Welcome to 2013

I started 2013 with the beginnings of a cold (heavy sigh). You would say that isn’t a good thing, but it’s just a cold. Overall, I have good vibes about the new year. I usually don’t feel one way or the other about it, but sometimes I get–I don’t know–an intuitive sense about things. So, even though I had a cold (had, you hear me), there have been a couple of things that I’m putting in the good column.

January 2nd – I was notified that I won the December, Darker Times short story contest. This is my second win. I sent in 2 stories for December and the other one received an honorable mention. Both will be published in the Darker Times Anthology Volume Two.

January 3rd – I had a job interview. More on this later.smiley-teeth

Hey, it’s a start.

I don’t make resolutions and sometimes I wonder who’s idea they were. I secretly think that some really drunk guy did. He woke up on January 1st with a massive hangover and said, “I resolve never to touch another drop of alcohol.” He repeated it to a friend and they told another friend and so on. Next New Year’s Eve he’d forgotten all about that resolution, as did his buddies, and several pints into the new year they were making the same determination again. Tradition started.

I am going to set at least one goal. That is to finish the revisions on my first novel and start the process of getting it published. I have some other goals  pending, but I need to flesh them out and prioritize before I state them.

Have you had any good things happen so far? Do you make resolutions or goals? Is 2013 going to be the year of the Happy Dance for you?

snoopy.happy dance

RG

As 2012 Winds Down

Thank you

It’s almost the end of 2012. At twelve a.m. Tuesday morning, in your particular time zone, people all over your country and all over the world will yell, scream, whisper, murmur and even silently welcome in 2013, the New Year. There will be fireworks, champagne, handshakes, hugs, and kisses.

Before all that happens, I want to be thankful for a few things.

First–my family. Thankful for all of them and their love and support. Thankful that my son has taken a leap of faith to start a new job that will allow him to explore his creativity and allow for friends and family. Thankful that my daughter has decided to give her school experience another chance and that she’s made good friends that will help her endure. I feel that the new year will be really good for both of them and I hope they go into it with positive determination and attitudes.

Second–my friends. Old and new. Those close and far away. The ones I know face-to-face and those I only know virtually. You all rock! Thank ty friendsyou for your support, your friendship, for holding me in your thoughts and prayers. Blessings to all of you in the new year. May it bring health, happiness, love, and prosperity to each and everyone of you.

Third–the random things.

Thank you to the postal clerk who helped me on Christmas Eve. I don’t know your name, but thank you from the bottom of my heart. When I discovered my daughter’s Christmas package was returned because the customs slip came off, this man made sure that it got back into the system that night. I hope his Christmas was great and that his new year is better.

To all those people in the drive through at Starbuck’s–you know who you are–the ones that buy coffee and sometimes more for the person behind you. Not just you, but all the people who practice random acts of kindness every day, those of you who make someone else smile and feel happy, even if it’s for a moment. That moment, or day, or week, or however long it lasts, is so beneficial. I hope in the new year that you see that paid forward, or continue the practice, or  that it is reciprocated on you.

Thank you to my critique partners (Lisa, Janet), critique group (RMFW-Tues/Thurs), and writing group (GWWG). You are the reason I get better, gratitudethe reason I’m published, and one of  the reasons I keep writing. Also, all of the writing friends (too many to name) I’ve met through contacts and various social media. I hope the new year sees you finish a manuscript, getting published, and having success. And, to Jessica Coleman of Darker Times Fiction for publishing my short stories. Best wishes to all of you.

Thank you to the many (again, too many to name) who are keeping me in mind every time you hear of a job I might be qualified for, and those (Jeremy, Mindy, Bill) who hold a position for me in your busy season should I not find that permanent position.

I’m sure there are other people that I need to thank. My daughter’s flat mates, my son’s friends, and the fact there is now enough snow for my husband to enjoy his skiing. And I thank God for seeing me through this far.

For all of you, everyone who reads this, I wish you a healthy, happy, loving, prosperous, and outstanding New Year! Blessings to each and everyone of you in 2013!

RGTY


Short Is Sweet!

Over the past month and a half, I’ve written three short stories, submitted two to a monthly contest, and one to a friends blog for the Halloween season. This little writing side trip has been fun, revealing, rewarding, and a palette cleanser.

In September, I entered and won the Darker Times Fiction contest with my horror short, No Lights. I surprised a few folks who weren’t aware of the darker side lurking beneath my surface. In October, I entered Pay the Piper, a supernatural piece, and was rewarded with second runner up. Both of these stories will be published in the Darker Times Anthology (date to be announced) and will be available in e-book and paperback. This has me pretty giddy as they will be the first pieces I’ve had published since a poem, in another anthology, in 2000.

