Rain Rain Rain

Last year I e-published two poetry collections and a short story. My goal was to follow up with ad promotions and social media blitzes in hopes that reviews would roll in but life kind of got in the way. Without promoting the ebooks,  25 copies sold and Kindle Unlimited users got another 125, which pleased me. Still no reviews, though.

I’m one of those weirdos who believes just about any criticism can be constructive (especially when given by other writers), so the lack of reviews have been disappointing.  Now that I’m working up a list of agents to send my novel to in hopes of traditionally publishing, my mind is clouded with lack of feedback and my sporadic social media presence. (Apparently a writer is supposed to have stuff like that in their bio.)

So, now I’m going to start what I should have done a year ago: Whoever out there is a Kindle Unlimited user and hasn’t read and reviewed my titles yet, I’ll be glad to return the favor. Hit me up with the links to your stuff poets and novelists! All it does is rain here and I’ve got a comfy chair to sit in while perusing books 🙂 All of my titles available for Kindle

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Brigit's Flame Writing Community

How’s November treating you? How are you treating November? Don’t forget to unchain yourselves from the writing desk occasionally. You may be a novel-making superhero, but ya still need protein and fresh air once in a while.

I have never fully participated in NaNo, though I did try back in 2010. Around 30,000 words my head exploded, so …

This year I spent three months writing and three months hyperventilating over being unemployed. Now, I’m working full-time, preparing for a move (why is moving so stressful!) and remembering that three month writing stint with extreme fondness.  These moments of indulging in fond memories inspired me to look around for publication opportunities, so I thought I’d share some.

The Fountain Magazine is sponsoring an essay contest which will award cash prizes to three writers who have written the best narratives answering this question: “How do you think history will record…

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Day-by-Day — A Blog Post About Daily Posts And The Aftermath

How fast did April go by!

Possibly for the first time ever, I completed a month-long writing challenge. This is a noteworthy accomplishment, because the writing, and the daily posting coincided with daily reading, in addition to writing for the weekly Brigit’s Flame prompts. April writing was BIG.

Now comes the question: is any of that writing salvageable? *shrugs*

I’ll keep the APAD poems up (beneath my Poetry Tab) for another week, maybe. They’ll go in a pile which I may, or may not, eventually edit and figure out if they belong anywhere specific but truly the majority of them may never count as anything more than a “writing exercise”.

Next comes the question: what the heck am I going to do in May? *blinks*

I’ve got about a million and three ideas, but no real focus yet. Wednesday I was ALL FOCUS. I submitted poems from Ramshackle Houses to Rattle and Poetry Magazine. Two days later … I’m a leaf waiting on a breeze. Direction, I am in need of it.

This is the first time in almost six years that I don’t have a solid writing goal, college courses, and at least one full-time job going all at once. There’s danger of me becoming a professional nap taker.

Help?

Name That Project – A Blog Post Complete With A Request For Reader Participation At The End

WordPress stats informs me that I have published eighty-nine posts here on generationKathy. Not surprisingly, at least sixty of those posts have been about my attempts at writing.

During February I alternately chirped with delight and whined like an irritable toddler about compiling my first poetry collection intended for submission. During March I mostly bitched and whined about the difficulties of trying to carry out the goal of revising old short stories with the intention to put them all into a collection — the former has been shortlisted for an award, the latter has been returned to the old slush pile.

Nowadays my early morning hours are spent shuffling feverishly through job listings and sending off copies of my recently revised resume rather than working diligently at writing (as I did throughout February).  Almost three months of unemployment have allowed me the luxury of dedicating upwards of thirty hours a week to writing. As I’m counting my blessings, I’m also noticing there are less and less zeros in the bank account. I need a job.

Even so, now that I’ve finished my coffee and breakfast, and applied for two more jobs (that’s six since last Thursday), I can’t help but think it would be silly to waste anymore time on NOT WRITING. Until I start getting interview offers, I need to make use of this time. Right? Right. So, it’s time to start brainstorming for new projects. Three, in fact.

1. Submit individual and small groups of poems to at least three online publications.

2. Begin organizing a new chapbook for submission by July.

3. Choose a theme (or interrelated themes) for a framework on which to build a collection of cento poetry.

Each of these goals present problems, but the most  prevalent (at the moment) is my complete lack of knowledge in submitting cento poetry for publication. I would think that it would be required to make an official request to include a previously published author’s work in my own, but I’ve no idea how to proceed. Although many cento collections are mentioned online, I cannot find any solid information on exactly what procedure the publisher followed in order to not infringe upon original rights. Am I on the wrong track here? Where can I find answers?

