Revitalizing

Ilittle-me‘ve been away for some time due to my husband’s surgery and, well, a need to step back and look at the work I do as a writer and my involvement in social media. I’m not one to jump on every new social media site and, in fact, find many of them difficult at best or wholly unsatisfactory at worst. I’m endeavoring to discover what works for me, which sites I enjoy (which will encourage me to post to them regularly), and seeking out what I have to say that might be of worth to others.

Have you experienced something similar? What have you found works for you … and doesn’t work for you? How do you manage the time-sink of updating sites regularly without cutting drastically into your writing time or interrupting it altogether?

I’m also looking into marketing tools that I’m comfortable using and will impact my writing in a positive way. This is a one-woman operation here–like many of you, I have no “staff,” so it’s all up to me (and perhaps a few willing friends) to pass along word of my work. I’m seeking that fine balancing point where I am doing enough of the business of being a writer without having the work suffer.

The battle continues.

Contest Finalist

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I’m very proud to announce that my story “Last Call” was finalist in the F(r)iction Summer 2018 Contest.  This has particular poignancy for me, as the story was written in response to my mother’s battle with dementia and a particular question she once posed to me.

Congratulations to fellow finalist George Michelsen, and winner Kyra Simone!

Story Published

Veg PulpI’m always delighted when I can report the appearance of a new story. One of my latest–“Reclamation”–appears in the latest issue of Wild Musette. 

“After the call came with the news of her father’s death, Bryn stood on her apartment stoop three thousand miles away, sipping a tepid beer, and stared at the Cascades rising against the sky. Images from the past played against the line of mountains. Her chest felt empty, hollow as the Tin Man of Oz. Not with grief, but with its absence.

“She didn’t attend the funeral, not even as a distant spectator hidden behind the line of trees at the rear of the cemetery. When the lawyer contacted her a week later to say that she–Bryn–was sole beneficiary of the small estate, she felt  nothing, certainly not gratitude. She’d stayed away for ten years. What did any of it matter?

“She considered hiring an agent to assess the value of what had been left and auction it off. Any proceeds could be donated to LGBTQ rights or some other charitable organization her father would have loathed. Instead, she booked a flight she couldn’t afford, packed a small bag, and headed east.”

What prompts Bryn to follow that long line into the past, and what does she discover when she arrives there? To find you, order your copy of Wild Musette here. 

And, as ever, thank you.

Tina (and an accompanying bit of news)

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Tina on left, with her almost-twin Judy, 1970.

This daughter of Rosy and Thonglaw arrived in April 1970. “She was [gorgeous],” Roger recalls. “The spitting image of Rosy. The rationale for selling her rather tan saving her the breeding pool never made sense to me.”

At the age of two, Tina moved to the Vancouver Game Farm in British Columbia, where she lived alone for fourteen years. In 1986, at long last, she gained a companion–a young female African elephant named Tumpe. They remained a duo until 2002 when the farm’s new owners sent Tumpe to a zoo in the United States.

Tina had developed quite severe pododermatitis (foot rot) and degenerative osteoarthritis. Her keepers did what they could to ease her distress, but it became clear that she needed a more suitable place to live. In August 2003, she arrived at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN. She died there unexpectedly in July 2004. A necropsy revealed heart problems, possibly a genetic defect. Staff at the sanctuary reported that the herd stood vigil by her grave site for two days.

For more about Tina and the other elephants at the Sanctuary, please check here.

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My tidbit of news is that the latest rounds of proposed edits have been completed and submitted to the folks I hope will become my publishers. Stay tuned!

Go, Simon & Schuster!

Also from The Authors Guild:

“On August 13, for the second time this year, President Trump’s counsel sent a letter demanding that a publisher cease publication of a book criticizing his presidency. Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s book Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, refused to be cowed by the unsupported allegations that the book contains “confidential information and disparaging statements.” The publisher stated that it “will not be silenced by legal threats grounded in vague allusions.” In January, Henry Holt/Macmillan similarly refused to submit to a cease and desist letter alleging that Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury defamed Trump and instead moved the publication date up. We know how that went—the publicity around Trump’s attempt to quash the book quickly propelled sales and the book went on to become the top best-selling book of the year to date.

“So it is surprising and indeed shocking that the White House has thrown out another baseless threat of litigation. Not only is it unseemly for a sitting president to threaten a lawsuit to prevent criticism, but it is a clear violation of the First Amendment. As we said when Trump’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to block Fire and Fury, “The ability to criticize the government and its leaders lies at the essence of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech; and threats of libel lawsuits are one of the de facto primary means of curtailing free speech in this country today.”

“The Authors Guild firmly stands against the use of frivolous and baseless threats of legal action to prevent publication of a book or to insist that material should be deleted. It is an intimidation tactic of wealthy bullies who think they can use money to silence authors and publishers by cornering them into lawsuits—however baseless—which the authors and publishers may lack the means to defend. To stop this unwarranted attack on speech and defend the right of authors and journalists to write freely and without fear, the Authors Guild has lobbied and litigated against the expansion of invasion of privacy and rights of publicity claims to journalism and books on topics that concern the public, and we have supported anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) laws recently introduced in a number of states to stop the practice of misusing the legal system to muzzle criticism. The Guild’s legal department also regularly counsels members on First Amendment issues and educates authors on their rights with respect to libel laws so they will not be cowed into self-censorship.

“While it is bad enough for celebrities and other wealthy individuals to use threats of defamation and related lawsuits to restrain speech, when this kind of stunt emanates from the President, who has a duty to protect the Constitution—and not just once, but twice in one year—it is truly shameful. As Authors Guild President James Gleick has said, “This president cannot stand criticism, and he continues to lash out—against the free press, against his own intelligence community, and now against the publication of a book. He is behaving like a petty despot. This is the second time he has used the power of his office in an attempt to intimidate a book publisher, and we repeat what we said the first time: This isn’t a country where we quash books that the leader finds unpleasant. That’s what tyrants do.”

“We applaud Simon & Schuster for proceeding with publication despite the threats.”

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An Important Letter from Writer Richard Russo

To my mind, writers should always support one another. I’ve seen a lot of that, but I’ve also seen some of the other–jealousy, back-stabbing, etc. With the idea of support in mind, and in light of these rapidly-changing times in the publishing field, please take a moment to read this appeal from Richard Russo.

Thanks.

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Writers supporting other writers. From left to right: Dan Foley, Melissa Crandall, John Valeri, Terry George, Stacey Longo, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover.