Posts Tagged ‘Post Mortem Press’

What can go wrong will go wrong. (Murphy’s Law)

My computer is unplugged. Temporarily. A few minutes. No more. Its battery is at 69%. I checked two seconds ago. Then, the screen goes as dead as the inside of a serial killer’s conscience. The blackout has just destroyed 83 pages of edits.

On my final manuscript.

Scheduled to go to my publisher.


Yes, I do know how to write complete sentences. However, under the circumstances, my mind isn’t thinking in complete thoughts, especially as I realize the do-you-want-to-recover document I was editing contains an uncorrected way-too-common phrase I changed on page one.

And, no, I did not wait hours before hitting save. The save button would have a hole in if it were made of any earth material—including diamond.

Glitch two—some missed connection with my new Microsoft Word. No-o-o, a two-letter word that now has at least ten syllables.

Time to breathe before starting over. Two friends help make that happen, Ann and Shannon. They are coming for lunch and a personal concert. Fortunately, lunch has been prepared ahead. Simple. Homemade soup and tossed salad. Bagged tortilla chips. These two women appreciate. Excess is unnecessary.

Ann is blind. I pick her up from home and lead her up the steps leading to our house. She has no difficulty finding her way. Her sunshine greeting, light coming from her spirit, encourages me.

I realize there is no way I could have started over on my manuscript in a milieu of internal darkness. Shannon is already at the house and she is talking to Jay. Her laughter greets us as we enter the house.

We begin our afternoon with music. Neither of my friends could come to the Get Lit Festival last Saturday sponsored by Post Mortem Press. (Lit refers to Literature, not buzzed.) Local artists and writers brought their art to sell. I read a short section from my next middle-grade urban fantasy. I also played and sang three songs.

Nathan Singer from the Whiskey Shambles, rocked the program. He has an established following.

However, Ann and Shannon cheer as I play two songs on my guitar—just for them. Jay claps as well, even though he has heard my music so often, I close the door so he can concentrate on something else, anything else. A song may be incredible, but any sound repeated 7, 468 times requires ear canals as calloused as my fingertips. It’s called survival.

My heart lightens by the time I get back to start-over mode. And that is valuable because one beat after I get to the last page, Murphy’s Law shows up again. The computer freezes. Donkey-stubborn, won’t-get-out-of-bed, it refuses to budge.

My unprintable response remains in my husband’s and my memory since the computer is comatose now. It couldn’t hear if it were a living being anyway. Moreover, I reserve questionable language for the computer. I reboot the gosh-darned thing and pray my story has lived.

Trembling, I consider one of the last changes I made. Perhaps one of the angels my friends left in the house is present because I remember two edits. They are both intact.

Bye-bye, manuscript. Have a good time being formatted into a fantasy kids can enjoy where the good guys win. And hello, real life. No, I did not use the hammer or axe on my computer. The old thing will, however, be replaced. My birthday present from Jay.

After all, the innate beauty in life returns. Eventually. Murphy’s Law never destroys goodness completely.


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“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As I study Philip R. Rogers’ powerful rendering of my main character in “The Curse Under the Freckles” I recall the bottomless well when the story began, and the empty buckets that came to the surface. “The Curse Under the Freckles” can also be found at Joseph Beth online.

When Chapter One appeared in my first draft the tale had a different title as well as an older audience. I wanted to take a third-grader’s vocabulary and write a book for seventh graders. Although my granddaughter with Down syndrome was already showing an interest in every word in her story books, she opened my eyes to the larger world of kids with special needs.

Older children with limited reading abilities do not want to pick up a story about bunnies and kitties. Yet, the adventures prepared for teens and preteens contain too many words, too many syllables.

As I put together scenes, however, I felt as if I were trying to build a believable fantasy with stale super-sweet mini-marshmallow bricks. The plot reflected it, as predictable as an alphabetical listing and twice as boring. No subplots, insufficient conflict.

Bottom line—I wasn’t ready to serve. Many people believe that writing for children is easy. It isn’t. The editor and publisher’s expectations are higher for the author of children’s material.

Stories need to be fresh and entertaining yet stay within the realms of a young person’s understanding as well as the limits of respectability.

I don’t remember when I knew that giving up on my original goal was no longer an option. But I do know that is when the story took off—with plenty of hurdles of course.

Chase Powers, my hero, lost a few years. He became eleven instead of fourteen. He developed a sense of humor. His foes grew mightier. Some of my critique partners began comments with, “I don’t get this at all. But then I don’t even like fantasy…”

Oh well! Oh, very deep, what-the-heck-is-down-that-imagination-of-yours well?

One of my magical characters says, “It takes no courage to climb a steep mountain when you have been lifted to the top.” Sometimes this writer needs to listen to her own creations.

In the future I hope to help kids who have difficulty reading by writing in a style that is super-easy to read. This book travels through a 560-660 Lexile measure, fifth to sixth-grade reading level.

Perhaps, if I work hard enough I can tell a story with small words that touch and capture the wise. I know it can be done. My grandchildren have shown me that route. Often.

I’m not there yet. In the meantime I plan to have a signing at our local YMCA, and give a portion of my earnings to their autism program. These young persons have a lot to give; the program helps them to find those gifts. I have no idea how much water I can bring to the desert. But those extra drops aren’t noticed in the ocean.

One drop, one word, one action at a time…

back cover the curse under the freckles

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Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream. (John Cheever)

My husband asks me where I would like to go on vacation.

“I have fond memories of Michigan,” I answer. “We went there when I was in grade school.”

He decides on Ontario, but knows I won’t complain. Vacation decisions are in his corner. Not only can’t I read a map that leads to our local grocery store, world exploration isn’t on my radar. Sure I had a fantastic time in Norway and Bavaria. I have a fantastic time walking in the woods, entertaining friends and family, or singing karaoke, even though I’m a soprano and the crowd is made up of half-drunk folk who would rather hear Willie Nelson. Okay, I’m not crazy about being around the inebriated. Change that scene to a senior center filled with the hearing impaired.

I am peculiar and know it. Capturing the world by visiting each place isn’t as important to me as capturing the words that explain the world. I write regularly for Piker Press. Three of my poems will appear in FOR A BETTER WORLD 2015. I have been involved with their mission for the past five years. My first novel, a middle-grade fantasy, should come out before school starts. It is being published through Post Mortem Press, a small but mighty independent publisher. The press specializes in horror, but has branches that include other works such as cozy mysteries by Patricia Gligor. Her fourth book, “Mistaken Identity,” will be coming out in about two weeks. Pat and I are in the same critique group; she is an excellent resource and a superb writer.

I will be talking more about my chapter book later.

For now I simply want to say that everyone floats a different boat. And that is okay. Sometimes, as I drive I wonder how to describe what I see—from diverse points of view. How would this roadway look to someone with a serious illness? To a man on his way to settle an important deal, or lost? I can wake up at two in the morning and be aware of a story notion before I notice that my bladder is overfull. Peculiar is probably not an adequate description. And yes, if you want to feel sorry for my husband, I understand.

“Sweetheart, I recorded a show you will really like,” he says.” Josh Groban should be on any second.”

“Okay,” I answer. “I just need to write one more line.” Always just one more line.

Who knows? Maybe one of these days I will follow every word when he explains a sports play. Stranger things have happened. He and my sons were my mentors in the first portion of my chapter book. Thanks, guys.

What makes you wake up and feel more alive?

weird writers from screenwriting u


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