Publishing News!

*blows dust from blog page* Sorry it’s been a while. Life has been busy, but so much recent good news brings me back.

I’m getting Taking Lessons from Ernest published. A small publisher – WAMM – has agreed to publish my beloved Ernest and I am absolutely thrilled. It will be released around Christmas. More news on there wheres and whens as I have it. For now though, here’s my lovely new book cover.

And I have a shiny new author photo, taken by my son, Kyle.

The blog will be a bit different moving forward. Getting a book published is a lifelong goal, now achieved and I’d love to share all that comes after the acceptance here. As well, I have a good many author friends with amazing books I’d love to review here. I hope you stick around for the ride!


How Does Your Garden Grow

It’s been a good break! Longer than I expected for the internet break part of it, (for example I never meant to abandon facebook), but the break has done me well. My apologies, to my online friends and family; I disappeared almost completely from Facebook and Twitter.

You know the saying… “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”? That.

But here’s the good:

  • I’ve left Ernest alone, and feel good about that. Though today I had the urge to send out another query. Then I quickly put the thought out of my head. Not yet.  I need a bit more time away from queries.
  • The weather has been awful so I haven’t done nearly as much fishing as I’d have liked, but on the couple of outings I had, I caught 5 fish. Hopefully, I’ll have time to do some fish journaling in the next few weeks if the weather finally cooperates. Nothing quite so relaxing as fishing. At least to me.
  • I took a much needed break from Yet It Will Come edits. It was absolutely the perspective I needed. I had to get a new view of it and I could only do that by stepping away. Edits are in full swing now and I have high hopes.
  • I went to Vegas with some of my friends! A lot to be said for breaking from routine.                                                       and my biggest accomplishment,
  • My garden is planted! It’s a thing of beauty with tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, bell peppers, potatoes, canteloupe, vidalia onions, zucchini, and corn. I love my veggie garden so very much. It went in late this year because of the weather. It made me anxious and I worried if I didn’t get it in soon, I would be too late in the season for it. I was wrong about that. I think it went in at just the right time. The next day we got a rain and the plants should be rather happy with their plot of land.

I’m back now, though.  I feel creative. My insomniac-self is telling me I have lots to do and is pushing me to do it. All’s well.

Sorry for the long blog break. That saying above about not having anything nice to say? It applies to this blog, too. 🙂

Now, about those edits. I’m once again convinced that Yet It Will Come is my best work yet.  I’m pretty darn sure of it, in fact. I think it scared me for a while because I wasn’t sure I could really do it justice.  So that perspective really helped.

Right now Yet It Will Come looks like my garden plot did on Saturday afternoon, when the ground was finally all tilled up and the plants and seeds all put in rows. It’s full of potential, but not ready to yield.   It just needs time, nurturing elements, hardwork and patience.  I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the results.


How have you all been?

Question for you with the garden/writing analogy in mind: How does your garden grow?

get in it and get dirty?

pull the weeds?

store the over-abundant yield for long winters?

A Poetry Break and A Short Fiction Break

Atticus Books used a poem of mine on their website today. You can find it here.  A big thanks to them. I sent them several poems, and they picked one of my very favorites to share with their readers.

In other writing news, I’m going to ease up on myself with the queries for Ernest. It’s time for a little break. And I’m giving myself a break on the Yet It Will Come rewrite. I’m feeling the need for some short fiction love. Have a couple of story ideas brewing.  It’ll do the creativity some good to switch gears again. Have to do that to keep it fresh.

Also, writer friends, you really should check out JM Tohline’s blog. He’s how I first heard of Atticus Books, and he’s a very inspirational blogger.  He makes people feel good about their craft. I dig that. 🙂

Happy Thursday!


New Crafty Forum

The writing forum I belong to has many sub-topics with their own little rooms. They discuss everything from politics to tv, movies, food, sports, and many other things.

Writers, it seems, also do a lot of other crafty, artistic things, and a new sub-forum was born. Hands-on

Quilters, artists, photographers, knitters, woodworkers, you name it!

If you’re a crafter of any kind and like to write about it, share ideas, get ideas, or need to ask questions from people who know (whether it’s about refinishing furniture or the correct knitting technique), that’s your place.

I’m one of the moderators of the room, and thrilled to have it.  A place to chat with other crafty peeps is always good. It not only fuels my own experiments, but maybe I can help inspire others.

