Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

There's a blue moon tonight, something that's fairly rare, happening once every 2 1/2 years. That it occurs on New Year's Eve is even rarer, happening only once in 19 years. But wait! It gets better... there's also a partial lunar eclipse happening tonight, something that is particularly rare: in the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year's Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times... once every 91 years. Cool, huh.

Love those full moons.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great read:

I started Ron Currie, Jr.'s novel, Everything Matters!, back in October, reading on the plane from Milwaukee to Tampa and back again. I found the premise (a boy is born with the ability to "know" things, everyday things about happenings with family, friends and strangers alike, as well as the important, life-altering stuff like the exact date the world will end) intriguing in a mysterious, esoteric sort of way.

I got halfway through the book during those October flights and then life and the holidays got in the way. It sat on my nightstand until this week when I picked it up again (on another flight from Milwaukee to Tampa). It took only a page and I was back in it, back in the lives of these people. It's told from several POVs, including an omniscient "group" intelligence, which is the source of his knowings. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and was, in fact, a little sad to let go when it ended. It was a very unique setup and the authority with which it was told was remarkable: I bought it.

Add this to your list.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Does QUIRKY have its place?

I just received yet *another* rejection for a short-short piece that's, well, quirky. And while I understand that rejection is part of the game, I'm beginning to wonder if this particular piece is doomed. I won't tell you how many times it's been rejected because a) saying it out loud makes it more about the number, somehow, and b) I've got other "normal" stories with many more rejections that've found homes. But I like this story. It's off beat, humorous in an odd sort of way, maybe even a little weird. But it's harmless. And, it's short, <600 words, so it doesn't require a big investment of time... just a willingness to investigate. Surely there are folks out there who appreciate quirky?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feathered fun

I love watching birds (I know... it sounds slightly little old ladyish but what can I say?) and have several feeders in my back yard. One of these days I'm going to figure out how to put up houses for nesting...

Below are some pictures I took over the past few weeks:

A male downy woodpecker

Blue jays at a peanut feeder. I've seen as many as 8 at a time hanging around, waiting their turn.

Black-capped chickadees

A male cardinal

Monday, November 9, 2009

Must-see movies:

I saw two movies recently that were really, really good: Into the Wild and The Reader. I know, I know... these movies have been out for a LONG time. However, I seem to go at things at my own pace. Both of these movies moved me, touched me. I so enjoy when a movie takes me beyond... beyond my expectations, beyond the little box that I live in. These pushed me and made me feel.

If you haven't seen these yet, add them to your list. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beaver Moon

I took this picture last night of the Full Beaver Moon. Technically, it culminated 2 nights ago but, still, it was gorgeous. As to the name... seems that back when these names were given, November was the time to set beaver traps to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.

There's something about full moons...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Honoring Pudding

My sweet, sweet kitty passed suddenly 4 days ago. My heart is broken. He was only 6 and it seems so unfair. He came to us as a baby, just this tiny fur ball, like he had to grow into his fur. My kids named him Pudding because he reminded them of a pudding snack pack. We called him lots of names, though: Puddy Two-shoes; Puddy Pie; Puddy Loo; Toody.

What is life without pets?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Great reads:

I've finished the latest issue of Another Chicago Magazine (the one I picked up a couple of weeks ago) and really loved Caeli Wolfson Widger's "Danger Everywhere." This is a 2nd person POV and I admit that 2nd person is usually a turn off for me (not sure why, but there it is). But! This was different. It grabbed me right away and kept me. Fresh, engaging, real. Terrific.

Also enjoyed, from the same issue, Tracy DiBrincat's "Gardenland."

I stumbled upon Sotto Voce over the weekend and found a great story written by Sandra Maddux-Creech: Neptune's Reinvention. Very creative and well written. Check it out.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lit Journals

I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday and stopped by the literary journal section. I felt like a kid in a candy store! There were so many to choose from... must've been the timing because I've never seen it so stocked before. Here's what I brought home: The Southern Review (Summer 2009); Cream City Review (Spring 2009); Another Chicago Magazine (#49); Zone 3 (Spring 2009). Of these, I've only read Cream City Review before so am excited to see what the others have to offer.

I'm also reading Cliff Garstang's In an Uncharted Country. I'm only a couple of stories in (where do the days go?) but I *loved* "Saving Melissa." The characters were so real, so honest--it had me from beginning to end.

The weather is perfect for sitting outside and reading. I need to find a way to get back to the story I'm working on.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I'm thrilled to report that my story "Pretending" is up at Staccato Fiction! If you haven't checked this journal out yet, what are you waiting for? Here's a link.

