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Flash Fic Friday: The Gallery

“Goodbye, little yellow bird…” My gaze couldn’t find you again if I tried. I caught a glimpse of you once, and only once, when I was being hanged.

My eyes turn outward. Always outward, seeking that which cannot be found.

I see things. Strange places I could travel to, if only…. A man picking his nails or striking a match. He sits on the running board of his car. Then there’s another place. Block upon block, stone upon stone. A quarry. I can also see a door, if I really stretch, using my peripherals.

Forever here. Forever sitting. Staring and wondering:

If art imitates life, and life imitates art…am I really alive?

Stare. Stare. Stare into nowhere, waiting to be dusted.

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Just some random nonsense from creative writing group.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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Shower

There is a wedding shower in my very near future. No, not for me, silly. I’m throwing one for my cousin. It’s themed–Alaska, but of course–and there is a crazy to-do list.

Why am I telling you all this? I might be a lurker online for the weekend. No guarantees that I’ll do anything but check my emails and sit in front of a fan going, “Ah, so glad this is over. It was fun, but I am in zombieland.”

Take care, have a pleasant weekend–and, as always…

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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Work Boundaries

Lately, I’ve been in need of some guidance. Lucky for me, I have a mentor…for a little while. She’s really nice and helpful, and has given me some solid advice and direction.

One of the things I’m struggling with–that I haven’t brought up with her yet–is the balance between work and the rest of life. Writing from home is working from home, and thus boundaries are blurred. Do I clock in from nine to five? Can I work hours here and there? How do I resist the temptation to always be writing or editing or submitting or promoting or networking? I don’t know. I simply don’t know.

I want to put the first things first, but how much time am I supposed to give them? It’s making me feel like a clown juggling a dozen bowling pins. And the clown is bad at juggling, so they only stay up in the air for a split second, and are now scattered across the ground.

So I’m asking you, dear self-employed friends: how do you set boundaries and what should they look like?

Here are the things in my life, in no particular order:

  1. Work – which includes writing, editing, submitting, research, networking (blogging, tweeting, FB-ing, etc.), etc.
  2. Housework
  3. Family life (I’ll be helping my sister with my niece for a little while after Little Guy is born)
  4. Spiritual life
  5. Social life/friends
  6. Volunteer life (planning writing meetings, and then “teaching” them every-other week)
  7. Personal life (fun and reading)

How does one juggle? One pin at a time for so long (each day) I’d imagine. I guess I could set time for different things. I think I will.

Sorry. Thinking out loud.

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How do YOU deal with the distractions of life and juggling the necessities?

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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Author Interview: Kathleen Sawisky

Today I have author Kathleen Sawisky on the blog. She’s got a book out–huzzah!–called Between Fire and Pines, which is available from Amazon and Chapters Bookstore. Read on!

Beth: Welcome to the blog, Kathleen! Tell us about your book.

Kathleen: Oh boy, this is exciting! I’ve never been interviewed before. (Don’t swear, Kathleen. Be cool, be cool, girl.) Between Fire and Pines is the first in a (probably) 9 book series that follows the misadventures of Natalia Artison. Her parents are black op agents who are, most regrettably, unexpectedly super dead. This leaves Natalia and her half-sister in the hands of the Agency, who employed their parents. That would be all fine and dandy, except Natalia discovered a secret tucked into a nesting doll. A secret her parents gave their lives to protect. Now Natalia is in the crosshairs of the same person who slaughtered her parents. The Agency sends in a reluctant ex-agent, Steven Delarno, who is currently being haunted by the ghost of his dead child, to protect Natalia and Beth. Sarcastic antics ensue. Also explosions. There are a few of those tucked in here and there.

 

Beth: Ooh, much excitement! And a character named Beth–I approve 😉 Plus notes in dolls and sarcastic antics? I’m in! Is this your debut?

 

Kathleen: It is my debut! My shiny debut. 420 pages of explosions, mild swearing, and some violence. But no romance. I’ve had a few coworkers ask me if there is romance in it and I just throw my head back and laugh gregariously.

 

Beth: Do you have any writing habits? Quirks?

 

Kathleen: I’m a night owl, and I tend to get my best work done at night. This is problematic because I also have the body of an old woman and am generally in bed by 9:30 with a Werthers caramel and a cup of weak tea by my bed. That being said, when I am up late I’ve discovered that writing is easiest to me, and this is true, between 1:30 and 3:15(ish) in the morning. By the time I hit 3:30 I am drooling on the keyboard.

Aside from that, I always have to have music playing. Plugging in to Spotify and listening to my curated Code Soundtrack is a necessity. Music and writing goes hand-in-hand for me.

 

Beth: 1:30 – 3:15 is crazy-early, but you gotta do what works for you. What was the most challenging part of putting a book out there?

 

Kathleen: Two things. The first, coming to terms with the fact that I can never, ever, ever rewrite it again. Ever. Never ever. For that reason alone I still haven’t been able to actually crack the book open and read it. I’m sure I’ll see all these itty bitty mistakes that I made six months ago that I wouldn’t make now, and that would drive me crazy. But even more than that, I’m still a bit uncomfortable talking about it in any details beyond ‘There are explosions!’ and ‘I only used one racial slur!’ This wouldn’t be an issue except I also work in a bookstore, so as you might imagine my coworkers are as book-obsessed as I am. I’ve never been particularly good at tooting my own horn, or plucking my own strings. Whatever you want to call it. I have my first signing on June 25th, so I better get my rear in gear and learn how to describe Between Fire and Pines without mentioning the racial slur.

 

Beth: I know what you mean about tooting horns. Seriously uncomfortable. Good luck with your signing, Kathleen. Before you go, do you have any advice for beginning writers/authors?

 

Kathleen: I’ll say the same thing Gregg Hurwitz told me when I was 18 and emailed him for advice on writing. Write every single day. Even if it is just a line here or there on a napkin. Always write. No one is going to do it for you (Unless you are independently wealthy and can afford a ghost writer, or someone to clean up the cat vomit, ugh, gross. Hold on a second.)

Gross. Okay, where was I? Right. No one will write your novel for you. Since I’ve published I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and say “Oh yeah, I want to write a novel” or “I’ve got one I’m going to write some day” and it is actually a little sad to hear, because they’re always talking about doing it later, some other day. You can’t do that. If you want to write then you need to write. It’s almost insultingly simple. It doesn’t have to be good, and you can delete it all when you are done, but I’m a firm believer that if you don’t get into the habit then you’ll keep putting it off. Sort of like how I put off filling in this interview until you reminded me and then I had to set an alarm on my phone to get it done. Even then, I’m still late. Write every day, set reminders, clean up cat vomit. That is my life now.

Beth: ROFL! I would LOVE to hire someone to clean up cat vomit–alas. Seriously, though, you’re right: no one’s going to write for you. So write, guys! Write right now!–But not before getting Kathleen’s book, which I’m about to add to my Amazon wish list 😉

Thanks for visiting, Kathleen! I wish you many sales and thousands of rave reviews.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth