No, I’m Not Dead…Yet

It’s hard to believe that my last post was in July.  As you’ve probably noticed by now, when life starts to get hectic, my blogging drops off.  Something has to give somewhere and, unfortunately, this is usually where the give happens.  I only have two more semesters left and then I will be finished with my Masters degree. <insert applause here>  Since I’m doing a creative thesis based on a story I’ve already written, I’m actually in pretty good shape as far as that goes.  I need to add 2-7 pages of content and revise what I already have.  This semester, I’m taking a literature class and a poetry workshop.  Next semester, I’ll take another literature class, a creative nonfiction workshop, and then defend my thesis.  I’m looking forward to not being a student.

Graduating doesn’t mean leaving the campus life, however.  I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve left the computer labs and have accepted my first teaching position at our local community college.  I told someone once, when they asked me what I intended to do with my life, that I was never leaving college.  Now I don’t have to.  I’ve spent the last few weeks preparing for the two classes I’ll be teaching this semester.  No, that’s not a typo.  I’m teaching two different 8 week classes that meet twice a week for 2 hours and 45 minutes a class.  They’re also back to back.  On the days when I take classes.  Oh yeah, this will be fun.  Except I think it really will be.  The classes are small and I have the same students for both, which means I’m going to get a good opportunity to get to know them.

Except for poetry, I haven’t really written anything.  I’ve got research sitting around for a new book and I still need to finish Enraptured. The danger with writing is that it’s so easy to push to the side when life starts being Life.  I have friends who say, “Screw you, Life. I’m writing whether you like it or not!” and I have so much respect for those people.  I’d like to be them when I grow up.  Unfortunately for me, I can’t always do that and the rest of the time, I just don’t do that.  I’m not even going to lie about it.  Self-awareness, I think, is a good thing.

A new book comes out today that I think you should know about.  Little Dead Riding Hood is part of the Scarily Ever Laughter series by Bethanie and Amie Borst.  Should you pick up this little gem (and hey, why not pick up Cinderskella while you’re at it), you might notice I made it into the dedication page.  I may or may not have contributed to the punniness of the book.  Ok, I contributed.  Really, if you need groan-worthy puns for your current work in progress, I’m your chick.

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A Well Deserved Break

Well hello there, strangers!  I realize I’ve been absent for quite a while but I needed the time to let my brain resolidify.  I am now on summer break from both classes and work so I was taking some time away to play video games and destress.  I am pleased to announce that I am 50% finished with my MA.  I ended my semester with a 4.0 GPA and I ended the year with a 3.925 GPA and that is why my brain felt like a jello mold that someone left out in the sun for too long.

Now that I’ve had some time to recover, it’s time to get back to business.  I’ve got a stack of books waiting to get reviews so look for some future Recommend It Monday posts.  Next week kicks off some brand new author interviews, so Author Corner will be getting some love.  I’ve got some great guest posts coming up by some very talented people.  Oh, and I’ve been doing some gardening so if you see a rant or two about crabgrass, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  I’ve promised myself a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with all the attachments if I finish the first draft of Enraptured by the time that classes resume (near the end of August) so I should have some periodic updates about that as well.  Seriously, I would do things I’m not proud of for a stand mixer.  I might as well do something I am proud of for one.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful post-holiday week.

Enraptured–An Excerpt

So, I’m almost a full month into my grad school experience and I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that this whole thing is horribly overrated.  I’m hoping it gets better once I’m able to start my workshops, but until then, I’m stuck reading more 18th century Gothic romance than I ever wanted to read (which isn’t hard seeing as I don’t want to read any of it).  Not that it’s (all) bad, mind you.  It’s just not my thing.  If I have to study literature, and it appears that I do, I’d rather study post-colonial world literature.

It won’t come as a shock, then, to learn that I haven’t done much in the way of creative writing.  I do a lot of writing for the blog, and for my classes, but nothing much on Enraptured.  Here’s a small excerpt from the book.  Maybe if enough people yell at me to finish it, I’ll get excited about it again the way I was when I started.

