Monthly Archives: June 2012

Coming In Like a Lion

Today –the last day of June– I was driving my car, my radio set to a rock station that was playing selections from four decades. The songs conjured stories. I thought, why not do a month of musically influenced short stories? Each story will be inspired by one song. The inspiration can come from the lyrics, the emotion or simply the sound of the music.

So, for July, that is what I am going to do. Intermixed with my usual advice for writers and other similar stuff, I am going to write a short story, flash fiction or haiku tied to music.

My first song selection is “Black” by Pearl Jam.  It is the melody that was playing when the idea hit me. I’ve included a YouTube link below, which includes the lyrics. This anthem expresses the bitterness associated with lost love. A listener doesn’t need to know what the lyrics are to know the vocalist is expressing emotional pain.

If you don’t know the song. listen to it the first time with your eyes closed. Just feel it. Then watch the video so you can read the lyrics.

The story is coming soon to a blog near you.

A Factoid All New Writers Should Know

Excerpted from by author Tina L. Hook:

“Don’t you want to see your book on store shelves?”

While my answer was a heartfelt yes, I was willing to face the trade-off. To self-publish means to relinquish all mainstream bragging rights, since readers won’t find you as credible if you are not stocked at their local bookstore. Other fans were also negative on the idea, worried my debut novel would struggle to find an audience without the backing of traditional media. By all accounts they were right to be concerned; marketing is a daily challenge that distracts me from my real passion—writing my next novel. Even my seasoned PR rep. has confirmed that becoming a successful author is often a ten year track, at minimum.

[Emphasis is mine, not the author’s.]



Funny I should read this post on Stadler Style today. When my segment to the Story Circle gets published later today on , the twist in the story comes from exactly this kind of experience. A revelation between friends that was never expected.

A special thanks to Stadler Style for giving us a lesson in improving the depth of a character.


Got an e-mail from Cam saying the posting of segment 4 of The Reunion was being delayed briefly. It was supposed to appear on her site at this morning at 6 AM. Check her page later.

Here’s how you find the story: At the very top of her home page ( on the upper right, click on The Story Circle. Select The Reunion, June 2012. There you will find all the parts. Right this minute, there are the first three segments. Sometime later today, my segment, the closing, is to be added.

Please tell me what you think.

P.S. You will enjoy perusing Cam’s site. There is much to tempt writers.

Writing Circle

A shout out to my virtual sweetheart T at

for the invitation to write the finale to a 4 part story.

Tomorrow is my deadline. I have my segment completed, but not edited. That comes in the morning, when I have a clear head and no distractions.

Tomorrow I will also share the link with you to read all the segments.

Hmmmm. Reading the first words of the last two paragraphs makes me think of a song:

” Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love you, Tomorrow. You’re only a day away.”


Sorry, guys. I’m slap happy with fatigue.

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

Literally. That’s what I have been doing for the past two days.

The heat is record-breaking. The hay should cure quickly. I doubt any bales will mold from too much moisture or ignite from spontaneous combustion, a problem that comes from too much moisture in tightly compacted grass.

On the tractor, I enjoy watching a crow as it flies back and forth over the newly cut rows. It is in search of an easy meal. I note the bedding spot of fawns, hidden in the tall grass.  And I marvel at how thick the grass is this year compared to last year.

All idyllic sights and thoughts.

That is, until the muffler falls off the tractor. The muffler exhausts through the cover over the engine on the topside of the tractor. When the engine runs, the exhaust pipe with muffler gets HOT. It can be hot enough to ignite dry grass.

The freshly cut grass is moist. I am wondering whether the fallen muffler presents a fire hazard.

I have no work gloves with me, since my chore of mowing wasn’t supposed to include mechanical malfunctions. I look in the small storage box under the tractor seat and find two greasy rags.

As a girl, I hate grease, especially on me. But I can’t leave the pipe and muffler where it has fallen in the field, so I use the greasy rags to pick it up and carry it to a shaded dirt patch at the edge of the field. On a dirt patch, there is nothing to ignite.

That task done, I get back to work. Round and round I go. The sound is now deafening without a muffler. My ears are ringing. Salt droplets are running down my face and into my eyes. Dust kicked up from the cutting is irritating my eyes. My neck, which I tried to protect with upturned collar, sunscreen and a brimmed hat, feels like it is burning in the sun. I’m parched.

I have three swaths to go.

I should finish before traffic picks up on our road from workers who are homebound at the end of their day. Since the tractor and equipment take up both lanes of the road, I want to have the road to myself when I move between home and the field.

Sputter. Cough.  Silence. The tractor dies. It won’t restart.

I cut the ignition off, climb down and walk home. There is a heat advisory. I am dressed in a hat, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots — in case I have to get off the tractor in the long grass. I want to fend off ticks, bees and snakes, as well as the brutal sun. I never anticipate hiking in this garb.

Isn’t this a perfect illustration of the writer’s life? We make preparations and start out on a project, thinking it will go one way. Then surprises pop up, affecting the plan. One never knows which direction the detours will take.

One can cry about it or adjust.

Getting Real in Order To Learn Something

This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s posting. After I penned “When an Author Offends,” I started thinking that maybe I was mistaken about why a reader leaves.

I decided to contact one of my own long-time readers who recently departed. I wrote:

Hi, dear girl. I can’t help but notice your absence. That leads me to ask you to help me out by explaining what happened? Where did I change as a writer — or change my subject matter — that lost you as a reader? I ask, not because I am hurt, but in order to learn from the experience. You followed a long time. At some point, I no longer was useful to you. I’d like to understand that. It will be helpful to me as an author. Thank you for all the input you gave me. I really appreciated it. (And I miss you.)

This blog is about wanting to be a writer, in every sense of the word. A writer is a creator, a marketer, a brand-builder, a businessman, a human being.

So I need to be transparent about my weaknesses and faults. Doing so may save you, my reader, a misstep of your own.

I hope my blog friend replies. She will do me a great service if she is frank and honest. It will be a valuable learning experience.