Writer’s Desk, 9/15

Drama! Action! Excitement!–Someone sitting at a desk and writing!

Out the window: Sunshine dapples through the Lady Palm (which I’ve pruned to no longer actually tap on my window screens), shockingly bright. And out the other window, where the sunlight hits the white paint of the porch, it’s blinding. Soon I’ll have to close that blind so I’m not squinting at the computer screen, simultaneously trying to see and to not see.

On the desktop: A small, rather neat stack of papers to scribble on and reminders to myself about various small or side characters in the novel. And a jar of push pins.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: The novel. The novel. The novel.

But my mind is drawn to a short story that I really want to write. Can you say “cat vacuuming?” Unh-hunh. Back to the novel. (*sigh*)

And Another Thing: The real reason for the tidy desk surface is that I finally got a corkboard and hung it right over my desk. Now most of those miscellaneous market listings, reminders, great words to use, terrible words to avoid, etc., are all hanging up there! I should have done this years ago. I’m feeling so organized ^–^

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Wherein I See My First Alligator!

gator sign

click to embiggen and to read the smaller text.

On Sunday, between rainstorms the spousal unit and I went to Payne’s Prairie. I’d been hoping to go there sometime, and suddenly, it was the time. It’s a huge area–a 21,000-acre savanna that’s now a Florida Preserve State Park with numerous entrances and trails.

We decided to visit La Chua Trail. From their website: “The LaChua Trail is three miles round-trip from the North Rim of the Prairie to the observation tower. This trail provides scenic views of wet-prairie and marsh habitat including Alachua Sink and Alachua Lake. … For safety and wildlife disturbance reasons, the trail closes 1 hour before sunset. …  Foot traffic only! Pets are not allowed on this trail.”

No pets because pets may become alligator bait. Seriously. Alligators can walk across the dike the trails are on, and high water effectively “lowers” the trails closer to the watery areas right beside them, making pets a draw for the hungry alligators. How close are the gators? This close:


That is, when I spoke to my husband, excitedly pointing out the alligator sunning on the banks, it turned its head to look at me with an open jaw. I backed away, like a smart human who wants to keep all her limbs, and snapped a photo on full zoom.

We also saw lots of anhinga, moorhens, egrets and herons. On the trip back, we saw 4 more alligators sunning on the opposite side of the pond from us, one a real monster that was probably 10 ft long.  Also, there were signs that wild pigs (nasty, invasive things) had been rooting and feeding in the area some while before–turned up earthen areas, and the “sweet” smell of swine manure. Even after the morning’s rains, it was still pungent. Dragonflies raced through the sky in huge numbers, almost seeming like flocks–red ones, blue ones, ones that sped by so fast I couldn’t track their colors.

Frogs croaked and birds piped and American lotus were blooming above their pads that thrummed like drumheads when moorhens ran across them (my photo turned out poorly, so no pic here–sorry). Ferny wild fennel grew taller than our heads, and smelled like anis if you crushed a leaflet. And above it all, over the wide, flat horizon, clouds piled up and grew taller as they drifted ponderously by, and some were raining down on areas below while others shone bright white against a dark backdrop of rain caused by the former. Through them, the sun shone so that down below we sweated and thanked the breezes carrying the sweet and cooling scents of rain.

Unfortunately, we did not see the bison, or the wild horses or cracker cattle that roam the area, although I’ve been told they do show up in that area. Perhaps next time.


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More Publication News

I hope your weekend was as filled with fun as mine was! Hurray for long, luxurious holiday weekends!

And now, for that good news: I have not one, but two stories coming out this month. The first is already available. “Shelba’s Brood” is in the September issue (#29) of Niteblade Fantasy and Horror Magazine.

This is a flash story about Shelba, an alien being. She is obviously somewhat based on an arachnid, but not entirely. Her trance when she laid her eggs? That came from sea turtles. Her exoskeleton is from lobsters and ants. And the “protective slime” comes from various fishes. So what exactly do Shelba and the other Matrons look like?  Arachnoid ants, mostly–just not entirely. The rest is up to you.

The second story is “Backstitches in Time.” It was just accepted and will be published at Every Day Fiction on Thursday, September 18. That’s just over 2 weeks from now. I’ll put up a reminder before then, and the little “extra bit” behind the story on publication day. Just a tease, you ask? Well, this particular story deals with Greek mythology and gives not one, but ten happy endings! And it’s flash fiction as well.

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New Home, New Photos: A Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

So, we moved from the north to the Deep North, as this area of north central Florida is known. Getting to know the place will take time, but here are some pics from around the area. It really is beautiful, … Continue reading

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Yesterday, even my Fish Celebrated with Me…

…by having babies!!!!!!

Yesterday was a wonderful day, despite the discovery of new, glassy commas that are swordtail fry swimming in my fish tank. (And really, it’s only a 2-gallon tank. Where does she think these things are going to go? Note to self: get a fish version of a book on family planning.) Really, it was amazing. Getting my story in the mail from DSF was…interesting. Cool, and a bit freaky. Something I could definitely get used to, however.

I want to thank everyone for the great feedback and support on this little success story (publication) of mine. I was ensconced in a golden glow most of the day, just beaming. Even when writing new words (which didn’t want to come out onto the page, BTW), I was more content than usual. From this I learned something very useful: for me, writing is wonderful. Sometimes I love it, other times I hate it, and usually I get lost in the words, in the “trying to translate this cool thing onto the page.”  And acceptance is awesome. It makes me giddy and gleeful. But sharing the joy of publication? That’s where it’s at, the true gold. For me at least, and right now.

So, thanks for sharing this journey with me. Now, it’s back to unpacking… (Speaking of which, I’m still looking for subtropical house brownies. Anyone know how to draw them in to do housekeeping chores?)


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“Dancing” is Live at DSF!

Holy cow! It’s here! My first sale to a SFWA-endorsed pro market!

It’s hard to tell you more about this flash fiction story than the story notes at the end, but it’s become my tradition, so here goes:

Earlier this year on the Codex site, there was a flash fiction contest. This story was written from a prompt for the contest, and edited afterwards to correct storyline and tighten the prose. I have to give extreme kudos to Vylar Kaftan, who ran the contest and provided 1) such great prompts, and 2) an additional list of things to consider when writing flash for publication. I grabbed a few of those additional things, and the whole shebang turned into this tale of a wife and mother in a truly terrible situation.

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Dancing is almost Here!

It’s a very exciting day for me. Tomorrow morning my science fiction story, “Dancing,” goes live at Daily Science Fiction. The email will go out, and it will list…my name. Woohoo!

A Monday story! Does that mean it’ll help combat the Monday blues? It will for me. :-)

I hope you’ll take time to pop over, read the story, and share my excitement. And if you haven’t already, consider signing up for the free emails–one story a day, speculative fiction of every stripe, sent directly to your inbox.

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What a Strange Place for a Waterfall!

Last evening, a real drencher of a storm came through. It poured like you see maybe once or twice a year in Ohio, but apparently is fairly common this time of year in Florida. But that only makes the rest of this more strange.

We rested on our front porch, watching the water cascade from the sky, and off the metal roof (gutters aren’t popular here, either) to the ground. But, what was this? Our front door becomes inaccessible during rainstorms due to the incredible waterfall directly over the  front steps onto the sidewalk.



We laughed like crazy, then realized that, yes, a gutter is definitely needed here. Guess what we’re doing this weekend, weather permitting?

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