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The church was full and every light blazed through the windows as the town gathered for service that night.  Tiffany and David, her husband, sat in the front pew in places of honor next to Mrs. Harold.  There was an electric buzz through the crowd, even though everyone, save for Jeanne, was present and accounted for.  The prayer tree had been activated after Tiffany called the pastor earlier that afternoon and by church time everyone knew there would be an announcement made.  There was no music tonight, no opening prayer.  The crowd hushed as Pastor Harold walked onto the stage and took his place behind the podium.  He sat his Bible down unopened and looked out over the faces staring back at him.  For a long moment, he said nothing.  Here and there a person would fidget in the uncomfortable silence, but mostly people quietly stared back at him and waited for the important announcement they knew was coming.  Pastor Harold placed his hand on the Bible’s cover as if to open it.  It was an old book, older than most of the people in town.  His wife nagged him to purchase a new one, one that wasn’t binding-cracked with dog-eared coffee stains, but his Bible was his ally.  He wouldn’t abandon it just for showing signs of aging.  It loomed on the podium like a proud combat veteran, a lone survivor in an ancient war knowing another battle was inevitable.  Pastor Harold removed his glasses with his other hand, and raised his hand from the Bible, rubbing his eyes.  He replaced his glasses and then spoke.

“Brothers and sisters, it is with a heavy heart but also a resounding joy that I’ve called you all here tonight.  The joyful news is that little Jeanne Montgomery has been called to our Heavenly Father through Rapture.  We’ve all had a hand in taking care of Jeanne at one time or another, so it is a credit to us that she was pure and strong enough in her child-like faith to be honored this way.  But we should not be proud!  The joy of this news makes my heart break because she was the only one.  I see you all here tonight because you were not called.  Sin crept in and kept you from being righteous enough to be worthy of God’s call.  I’m here to talk to you tonight because I, too, am flawed.  I’m unworthy to be in the presence of God.  Yet, only God is perfect.  We can mourn our shortcomings but we cannot forget that we are here to do God’s will.  We are not worthy enough to sit at his feet, but we are all still his children and we still have work to do.”

When he finished speaking, he pocketed his glasses and walked off the stage to where his wife was sitting.  Silently, she gave him her hand and he pulled her to her feet.  They walked together to the front door of the church, signaling to the congregation that the service was over.

Changes Make Life Interesting

At least, that’s what they say.  I actually have lots of tidbits to share today, so lets get started.

First, you might have noticed there was no Author Corner this week.  Tuesday was moving day for me, so I’ve put a hold on them for the next week or so more.  Moving went great.  I’m very tired, incredibly sore, and I have lots of bruises and blisters, but I’m all settled in and ready to get down to business.  In related news, I bought a 7 qt. Crock Pot for $25.  If I’ve never mentioned it, I’m addicted to kitchen stuff.

Author Corner will be returning September 3rd.  I’ve got a great new batch of authors stopping by to meet Charlie.  Ok, they’re not really coming to meet Charlie.  Just, don’t tell him that, ok?  He’ll pout, and if you’ve never seen a corpse pouting…well, it’s not an easy image to purge from your brain.

Speaking of interviews, I was recently interviewed.  I stopped by The Undercover Reviewer and chatted with Amy.  She also reviewed Celia.  If you haven’t read it yet, her review is a spoiler so you might want to hold off checking that out.  I can tell you she gave it 5 stars.  On September 27th, I’ll be appearing on Newbie Writers Podcast.  If you’ve ever wanted to hear my dulcet tones, make sure to tune in.  Oh, and by dulcet, I mean juvenile.  I sound like I’m 12.  I’ll be sharing that around when the time comes.

Now that I’ve moved, I’m going to have a lot more time to devote to Enraptured.  I’m ready to get back to the grindstone with that.  So far, I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out.  I have a lot more work to do, but that’s true for a lot of things.

I have some books coming in for Recommend It Monday.  I’m pretty excited to be checking out some new-to-me authors.  You can look for those in the upcoming weeks.

I’m going to be adding a new page to Erindipity.  It occurs to me that, seeing as how I do interviews and book reviews, then perhaps I should have a section about those things.  You know, in case anyone wants to pop on in and get molested by my corpse.  No, that’s not a euphemism.  Sorry.  It’s not up yet, but look for it by the end of the day.

I dusted off the website a bit and spruced it up.   If you’re new to the blog, mosey on over to the site and have a look around.  The newest interview is posted and there are two short stories available.  Yes, I said mosey.  I also say “fixin’ to,” “done” as in “I done started it already,” and “caterwauling.”  I just try not to say them in public.  Much.