In the spirit of Halloween, I also rallied to a request from a friend to write flash fiction (although mine is over the word count a bit) to post on her blog for the haunting season. I’m going to keep this one under wraps as I may be able to enter it in the November Darker Times contest.

While I hope that I can add more short stories to my repertoire, the next big goal is to get my novel published. That brings me back to why this venture into the dark side has been cleansing. It has made me eager to dive back into the revisions on my book, shown me some things I need to do to make it better, and helped me realize I have a character that needs some TLC.

Stay tuned!

The Little Things

Little, random things make me happy. Sometimes they even restore my faith in humanity or at least make what’s rude in the world a little less so.

What triggered me to write this, is a random act of kindness. I sat in the drive through of Starbuck’s Wednesday morning, ready to pull up, give the barista the gift card I’d received two days prior, and grab my order, only to be told that the lady in the van ahead of me had paid for my breakfast. We both exclaimed at how generous and kind that was as she handed me my scone and coffee.

I hadn’t recognized the van, and I couldn’t see the drivers face, so I have no idea if I knew the person, or if it was a total stranger. Did the season prompt her to do this? Could she see the stress and distraction on my face? Was it simply a kindness that she felt compelled to do?

None of this matters. What does, is the fact that there are still people in this world who perform random acts of kindness. This person, whether I know her or not, can be sure that I will pay her act forward at the first opportunity. I believe in this philosophy and wish that more people would.

Thank you, whoever you are. I pray you are blessed for your generous spirit. Your simple gift made my day and boosted my outlook. The warmth of this act stayed with me that day and will for some time.

My wish for everyone today, this Christmas season, and all year is that you experience this phenomenon at least once, either as a recipient or as the benefactor. Either way, it makes the soul sing.

Warmest regards – Robin

The voices in my head.

I hear voices. I know what that sounds like…crazy.

The loudest voice in my head is my character Simon. Lately he’s been nagging me to get on with revisions of “his story.” Yes, he is a little possessive of the novel since it is about him. I won’t argue with the fact that he did have something to do with the direction it took.

Lately, Simon is competing with Grace, who is a new character in a new idea for a novel. Unlike Simon though, Grace is content to sit back and wait her turn. She does; however, get a scene in when Simon shuts his mouth.

There are also, Hayden and Blush, characters from a short story that I wrote, which won 2nd place in The Creatively Crazy Writing Competition. They are biding their time until I decide to write a full length story about them. They whisper now and then, never raising their voices, just reminding me that they should get a turn eventually.

By now, several of you are contemplating a call to the nearest asylum. I don’t blame you, I might have too if someone told me this a little over a year ago. That was before I started writing my book. Now, if I don’t hear from one of them, I worry. I need them to motivate me, but not just my characters, I need my friends, family, and followers to encourage me as well.

I want to see Wayward published, so does Simon. He’s very adamant about that. Actually, so is Grace, because the sooner that happens, the sooner her story gets told.

I hope you all get where I’m coming from and understand. My mother told me once that when I was little, and she would put me in time out (usually for my smart mouth), she would hear me telling stories. Making them up where I sat on the little red bench, in the hallway, by myself. So, obviously, I’ve been hearing voices most of my life. If only I had listened to them sooner.

: ) Robin

The Importance of Being Ernest

I want to say, that it is very important to have a critique partner or group. That person or persons can put things into perspective that you, as your own worst critic and editor, may not see or catch. Just sitting at Starbuck’s and discussing the plot of your book can bring that AHA! moment or the subtlest of changes that help the flow of your prose.

Make sure that you establish ground rules, even if they are unspoken/unwritten. When my critique partner and I met for the first time, we barely knew each other. We each brought something to read, but we also found out a little about each other and what we wanted to get out of the “business” of our meetings. We would not demoralize, humiliate, be hypercritical or mean. We would be honest and supportive, offering suggestions and constructive criticism. I would liken it to a couple who are courting, everything is tentative at first, but as the relationship grows, a more open dialog is established. Pretty soon, you each know how to approach critique with your partner.

I am truly blessed with a critique partner, who is becoming a good friend as well. I also belong to a writing group where learning craft is the focus, but we manage to throw in a little critiquing from time to time, and the people in it are honest and constructive, never destructive. That is key!

So, cheers to Lisa and the Golden Wannabe Writers Group! They are awesome!

Regards,
Robin

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