning her head.
     Here we go again. I know this look, this attitude, this persona of Clair. She’s deep in thought and getting ready to run. After refilling my mug, I saunter over to see what’s she’s looking at. Adam. I shouldn’t be surprised. Adams’s the latest man in Clair’s life. They came back to the ranch together almost two years ago and have been crazy in love since.
     “He’s younger than me,” Clair mutters more to herself than me.
     “Yeah, but you look about a decade younger than the truth. Besides it doesn’t seem to bother him.”
     “Not today, but it will. Besides I’m such an emotional mess. Why would a guy like that want to be involved with me?”
     “Look honey, why do you continually question a good thing. Who knows why any of us do what we do. Just accept that this guy is crazy about you. You’re still crazy about him, aren’t you?”
     “Yeah of course I am, but one day he’s gonna wake up and it’s gonna hurt real bad.”
     There’s no talking to Clair when she gets like this. Two bad marriages and a raft of broken relationships, this girl is sure nobody is ever gonna love her for the long haul. Clair has this idea in her head that it hurts her less if she leaves them, than waiting around until they are tired of her. Truth be told, she has no idea, because she never gives em the chance to leave. A couple of years and she starts thinking it’s time to end it, then a year or two of severe depression until she meets someone else. Clair throws herself into every relationship like a sixteen years old debutante. This girl knows how to love a man, she just has no idea how to let them love her.
     “He is gorgeous, isn’t he?” She asks.
     “That he is,” I agree. “Course you’re no slouch yourself.”
     “Yeah, right the grey hairs coming in and those little crows feel around my eyes only add to my overall charm, right?”
     There’s no convincing Clair. She’s been sure of her downhill spiral since divorce number two, when she was just a little over thirty. I could shoot that guy for the way he messed my sister up.
     “Look honey, I gotta run. Please promise me you won’t do anything drastic till we can talk some more. This guy is a real keeper and I’m sure he feels the same way about you.”
     “Yeah, Abs that’s what you say about them all.”

     Three days later it started to rain. Not a gently downpour, but a real gully washer. The barrow pits were full in the first few hours and the creeks were running high. Adam stopped by when he was in town and said he was trying to talk Clair into staying with me for a few days, because the ranch was likely to flood out. Of course I knew that would never happen. If Clair was anything it was stubborn to a fault, there was no way she was leaving the ranch in a crisis.

      A week to the day later Adam was on my porch, but this time it wasn’t a cordial visit. He looked like someone had shot his dog and dragged him through the mud. Over coffee he told me what I already feared.

     “I can’t figure her out,” he lamented. Four nights ago when the thunder and lightening was the most violent I thought I was dreaming. She kissed me and told me how much she loved me. Said she loved me enough to let me have the life I should, and then she was gone. When I woke up, her side of the bed was cold and the house was oddly quiet. The storm raged on, but the silence in that place was deafening. I knew she was gone.”
I didn’t know what to say. I also knew she was gone, but I held out hope that Clair would come to her senses and return once the storm cleared out.
“I’m sure she’ll be back,” I tried to reassure Adam.
“Nope, not happening. We had a big discussion about this very thing about six months ago. She kept telling me I could do better and should be with someone younger and less ‘used up’. ‘Used up’, what do you think she meant by that?”
“Look Adam, Clair’s had her heart broke more than once, she’s real skittish about being hurt again.”
“Yeah, but Abs, I didn’t hurt her and I wouldn’t have. I really love her. Love her like grow old together, love her,” Adam pleaded.
“I have no doubt, but it’s not me who needs convincing.”
“Abs, I did everything I could to convince her, show her, be there for her no matter what. A day didn’t go by that I didn’t tell her how much I adored her, but it didn’t seem to matter. She just wouldn’t believe me. Six months ago, she told me that if she ever left, I shouldn’t worry, sometimes she just needed some space, but if she was gone for three days and didn’t return then it was over and I was free to move on with whoever I wanted. It’s been four days now. I gotta go. I gotta save some self-respect and face the fact that she doesn’t want me.”
There was nothing I could say. He was right about one thing, Clair had moved on. It wasn’t that she didn’t love him, most likely she was scared she loved him too much, but she was terrified of that love. Horrified that her love for him would somehow destroy her. Clair was one messed up cookie. Always looking for the exit. Ready to run, before she was given the boot.
“Why don’t you hang out in town for a few days. With this storm and all, she may make her way back sooner rather than later and you guys can talk about it try to work something out,” I suggested.
“Nope, she has been preparing me for the last six months for this day and I know what I gotta do. Abs, take care of yourself. You’re a good sister to her and have been a steady friend to me, but it’s over. I would rather move on and lick my wounds in private.”
“I get that, but Adam, you gotta know that she does love you,” I explain.
“You know in some strange convoluted way, I do know that. I know she thinks this is what’s best for me, but in truth she doesn’t get to make that decision. Her fears override everything good and precious in life. You and I both know she’s gonna hurt for a long time and so will I.”
“I know,” is the best I can do.

I don’t know how many days after Adam left it was, but Clair did come back. She looked awful. I could tell she had been crying non-stop for some time and I don’t think she had a shower in a week. Turns out she went up to Carrolton with the intent to head farther out west for a few months.
“Abs, I got to Carrolton and took a long hard look at myself in the rear view mirror. You know my usual plan to never look back. In that rear view mirror I started looking back. I saw this great guy and couldn’t stop thinking about how much I loved and needed him. I decided it was time to give up my running and face life, and I wanted to face it with Adam. I got a room in Carrolton,  a good nights sleep and fixed myself up real nice in the morning before I headed back. When I got to Big River it had left it’s banks and the bridge wasn’t safe, so I waited while they made some emergency repairs. On the third day, they were planning to open the road and the bridge just washed away. Right before my eyes, I saw much future wash away in that muddy water. I couldn’t get back until this morning. I been living in my car.”
“Awe Clair, I’m sorry.” I was actually a little surprised that I meant that. I mean, I love my sister, but all of this trouble with men was her own doing. Sure those two guys she was dumb enough to marry messed with her real bad, but she had the choice to get over it or not. She made a bad call here. This wasn’t anybody’s fault but hers, but still, she was devastated.
“Honey, you tried. If the storm hadn’t been so bad, if the bridge wasn’t washed out…” I tried to console her.
“Abs, you and I both know I lit the match and tossed it onto that bridge myself. No one here to blame but me  .”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG Post - Are you a Quiter?


The topic for this month's IWSG is something about have you ever quit writing and come back, and why?

I haven't quit. I promise, but I know it looks like that. Let me explain...

About a five weeks ago everything in my life went to hell in a hand basket. Yeah, yeah, you're thinking, who's life hasn't, but seriously folks, it was like (for a woman) someone took my purse and dumped it upside down in the middle of the Interstate. First, my landlord decided to put the house I was living in up for sale. Being somewhat of hermit (feel free to read crazy writer) it was driving me nuts to have strangers parading through my house, peeking in my closes and opening the junk drawer.
Then the realtor said they had a contract and I needed to get out. I tried finding another place to live in Tahoe but the real estate prices have skyrocketed and the rents followed suit. It was insane. I was going to have to pay (in rent) more than what a $400,000 mortgage would cost. So, I made a big more. Like a really big move, back to Idaho (I had lived here about seven years ago) where I have some family.

Is that crazy enough for you. I haven't opened the computer to write in all that time. I only would have been one major whine anyway, and nobody needs that.

Anyway...I haven't quit writing and the events of the past few weeks have sent my brain into overdrive with ideas for the next new project. Did I mention that during all of this chaos, I took the time to travel to Denver to see a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater (best concert venue ever) of one of my all time favorites? Yep Tom Petty! He was, needless to say, amazing. Joe Walsh opened for him and was also great. Tom sang several numbers from his 'Wildflowers" album (my all time favorite) including the song Wildflowers. Which, but the way he sang just for me.