Grad school starts next week.  I have orientation tonight.  I wouldn’t go, but they’re going to have food.  I always go where the food is.  I’m excited to be starting my advanced degree and getting this next piece of my plan going.

I have a guest post for Rainstorm Press coming up on September 10th, and I’ll make sure to have links to that handy.  I have no clue what I’m writing about yet.  It may have something to do with pie.  I once rewrote Psalm 23 and started it out, “The pie is my pastry; I shall not want.”  I’m relatively certain there’s a special circle of Hell reserved for people like me.

I’m the webmistress again for the Indiana University-South Bend Creative Writing Club, so if you know people who would like some writing inspiration, you can send them over there.  Writing prompts can be anything from world building to character creation.  New posts go up on Wednesdays.  You don’t have to be a student at the university to participate online.  Post your exercises in the comments and lets discuss.

And hey, cheer up, Buttercup.  It’s almost Friday!

Paying The Bills

One of the goals I have is being able to support myself and my children with writing.  Now, I’m not going to lie.  When I originally thought this whole thing out, I was picking out who I wanted to play what roles in the movie version of my books.  Just so you know, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

However, I am earning money with my writing, so I will consider this a step in the write direction.  (You see what I did there?)  I’m writing SEO copy for a local business.  It’s very different from the writing I’m accustomed to doing, but it isn’t horrible.  Like anything, it’s going to take me a minute to get into the swing of things, but I’m optimistic.  Of course, there’s still Celia.  I mean, I’m just throwing that out there.  I’m also expecting a round of feedback about Enraptured, so in the next week or so I’ll be back to working on that.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the book trailer for Celia.  This SEO copy isn’t writing itself, you know.

More Fundraising For AWP

Most of you know that I am the webmistress for the Indiana University-South Bend Creative Writing Club.  If you’ve not heard, we are trying to raise funds so we can attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference in late February 2014.  The conference changes cities every year, and this conference will be held in Seattle, Washington.

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AWP is a lot like the fortress in Krull. It’s constantly changing locations.

The money we raise will be to help us cover travel expenses and lodging.  We  held a fireworks fundraiser for the 4th of July holiday, but as anyone who lives in Northern Indiana can tell you, the weather refused to cooperate.  Now we’re starting a new fundraising event and you don’t have to live in Northern Indiana to help up out.

Brandy Bohm, Vice-President of the CWC, is holding a Perfectly Posh event from July 22nd until July 28th.  Perfectly Posh is a line of spa and pampering products that are not tested on animals.  Brandy is donating 100% of the proceeds to the AWP fund for the club.  There is a Facebook event page if you would like more information and you can go the the Perfectly Posh website to see their catalogue of products.  They make excellent gifts, as well.  If you are not local, Brandy will ship your orders to you.  This is a one week only event and every penny counts, so please consider pampering yourself or someone you love (or yourself and someone you love) and help this great group of writers attend this professional conference.  After the event closes, we will randomly select one person to receive an autographed copy of my book Celia from Rainstorm Press.  We will choose two other names to receive 3 Celia bookmarks.  They’re high quality and very shiny.  You’ll like them.  Celia has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon.

We appreciate all of your help.  And as a little added incentive, if we reach our goal as a result of this event, I will randomly select one person to be a character in my current work-in-progress, Enraptured.

Ready To Work

Tonight was the first workshop for Enraptured.  Overall, I found it pretty helpful.  It looks like i have a goodly amount of clarifications I need to make so far which I had a feeling was going to happen.  Other than getting feedback, I love having a workshop to talk through ideas.  It helps me clarify in my head what it is I want to accomplish and how I can go about doing that.

I handed out some of my shiny new bookmarks tonight to the workshop people.  There were ooohs and aaaahs aplenty.  We met at Barnes & Noble, and I was sorely tempted to either hand some of them out to the people who were there reading or leave them on the tables.  Then I remembered my book is no longer listed with them and they would probably just throw them out.  So, I kept them.  They’re too pretty to throw away.

Be on the lookout in the next couple of days for a guest blog from my friend and author Brent Kelley.  He stopped by several weeks ago to talk about his book Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater.  He’ll be talking about his new book Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. I sure hope Charlie behaves.  He can be pretty territorial for a corpse.