And if you want to turn your craft into writing (blog or non-fic) AW is a great place to blend both crafts.






Spring Fever and the DBC

It’s happening. This burst of warm weather last week and weekend has my gears shifting to spring.

I’m ready for grilling out, fishing, camping, gardening. I can just feel the warm sun on my face, see the fish rise out of the water on  my hook. Smell the campfire wood smoke, taste the garden-grown veggies.

When I started the blog last September,  I mentioned my love/hate relationship with the bait caster. I mentioned it again in Four-Uh-Oh.  It’s almost time for the experiment to start again.

Here’s what it’s all about:

Some women want to fish, they just don’t want a man to teach them.  Typically it goes like this. Here are some worms, and a hook with a bobber.  Bait your hook. Cast the line. Sit and wait. BORING! The first steps to fishing do not have to be worm-gut fingernails and sitting with a tight-line.  They really don’t.

So For a while now, every year, I try to gather more knowledge about fishing. I’ve learned a lot from Mr. Stew, but in an attempt to not stress him out I started teaching myself when I could. there’s a lot to this! Really. When you don’t depend on someone else to say, “in this water, you need to use a buzzbait, something bright, try this skirt, reel it quickly but steadily” or “dark plastics, let it sink before you reel it in, dance it around a bit while you reel slowly,” you have a lot to figure out for yourself. Like, what about this isn’t working? (is it the bait, is it where I’m fishing, is it just a bad day for the fish to bite? wrong weather, wrong time of day?) I think journaling those things will help me get a better understanding. (and will be quite laughable too. You know I’m sort of clumsy, right?)

First: learning the different types of lures. The trick to lures is knowing what types of fish, water conditions and weather call for which lure. I’m still not there yet. There’s a time and place for crank bait, spinner bait, plastics, jigs, buzzbaits, swimbaits, etc.

Second: each type of lure requires you to reel it in a bit differently, some need to drop to the bottom and you need to reel slowly, some require a bit faster reel, and in some cases, jerking the line to make the lure dance, some reel across the top of the water and need to move more quickly.

Third: different types of reels and different types of rods. I’m not good at this at all. I’d be perfectly happy to always use a little  Zebco “33.  And reels? Oh dear. That’s where the dreaded bait caster comes in.

I’ve spent more time casting and untangling a bird’s nest in the reel than I have fishing with a bait caster, though I have attempted it many times. I’ve never caught a fish on one because I have spent so much time untangling a bird’s nest in the reel that I’ve wasted a good portion of my fishing time with the line instead of with the fish. I’ve not had enough control in casting the bait caster and wound up losing a good lure in weeds and brush. (ssh….don’t tell Mr. Stew!) It’s my  nemesis of fishing. It’s the DBC (Damn Bait Caster)!

I decided a long time ago, (a couple years) that not only would I attempt to teach myself all I don’t know about fishing (with key questions directed at dear husband when necessary), that I would journal about it. This spring starts the fishing journal. What I used, how it went, what I learned, etc.

This is the year I figure out the bait caster. This is the year the fishing journal becomes my writing project. Perhaps the four-uh-oh list item “write the guide book for women who want to fish but don’t want men to teach them” will take shape this spring, summer, and into the fall.

I’ll still write fiction and query and all that, of course, but I’m very excited to see how this goes.  And I’ll be blogging about it, I’m sure.

Fair warning. Experimental Stew is going to be a lot about writing and a lot MORE about fishing over the next few months. It should be entertaining. I have a lot to learn.



The Feel Good No

Funny how one thing in one compartment of your life can affect many things in other compartments of your life.  You know it’s true.  We all do.

Well it so happens that’s exactly what’s going on with me.

I got a rejection on a full from the first agent who requested “Ernest”. He requested at the end of August.  He rejected at the end of January.  It took him a while to get it read and he gave me all the proper apologies and even a few reasons for the delay. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. It was the most personal rejection I’ve ever gotten and led to a wonderful email exchange that really gave me hope.

We discussed my writing. He said, I’m very good. That’s encouraging.

He said “send me the next thing”. I said I would. That’s encouraging.

He said his reader really liked it and passed it on to him to read for himself. That’s encouraging.