I also took a side trip to some of the places I used to live in Colorado. Those were good times and some sweet memories with awesome friends.  More fodder for my stories.

I'm hoping to participate in the WEP Challenge this month. I've crossed a lot of BRIDGES this the past few weeks, and as that's the topic of the Challenge, I have more than a few ideas.

My advice to any of you who have or are considering giving up..."Never surrender dear, never give up!"

Please visit as many of the participants in this monthly blog hop as possible. Find the Linky list HERE While you're at it give a shout out to Mr. Alex Cavanaugh and this months helper hosts for all that they do to keep this meme going and therefore keep all of us in line.

Until next time HAPPY TRAILS!

Here's Tom singing 'Wildflowers' just for you. Enjoy!


Love, FAE

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WEP CHALLENGE

It is with sincere regret and a heartfelt apology that I post this today. I signed up and intended to post a 1000 word Flash Fiction piece for the Write, Edit, Publish Challenge, but  A 'Series of Unfortunate Events', in other words my life story, prevented me from doing so. I am sorry for having wasted anyone's time by your stopping by. I will be better in the future.

Please enjoy the other entries. I shall try to make it around to as many as possible throughout this week. There are some seriously talented writers who normally publish here.

Thanks you for your continued patience with this dumb blonde.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

THOUGHTS OF AN INSECURE WRITER



Here we are the first Wednesday of the month, time for another IWSG Post. I realize I haven’t posted anything since my last IWSG update and I’ve been totally lax about getting out and visiting you my blog friends. For that I apologize.

At the beginning of the year I took the admonition to stop writing about writing and simply write to heart. That’s when I resurrected one of my WIP’s and tried to turn it into a short story for an Anthology submission. Last month I was proud to report that I accomplished the task and overcame my insecurities enough to hit that submit button. This month I regret to inform you that my short story was rejected for publication. I admit I had a day of sorrow and ate a pint (actually I don’t think those cartons are a full pint any longer) of Ben & Jerry’s. The next day I was back at it working on self-edits of my first love, my ‘WIP Far Away Eyes’.

I joined a few on-line writing groups and have found some beta readers who are going over my work as fast as I churn it out. I’m about half way through and once I finish up looking over the suggestions of this batch of betas, I’m hoping to send it on to some trusted people who have beta read for me in the past. I sure do hope I’m getting better.

Aside from the time and effort I’m putting in on self-edits and beta suggestions, I’ve been reading like mad various articles and books about the craft. I started out as a blogger to support my writing and somewhere along the line became completely distracted with blogging, chatting, and in general procrastinating working on my ‘real’ writing.

Don’t get me wrong, the blogging community has been a tremendous help with my writing, but I have to work real hard to stop focusing on all those chickens running past my window each day. I appreciate the help so many of you have been to me. I really appreciate the help and inspiration I’ve received through my participating in the IWSG. It’s nice not to feel ‘alone’ in this singularly endeavor.

There you have it in a nutshell…my reason for all but abandoning the blogosphere. I do intend to post the first Wednesday of each month for the IWSG – ‘God willing, and the creek don’t rise’ (Recently that’s more literal than you would think-the snow pack in the Sierra is tremendous.). And I promise to try and carve out some time to visit more on Wednesday April 5, but if I’m sincere in my wishes to change my status from writer to author I must ignore the chickens, no matter how delightful they appear and concentrate on finishing up the WISP and beginning the query process.

My best wishes to all and any who read this and a hope that your fondest dreams may come true as I work to fulfill mine. I’ll look forward to seeing you at that book signing, either yours or mine, it will be a wonderful time.
I do plan to return for the Write, Edit, Publish writing challenge on April 19. Maybe we can catch up at that time.

Congratulations the The IWSG for making it onto the Writers Digest 100 Best Websites for Writers.

Take the time to stop by and thank Mr. Alex J. Cavanaugh ( the inspiration behind the IWSG) and this months co-hosts. Click on over HERE to find the list of other participants. Visit as many as you have time for. I promise you won't be disappointed.

See that little ballerina on the far right; that's me in one of my earlier dance classes (not really, but it could have been). Those are the kids voted most likely to become a writer. HA!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017



It’s 11:20PM here in the Pacific Time Zone and I’m just now writing my IWSG Post. Not surprised, are you? Let me explain.

I like to publish snippets of my memoir, as I work on collecting stories from my past. If you’ve read any of them you probably have met my parents and you would know that they were bigger than life itself. They liked to live life out loud and not miss a moment. That’s a hard thing for a kid to live up to. I personally believe that children of folks like this go one of two ways…they find a way to live life even bigger or they become those beautiful little shrinking violets who are content to live in the shadow of others. Don’t believe me; ask my kids, I have one of each.

I’m willing to bet that right about now any of you reading this have a very definite idea about which way this kid went. I admit I’ve spent most of my life center stage, living large and loud. Never had a lot of money, but I’ve also never let that stop me from going where I want and getting what I need. Have I been burned…oh you bet, plenty of times, but I have also tried to never let that stop me,

 Now let’s talk about my writing. This is an area where I am probably more insecure than most. I have all these stories swirling around in my head, many of them about my family, that I want to tell. But, I don’t want to tell them just any old way. I want them to be special. I want you to enjoy them. I want you to know these folks the way I do, whether they are real of the characters of my imagination. This would be the reason that I have three full length novels written and not fully edited, sitting around waiting to see the light of day.

This year, 2017, I made two promises to myself. 1. I would post every month on my blog for the IWSG, and 2. I would dust these novels off, edit them, send them out to beta readers, and hopefully even hire a professional editor. Then query them and try to have them published.

So, today I’m late, but this IWSG Post is gonna go up .

The question of the month is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? How did that turn out?

Yes, yes, and yes. I just recently took one of my novels and tried my hand at adapting t as a short story for submission to an anthology. It was painful. I agonized over it for weeks. When I had what I thought was a pretty tight little story, I sent it off to two beta readers. Both are trusted friends, published authors, whom I know to be honest and insightful. Their critiques were brutal. Honest, but brutal none the less. My short story was gonna require a complete rewrite, if I was gonna take their advice, and why wouldn’t I? Did I mention that they both said basically the same thing.

I thought seriously about scrapping the whole idea. But, I rewrote the story anyway. When I was finished, I really thought it was pretty good, but I didn’t like it much. Why? Well other than the characters it had very little resemblance to my original story. I had to eliminate my favorite character and give what was predominately ‘his’ story to someone else.

I sent it back out to the betas anyway. The one who was able to get back to me, said I had basically nailed it. I still didn’t like the story much, or at least I didn’t like the changes I had to make, but I started cleaning up the little errors and formatting to submit it anyway.

Deadline for submission was midnight yesterday and more than once during the day, I serious thought about scrapping the whole idea AGAIN. To console myself, I went to something I had written that I really liked. It was a memoir piece about my parents. I was reminded of how they lived their lives and how I lived most of mine. I started to wonder how, when, where and why I had become so insecure, such a coward. I sat right back down at the computer, finished up the work on my short story and hit that SUBMIT button.

I went to bed exhausted and had some pretty strange dreams. This morning I woke up feeling like a winner. I don’t know if my story will make it into this particular anthology, but I made it.l I made it past a hurdle. I found a little piece of me that I want to cultivate and protect. I want to write and I want to be published and I’m not gonna stop trying.
First post I read this morning was by my good friend Donna Hole (one of those terrifying betas, by the way) and she inspired me to write this. Her musical selections also inspired me to post the song at the very beginning. One of my favorites. Thank you Donna. Thank you IWSG. Today I really needed this.

Now go on over HERE and click on some of the other posts for the IWSG. You know you want to. I know you won’t be disappointed by what you will find.