Since the need to create such a collection is absolutely crawling beneath my skin, I can only trust (for now) that answers to all my questions will arise. I’ve got to get to work on this thing! It’s a must. Possible themes include the usual suspects: poetry, literary history, personal history, nature, relationships, and so on.  I am, however, hoping that inspiration will strike and light me up with more vibrant thematic ideas. Meanwhile, just the thought of conducting research through piles of poetry books gives me happy shivers.

As for #2 on my list, July is not set in stone, but I would be seriously devastated if another chapbook isn’t completed and submitted by year’s end.

So, there’s my tangled thoughts, unwound and splayed on the page for now. Care to discuss your own organization process when putting together a new project? Or three?

Writing Around Doses Of Coffee And Sleep — An Actual Blog Post

My renewed obsession with cento poetry is truly an obsession.

Obsession: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.

Early in the month, I became so enthralled with this form again, even the April prompts for Brigit’s Flame seemed to flow perfectly with the emerging intent to create a collection solely dedicated to ‘patchworking’ together the words of great poets to create a story in verse. Working within the Act and Scene structure (not demanded by the writing prompt, only offered up for interpretation) has taken me to incredible new levels of personal challenge. Challenge! has been missing in my writing life for a while. I’m a challenge junkie, and withdrawals from such are sickening and painful.

Fiction was challenging me in all the wrong ways… I can’t yet articulate precisely what problems arose to bring my fiction writing goals to a screeching halt. Perhaps I may never gain the words to describe how inadequate I felt while trying to transfer the mental images surrounding, and passionate voices pouring from the fictional characters I love so much. The whole experience became so frustrating, so stifling, that I had to put all that work away … for a while. Who knows how long?

Once the twists and turns of cento were reintroduced to me, I did realize that fiction writing was presenting all the wrong challenges — I was working within the confines of an old vision, rather than a new. There was no room for reinterpretation, no vibrancy. Luckily, I suppose, the second I turned away from the story boards and piles of crumpled papers, there was the cento, vibrant and absolutely shimmering with limitless possibilities.

I haven’t yet sat down to examine the bizarre reality that I am indeed working within a form that demands the use of old works — many times read, interpreted, critiqued — works embody very specific thought processes and authoritative intent, and I am more comfortable with puzzling out and piecing together an entirely different narrative from these old works than I am with any other writing prospects just now. Abstract much?

I’ll think about all that later. Maybe.

All I know for certain — because it’s all I can really think about lately — is that a vision has taken over. A vision that is slowly, steadily becoming clearer and clearer, the more I read of great works that pushed the boundaries of 19th and 20th century poetic tradition. I read through and mine out lines from the likes of Eliot and Rich, and lesser known but brilliant Beat poets, and discover the fragments of the story I want to tell.

Act I and Act II are my contributions to the ongoing April contest for Brigit’s Flame, as well as my initial attempt to create something extremely different from any poetry project I have ever undertaken. Tell me what you think of the persona, the narration, the emerging story. Do you find it too abstract to gain an image of the narrator? Or, is it interesting enough to guess at where it all might end?

My Poetry and Creative Nonfiction Collection, Ramshackle Houses, is a Quarter-Finalist!

Copied from:Vine Leaves News Blog

Congratulations to the Quarter-Finalists of the 2015 Vine Leaves Vignette Collection Award!

The manuscripts on this list are those which Jessica, Dawn, Krystal, Kristen and Theresa unanimously believed would be an honour to publish through Vine Leaves Press.

Though we do not have any strict judging criteria (these are vignettes, after all, and do not follow standard rules), we looked for originality, sound spelling and grammar, and the ‘it’ factor. The ‘it’ factor basically means you ‘wowed’ us, and that if we had the resources to publish all the manuscripts on this list, we would.

Each Quarter-Finalist will be contacted for their postal address and mailed an award certificate at the end of the entire judging period (April 30).

