Friday, September 16th, 2011

Today’s Writing Prompt Will Be Short

Sad, sad, office.A short writing prompt is in order today.

As you may know, I no longer have an office to work from (for the time being).

In spite of the lofty writing goals I’ve set for myself…I’ve got “home stuff” to accomplish in order to get the office — and the rest of the upstairs — back in order.

In the spirit of transparency, here are the writing goals:

  • Write, edit and post the writing prompt
  • Kick out 3,000 words on the WIP
  • Create a cover for my short story, On the Path*
  • Answer any writing email that’s been lingering since the roof event.
  • Several house-related items that aren’t important in a writing world… 🙂

I’m a little worried I won’t be able to do the 3K words… wish me luck.

Now, on to the writing prompt.

 
 
 
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*On the Path was previously published in “Triangulation: Dark Glass,” edited by Pete Butler. Rights have returned to me, so I want to post it at Smashwords.

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

What Were You Doing on September 11, 2001?

Twin Towers being struck by a plane, September 11, 2001.Years ago, at family get-togethers, I used to hear my grandparent’s ask, “What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?”

I was born long after the event, so these questions and answers felt more like a parlor game than shared remembrances — or shared horrors.

Everyone had a different story, each unique, and each remembered with such exacting detail that you could almost imagine yourself there as the tale was told.

I never dreamed I’d have my own such question to ask.

What were you doing on 9/11?

I was working in a federal building just outside of Washington, D.C. I was de facto Webmaster for a USDA agency, and working on a Web site. I’d just finished a particularly taxing page and popped over to Yahoo for a news break.

Yahoo was reporting that an airplane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings. It was a one-line story, breaking news, and they had no further details. No photo accompanied the story.

I had the foresight to hit “print” and capture the page. I still have it. It reads:

Plane Crashes Into World Trade Center
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A plane crashed into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center Tuesday, witnesses said.

I’m glad I printed the story, because I was unable to visit my other go-to news sites for more information. The Internet was tied up. In a ‘denial of service’ caused by people wanting more information, servers became quickly overloaded.

I tried phoning the Husband of Awesome™, but phone systems and cell towers in the D.C. area were also tied up.

We had a small black-and-white TV in the break room, which got poor reception on good days, but I remember watching President Bush, interrupted while reading to a group of second-graders, stop and make a statement.

After the second plane strike, and the hit on the Pentagon, fear began to percolate in our building. We were the tallest Federal Building for miles around. Could we be the next target?

Federal employees were eventually told to evacuate their buildings and go home. Those inside the beltway had trouble getting out. Streets were packed, people apparently walked for miles to get home. Just outside the Beltway, the roads were like a ghost town. I remember getting onto the highway and being amazed that mine was the only car there.

After a while, a few more cars came onto the road, but the eerie feeling didn’t leave, even with their presence.

I got home, turned on the TV, and sat glued there for the rest of the day. Images of the planes hitting the towers were replayed over and over again. It’s changed the way I see airplanes.

To this day, I can’t look at a plane in the sky and not remember 9/11.

What were you doing on 9/11?

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

What Earthquakes and Hurricanes Won’t Do…

…apparently, your local contractor will happily accomplish…whether you want them to, or not.

My poor sad office:
Office Drywall

And by that I mean, of course, help me to get rid of all those books that I have been collecting.

See that great expanse of office in the corner missing its drywall? Waterlogged. Along with a great many books on the bookcase that exactly fit that space.

A few months ago, the Husband of Awesome™ and I decided that our 30-year old roof needed to be re-done. We’ve been putting it off for years for a number of reasons, mainly of course, because it didn’t leak. But we realized we were pushing our luck, so we finally bit the bullet and signed a contract.

When newscasters forecasted rain, the local contractor put up some black paper (“guaranteed to hold through several rainstorms”) and called it a day.

I know you probably know this already, but I’ll say it anyway: paper is not waterproof. (It is my opinion, that the local contractor did not adequately prepare.)

The other local contractor at our house today–the one that handles clean up after fires and floods–spent their time ripping out drywall (wet-wall, really); sucking up standing water in my attic space, ventilation, and upper floor; pulling up carpeting, and hauling in blowers, fans and dehumidifiers.

Quoth the Husband of Awesome™: “We’ve got like a thousand machines upstairs and in the attic.”

It’s really noisy in here right now. And the machines have to run continuously until Friday.

I’ll be spending that time weeding out the books. Again.

I joked on Facebook last week that the earthquake which knocked many of these same books to the floor was telling me then that I needed to do another purge.

Okay, Universe, I get the point.