He said he was rejecting it because he just really doesn’t like Ernest Hemingway.  I laughed and wondered why he even asked to read it, considering the title and query. I didn’t ask though, but appreciated his honesty. He said not to let his bias discourage me from continuing my search.

He said his reader told him that this kind of book is in the midst of a small trend, and asked me if I thought so too. I said yes, that it seemed to be. That was encouraging, since I wrote it quite a while ago, and I had gone with my heart on it, and wrote what made me happy and didn’t write toward a particular “market”. It validated, I suppose, that when you write for yourself first, and not toward a “zombies are really selling, maybe I’ll write a zombie book” that it can work. Because honestly, I really can’t write what people make me write.

He said to keep going because someone is going to want it. That’s very encouraging.

We ended the discussion with the fact that he wants to see my next book. I told him he would be the first to see it. Now I just have to finish the damned thing – most challenging  story I’ve ever written. Seeing potential in a story and wondering if you can be as big a writer as this big  story requires  is scary. Can I turn out my vision for this story in the right words? I don’t know yet. I still feel like it’s bigger than I am. But this conversation I had gave me a nudge to get back to it.

While the NO itself didn’t make me happy, the information I got and the multiple ways I was encouraged thrilled me.

Our conversation made me want to finish what I’m working on now, (no, scratch that, I want to finish it Right Now!) so I can send it to him. Trouble is finding the hours to match the enthusiasm.

The conversation we had put me back in the “Ernest could be good enough” frame of mind. It also put me in the “my next one will knock his socks off” frame of mind.

It feels good here where I am with this process, not only for the encouragement that Ernest is a good book, but because my writing has improved over time and I know it. My next one will be a better book than my last.  My plot and character and pace and language are stronger in this one than they were when I wrote Ernest.  I know they are.

Maybe I just needed to hear from a professional that I just might have the right combo to break into this publishing world.

I have no doubt I will get knocked down to size again on this journey to author-hood, but if it’s okay, while I have it, I’m going to bask in this Feel-Good-No and put the energy it’s given me to good use.

Life and work have been busy for me lately, and I suppose I’ve seen recently that priorities and time and energy are precious.  If you’ve  wondered where I disappeared to, I’m just trying to do less things, because there are a lot important things in my life I should be focusing on, and I’m trying my damnedest to do THOSE things well.

Thank you, feel-good-No.  🙂

Readers – if a tree falls

I wrote a poem last week. Been a while.

It struck me then that it didn’t feel like I really wrote it until I posted it on my writing forum.  They’ve read any poem I’ve written that’s worth reading (and a whole bunch of them not worth the pixels) for the last four years. The room has changed a bit; many of the poets I consider mentors don’t frequent it like they used to. Hell, I don’t frequent it like I used to.  But after posting it, I sent one of those mentors a message. It said, “Hey, I posted a new poem. Stop by if you get a chance. It feels like it doesn’t exist if you don’t read it.”

I laughed to myself. “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it…” Then I realized how true it was.

Sometimes that’s how writing feels.  Like it didn’t happen until someone else sees it. Writing can be very solitary sometimes. I know it’s there. I know the words. But they are erasable. Deletable. Until they are in someone else’s mind too.

It’s not just poetry.  I’ve felt that way about my fiction before too. Wanting people to read it, sometimes even before it’s done.  It doesn’t feel “written” until a handful of trusted betas have it.

When people who love  to write talk about the struggle of publishing:  the making the words good enough, making the story compelling enough, making the query letter enticing enough. When we talk about rejection and that hollow angst that sets in when we get too many rejections in a row, understand, the love of writing is what compels us to write. We will always write.  We do write for ourselves, first. We have a love affair with words. We can’t help it. Writing is a compulsion, a need. It is as much a need as breathing, eating, sleeping;  we write.

We go through the struggles of publishing because we want someone to hear the tree fall.

Be a reader for an unpublished writer you know.

for the curious (as the poem really doesn’t fit the context of this post, it was merely the reason I realized), here’s the poem I wrote:


Only sideways relevant.

Hash, slash, comma, divided

by pretty words.

The afterthought on thought.

Then your eyes pronounce

the sentence.

A judgment – I’ll do time.

Due time

as frown lines

curve the corners of your lips,

I know everything –

every word – that falls between them

is parenthetical.

A digression from

(I make note)

what you mean.