Without further ado, here are the Quarter-Finalists in no particular order:

Mosaic, by Aimy Tien
You. I. Us., by Annalisa Crawford
Enter, by Charles Hansmann
It’s Strange Here, by JL Schneider
Ramshackle Houses, by Kathy Boles-Turner
The Intercostal Space, by Kathy Stevenson
The Crimes of Clara Turlington, by Meg Johnson
The Geometry of Pleasure, by Natalia Andrievskikh
Postcards From Here, by Penny Guisinger
P E C F D, by Raul Palma

This Is Me Getting Over Myself

Ramshackle Houses, my collection of poetry and creative nonfiction that I have been prattling on and on about for the past couple of weeks, has been completed and submitted. After all that prattling, after my reading friends put up with a half-dozen rewrites and all my bitching and moaning, and after pounding away at this thing for three solid weeks determined to get it done for a specific submission, I almost didn’t go through with it.

I’ve stayed low the past thirty-six hours or so, mulling over the absolute lack of relief. I should have felt relieved, right? Instead, I let the manuscript lie around here since Tuesday, refusing to look at it, wondering why I didn’t feel good about finishing my first major writing goal.

Then I woke up at 4 a.m. today and said, Fuck it.

I finished the damn thing, might as well do with it what I intended. Yes, it was an emotional journey (that began more than three years ago). Yes, I am grateful for the free time to finally work on it. Yes, I did expect to feel a great deal of relief and pride, and the intoxicating effects of accomplishment. Whatever. It’s time to get over myself and write something else.

Rejection, or acceptance, can be expected in about thirty days.

Day One

The rewrite of the prologue to that yet untitled z-fic is complete, and I think Chapter One is pretty solid. Not bad for five hours work. The gruesome monsters won’t make an appearance until toward the end of Chapter Two, so I’ve still got time to relax a little before loading up the high-powered rifles.

I might workshop the story by bits and pieces over at Brigit’s Flame, haven’t decided yet. That would definitely be more fun, and perhaps more motivational, if there were a few more writers willing to do the same with their works in progress. Meanwhile, a reading friend has put me in contact with another who is willing to beta. I am hoping to have five more chapters ready for perusal by tomorrow afternoon.

I started out yesterday with every intention to proofread the original version of this story, then break up scenes on index cards that could be placed on the office wall in order. The idea of working with such a visual was tantalizing at first, but just planning the task made my fingers itch for the keyboard. Those index cards sit in a nice undisturbed pile on my desk.

Do y’all find certain tools helpful in fleshing out scenes? Do you prefer to write the entire story by hand, or do your fingers prefer the click click click of the keyboard?

Blurry Vision

Yesterday was my self-imposed deadline for submitting my collection. I spent the entirety of Monday scrambling to fix mistakes, not the least embarrassing of which was an Acknowledgments page faux pas. I had actually tried to research writing the Acknowledgments page, but came up with squat after two weeks.

Until, as it happens, moments after a friend pointed out how other published poets utilized their Acknowledgments pages.All of a sudden, Google was positively full of instructions for such things.

Eventually, I will be able to digest and delineate all that I’ve learned throughout this whirlwind writing process. Eventually. But I have a feeling the submission process is going to teach me a few more hard lessons. We’ll see. As I was saying, I missed that self-imposed deadline. There are four days remaining before the actual submission deadline. I’ll make it early.

Meanwhile, I’m more than a bit punch drunk and truly exhausted. My vision is too blurry to do much of anything today. I think I’ll rest.

Start counting …

THE PROJECT is almost done and gone. I will be reading through a final time tomorrow, and submitting bright and early Monday morning.

What’s next? I actually have a schedule mapped out for THE SECOND PROJECT. I’m looking at about three months of work, six days per week… and that might be a low estimate. My plan is to revive three stories originally written in episodic spurts for Brigit’s Flame contests between 2009-2011. The shortest word count of the three comes in at 8k, and it’s the only one that has a real title, a real ending, was submitted for a short story contest in 2012, and soundly rejected.

The other two don’t have titles or endings. I recall only a few half-hearted attempts at cleaning them up. All three are speculative fiction—we’ve got potential alien invasion (the rejected story), zombies pissing off the wrong girl (untitled), and a strange legend that may or may not include demigods running amok (untitled). Speculative? Definitely.

And the fun begins Tuesday 2/24 with zombies. Untitled. Yurgh.

I stopped writing this story when local stores began to sell zombie apocalypse survival gear. Admittedly I got a little irked by speculative becoming mainstream pop. I guess I’m over that now.

Those who know more than the vagueness I’m leaving here in the blog are curious as to how I intend to switch gears from writing autobiographic angst-ridden poetry to z-fic. I can only shrug and say, not a clue, let’s see what happens.