The (Bitter)sweet smell of success

Struffoli

StruffoliActually, it’s very sweet. Dripping-with-honey-and-sprinkled-with-rainbow-coloured-non-pareils kind of sweet:

My flash fiction memoir “The Honey Clusters” won an honorable mention in the 2015 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award and will be featured in their Nov/Dec 2015 issue!

The bittersweet part is in the content of the story. I wrote it shortly after this past Christmas while I still had a small plate of the traditional Italian treat called struffoli (honey clusters) remaining on the kitchen counter.

They don’t last long. They never do. Read more

The Patience of a Writer

Things could be a lot effing worse...

Here’s a wee fact about me: I don’t have any. Patience, that is. And I expect I’m not alone. Chez moi, we’re working on a cure for PDS (Patience Deficiency Syndrome). Multiple steps are involved:

  1. Resist the urge to bang out a full-blown (or mini-blown) revision the minute your agent sends you an email with suggested changes.
  2. If (1) fails, which it inevitably will, resist the urge to send your agent the revision two days after he’s finished reading the most recent version. He needs his rest.
  3. Practice writing paragraphs with one space between sentences instead of two. Trust me, this will take up the better part of a day.
  4. Do not, I repeat – DO NOT, stalk agents, editors, and publishing houses on the Internet. It’s okay to peek once in a while.
  5. Plan your book’s gestation period like you would plan a pregnancy: write in the winter, aim for submission when the weather gets warm. That way you can plant little things in the garden and make believe they’re organic versions of your novels that will grow into great big things.
  6. Apologise in advance to your agent for any insanity your emails to him may manifest in the upcoming days, weeks, months. Consider sending him cookies. Or North Carolina barbecue.
  7. Tackle that mountain of ________ [ironing, paperwork, bills, sewing, refrigerator science experiments, dead houseplants] that’s been growing over the past several months.
  8. Create a mantra along the lines of “I will not become a pariah.” Repeat it early and often or wind up being the woman your neighbours eye warily before ducking back into their houses when you walk down the street with the pooch.
  9. Think hard about picking up that cross-stitch Monopoly board you began last year. You don’t have to work on it, just consider it.
  10. Write the next book. Hell, write two of them.

If none of these works for you, lie back and read a soothing horror book by Stephen King.¬†Misery is a good choice–no matter how anxiety-ridden your days are awaiting responses to queries, revisions, submissions, etc., at least you can smile and say, “It could be worse. I could be Paul Sheldon.”

Things could be a lot effing worse...
Things could be a lot effing worse…

The Truth is Out (I’m addicted to flash fiction)

It’s true. I freely admit it. That’s the first step, right?

I love flash.

Lightning-Bolts

And flash, it turns out, has been pretty good to me these days. While I’m wading my way through edits of Lucky Thirteen (it often seems I’m stuck in an infinite If-Then-Do Loop), solidly into the first 10K words of Work in Progress (I borrowed that catchy title from one of my writing friends), I have to find innovative ways to refresh my mind. Read more