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Remembering the Fallen…

Graves at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day - 2008
Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Sale! And Received Hellebore and Rue Contributor Copy

Cover of the 2010 Issue of The Gunpowder ReviewI recently sold my flash fiction piece, “To Bead or Not to Bead” to The Gunpowder Review.

The Gunpowder Review is a literary magazine which publishes the creative work of women writers, artists, and photographers with a Harford County or Maryland connection.

Since I grew up in Harford County (Go Hawks!) I qualify.

“To Bead or Not To Bead” is a pun-y little piece about the Greek Fates — those women who spin, weave and cut the threads of life. You can probably guess what kind of direction the story takes, judging by its title.

Cover of Hellebore and Rue AnthologyI’ll let you know when it’s available.

In other writerly goodness, I’ve received my paperback copy of Hellebore and Rue.

::: Exciting! :::

I don’t know what magic was used to print the cover of the anthology, but it’s wonderful!

The cover feels like a very soft suede, smooth and — almost — warm to the touch. (And, yes, it’s made of paper.) I like handling it very much.

Hellebore and Rue has received a wonderful review, in which the reviewer mentioned that she’d like to see a sequel or longer work with my characters (which totally makes my day).

How cool is it that a reader wants to know more after the story is over?

Food for thought…

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

M3 Concert: Proving Once Again What a Small, Small World Earth Is

I went to the M3 Concert last night.

It was a last-minute decision, since the concert date snuck up on me: I thought I still had a few weeks to decide.

For the uninitiated, the M3 is an all-day festival featuring a slew of metal bands that play from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. There are two stages, with the A bands playing on one, and the B bands playing on the second: alternating slightly so that there’s always a band playing while one stage is breaking down and setting up for the next.

Since I went alone, I brought my latest manuscript with me to edit between sets. (I am soooooo behind my self-imposed deadline to finish these edits!)

While checking my bag, the ticketer noticed I’d brought work with in me, and told me I wasn’t the only one: some guy had brought in a huge book to study for an exam.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” I told her in perfect English. She said, “That’s what he said, too!”

Um, yeah.

I’d arrived late, and the outdoor arena was PACKED. I had to wade through crowds of people to get to the pavilion and take my AWESOME seat: 14th row, front and center.

And what do I find when I get there? Study-guy, with his book propped open on my seat. (Hi, Bill!)

That’s not the small world part of all this. It turns out that he graduated the same year I did, in the same county, only he went to the Vo-Tech school, and I went to the local high. AND, it turns out he knew well my (high school) boyfriend’s best friend.

It took a concert (a decade or so) later for us to meet. If not for the vagaries of fate, we might have met way back when.

Small world, eh?

As for the concert (if you’re interested) Sebastian Bach — formerly of the band Skid Row — played far too loud. The sound reverberated in the arena too much and muddied the music. The band played some Skid Row hits and some new music, and had tons of energy, but you could tell they hadn’t been playing together long. The lead guitarist for the band couldn’t have been 18 years old, but he could jam. That kid’s going places.

Tesla stole the show. They’re a mature band, and it showed: they worked around each other on stage like they’d been doing it for years and the music was tight. They’d also turned down the music-level when they started and you could hear all the notes in the music: everything was clean. Quite impressive. They’ve got a new album coming out soon. I plan to add it to my collection.

Lita Ford played lame. Her sound was good, the music was tight, but noticeably slower on the pieces I sat in on. Also: she tried for too much control with her voice, less screaming, and she sounded more like a folk singer than a rocker. She looked good though.

Whitesnake headlined, and closed down the night. They started out with some (literally) screaming tune I couldn’t put a name to. Like Bach, the speakers were turned up way too loud. There was so much distortion I couldn’t hear a thing. Luckily, someone else noticed (I’ve been to concerts where they haven’t!) and potted the speakers down. It got better after that.

They, too, played all the old favorites, as well as some new ones. I’ll be adding their new album to my collection, too. David Coverdale looked fit, and sounded great (when he wasn’t screaming).

I’m already looking forward to next year’s M3.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

A Fortune Cookie that Wants Me to Have the Answers…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a fortune-cookie fortune.

When I do, I usually jump on my soapbox and rant about fortunes not being fortunes anymore. (Seriously, when was the last time you heard, “You will be lucky in business.” ?)

Fortunes should predict something. Anything.

I’m tired of these modern slips which provide such pithy commentary as, “We have too many sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them.”

Worse, are those that tell you what to do: “Find release from your cares. Have a good time.”

Once, I got a ‘fortune’ that told me I have idea problems–not good for a writer– and rather rude, too. That’s tantamount to name calling, in my opinion. Sadly, I’ve even cracked open cookies which had no fortune at all.

At least this one put me in charge of everything for the day.

But today’s fortune really takes the cake:

Chinese Fortune: What is Right? How do you define the meaning of right? What is left?