Monday, August 31, 2009

In an Uncharted Country

Cliff Garstang's collection of linked stories comes out this week. I've just ordered my copy. Have you ordered yours?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great reads:

I've just discovered two new online journals: Pank and > kill author. I tend to be a little leery about new journals (> kill author is less than 6 months old), but the stories I read in issue 2 were terrific.

Two I especially liked were:
Roxane Gay's Important Things to Know About Career Girls
Lauren Becker's Boilerplate

The other journal, Pank, is out of Michigan and for some reason I thought this was a journal where editors of other journals submitted stories for publication. Not so! Check out Steven McDermott's Sliver -- crisp, fresh prose; engaging. Terrific.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great read:

I stumbled onto the Waccamaw Journal from Coastal Carolina University and found a great story from Andrew Coburn: Ginger.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Great reads:

Two great flash pieces in decomP:

Alicia Gifford's Smoked Oyster, Thunderhead

Steven McDermott's Insane Barker

Go on, take a look. You won't be sorry.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wash Me Again

I'm happy to share that my story Wash Me Again is up at Staccato Fiction today. Wander on over and have a looksee!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Great reads:

Here are 3 stories to read and enjoy:

Myfanwy Collins' Wash, Dry, Fold in Mississippi Review

Alicia Gifford's Afterlife in Narrative Magazine

Jennifer S. Davis' "The Lives of Diamonds" in Epoch, Vol 57, No 3

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


There's a gorgeous full moon tonight (last couple of nights, actually, though I think it's not "technically" full until tonight...whatever; it LOOKED full), called the Sturgeon Moon. And just to its left, and down a scratch, is Jupiter! If I knew how to operate my awesome telescope I'd be out there right now checking it out. I love looking at planets and imagining other worlds.

writer's block

How does one break a writing block? I've tried lots of things: reading; watching the birds; sitting outside; watching movies; cleaning; gardening. I have some cool pictures of birds feasting on my flowers and weed-free flowerbeds (for the moment, anyway), but not much output on the story I'm struggling with. I'm able to eek out only small, 3 to 5 line paragraphs at a time. At this rate, it'll be 2012 before it's finished. Sad.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Folks with August 2nd birthdays:

Butch Patrick (Eddie - Munsters)
Peter O'Toole
Carroll O'Connor
Victoria Jackson (SNL)
Mary-Louise Parker
Wes Craven (director: Nightmare on Elm Street)

And: me!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Perfect Summer Days

Since I posted a whine about the cold, crappy where's-the-summer-weather, it's only fair that I add one about the absolute gorgeous days, yesterday and today. They were perfect. A soft breeze blew: enough to temper the heat from the sun and to send a burst of fresh air through the house. The humidity was low (35% compared to 77% two days earlier). It was the kind of day you remember when you long for summer during the long, ugly months of winter.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great read:

I'm catching up on some reading and came across a GREAT story by Terry Mergenthal in the Spring 2009 issue of The Gettysburg Review: The Practical Heart.

Creative, engaging, terrific.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I've recently reconnected with my friend Liam Cummings via, of all things, Facebook! This is funny, of course, because I'm really technologically challenged and fought the idea of creating a FB account. In fact, my daughter has to help me navigate FB (sad, I know).

Liam lives in Ireland. We met a few years back when we were both attending a week-long class at The Monroe Institute in Charlottesville, VA. Then, in 2005, I went to Ireland and met up with him again. He introduced me to Smithwick's. It's important to note that when I went to Ireland I did not drink beer. However, I came home a Smithwick's convert. I've amended my claim to this: I don't drink American beer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Great reads:

I realize this might be old news, but I recently read these and enjoyed them:

Jacob Appel's The Empress of Charcoal in Harpur Palate

Molly Gaudry's An in Night Train

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where is summer?

It's 59 degrees. Yep, that's right: 5 followed by a 9. That was the HIGH today...the middle of June!! Not even 60. Plus there's a north wind blowing. Now, I realize that complaining about it will get me exactly nothing. But, really, this is approaching ridiculous. We should be running around in shorts and t-shirts and flip-flops. Not jeans and sweatshirts.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


My story "Counting" appears in the May 2009 issue of Bryant Literary Review, Tenth Anniversary.  Check it out!

Graduation Day!!

My daughter graduated from college (UW - Milwaukee) a couple of weeks ago (yay!!).  I'm very proud of her... got a little teary-eyed watching her make her way to the stage.