Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Taking Up Space by Alyson Gerber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thank you to Wunderkind for an ARC of this book.
An honest and emotional portrayal of a young girl struggling with the ways her body is changing and what this means to her life’s passion, basketball.
Sometimes she forgets to make dinner. Or pick up snacks for her sleepover, or stock the refrigerator. But she’s always there to watch Sarah’s games and they love reading and decoding detective stories.
Half of Sarah’s teammates suspect something (and they aren’t very nice about it) when she isn’t eating, but it’s her BFF that steps in and tells their coach.
When the boy she crushes on asks to be her partner in a cooking competition, she learns how much she enjoys cooking and she can take control of what she eats and stand up for what she needs at home in order to feel safe and confident.
Saturday, May 22, 2021
It's been a while since I've posted on my blog. It's been a hectic year for most of us, a year of loss, heartbreak, and fear. A descent into the unknown.
Having faith was difficult. Faith that I'd return to my regular writing schedule. I have not, nor do I expect to return to my pre-covid routine. It's been difficult to find a space in time for myself.
My husband and I live in New York City and share a small apartment with our two young adults ( a large dog and a cat), and both were frustrated and disheartened with the lockdown aka "Pause' in which Governor Cuomo termed. Alas, the end of the tunnel is in view.
I've been unable to find uninterrupted time due to our small business, a jazz club (you can read my previous post ) housed in a historic venue. After lockdown, we improvised and became an outdoor coffee house/cafe. Fresh-squeezed juices. Chagachinos. Local coffee. Pastries from Grandaisy in Tribeca. Our nightclub always had a piston coffee machine, even before Starbucks. My husband spoiled me with his machines and dark roast.
Our sons helped at the cafe (no longer miserable), they learned new skills as baristas. My BFF was happy to join in and likened running a cafe to a housewife on steroids. I thought it was the perfect analogy. After seven days a week for much too long, before extra help arrived, I couldn't focus on writing, not knowing what would happen to our business and my hours were all over the place. I was making food for the cafe when I left. Homework. Meanwhile, my mind was reeling, plotting how to return to the new normal.
I decided on a simple book edit. Not a revision, but an edit. This I figured was all my time allowed, without the stress of wanting to do more. Because apparently, I'm often unsatisfied with the writing work I've managed in a day. It's never enough. (It's hundreds of pages! Let's go!" my inner taskmaster says.) And this was when I had five hours of daily writing time.
I was also waiting to hear back about an R-n-R.
Back in November 2019, I sent in my second Revise and Resubmit to the requesting agent and she warned me it would be a long time, she was slow. I already knew this having finished R-n-R #1 for this agent. She seemed great and I agreed, (at the time) with her suggestions. The historical fantasy had already been revised from its first draft that was omniscient, then third limited past tense, with two POVs, and then 1 POV present, but I've lost track.
I edited another manuscript (not ready to tackle the big revision of the latest draft completed on March 1, 2020.) I queried literary agents. Not one bite after ten sends. I decided to hold that project. I had a realization reading a previous comment from another agent who read the third POV version. She didn't care for the other POV character but she liked the MC's voice and loved the premise. So after three or so years, I realized she was RIGHT and I began revising the historical fantasy back to 3rd POV, past-tense and I cut the other POV character's scenes. But since it's a bit of a whodunnit (genre-mashup, really) I left the chapter scenes in third-objective POV.
And Yesterday I finished! The manuscript is back where I want it. Just a few more tweaks and it's ready to query. (Again!) I reached out to the agent, still "reading" my second R-n-R, and told her I was returning the manuscript to my original design, and while she finally passed, she thought my idea was wise. That was encouraging.
I'm starting to carve out time for writing at other times of the day, restructuring and organizing. I'm not there yet. For years I was an early morning writer and I prefer this. Going from dreaming to writing. Ah, bliss.
Now with our outdoor cafe that's usually a jazz club, moving indoors soon (after construction), my schedule will be in flux once again. I may manage better if I keep flexibility in mind.
Monday, December 14, 2020
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Doin’ The Skeleton Dance! Announcing The 10th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
I have several short stories that haven't found markets, so I'll share here on occasion. This dystopian was written in 2019 and originally titled Slaughterhouse and it's under 1k words! I love writing short fiction between novels to work out ideas. Revising novels can take years. (I'm close to completing the revisions of a Middle-Grade Magical Realism story ~ While I await an agent's response on an R&R for another novel.) Writing short fiction is always fun.
The uneven floorboards creak as I follow the metallic odor, careful not to awaken the supervisor who supposed to be on guard keeping people like me out. Metropolis sent me.
It’s a death sentence to take a photograph. No one’s supposed to know this place exists. The ruins, the rusted leaking pipes dripping sulfur water, my mind reels back: pipes forced down the throats of unwitting birds and geese. Their stomachs pumped with grain and sawdust, protrude out of proportion, as they gurgle undigestible remnants humans could have eaten instead.
Fatty liver is still a delicacy to the Upper Echelons of our ruling class. The exploitation class. Those who seek out our dwindling resources and gobble them up at their leisure. Even after the fowl disease had stopped anyone with any sense. Not for those who pumped their veins with antibiotics, allowing a continuation of their exploitive appetites.
Appetites that destroy our environment. There’s scarce freshwater or land left to farm. This factory is one of the few outposts churning out animal byproducts. The buffalo and cows died off a decade ago, the rest of the land creatures drowned in the floods. Birds that didn’t escape were caught and now, here. It used to be that only geese and ducks were turned into fatty liver, now it’s any bird caught alive.
My camera bangs against the side of my leg as I step over a bird’s carcass, the flesh peeled back, boney ribs exposed.
The others in my camp grew too hungry and tired for this mission. As a ranking member of Metropolis, I volunteered. If we release the caged fowl into the sky, they could eventually proliferate and maybe, one day, we’ll eat fresh eggs again. Until then, its snails and mollusks fished out of the tide pools.
I don’t really need the camera for what I’m about to do. But I want a before and after shot and show the Caver’s the truth. Most, refuse to leave their cave dwellings in fear of viruses.
The birds sense my approach, fluttering, cawing, frantically flapping against their cages. “Shh,” I whisper as if that’ll do anything.
“Who’s there!” shouts a guard.
I slide behind a bloodied cage, a goose’s eye watches, and I hold my breath. Heavy mud-coated boots pass inches away. I shrink and chew my lips shut. The guard isn’t much taller than my 5-feet. Stunted growth like the rest of us.
But he has a turbo. One beam in my direction, I’ll disintegrate into vapor, and then what? What happens to my sister, my baby brother, our grandfather, what’s left of my family.
The birds squawk an ungodly sound. They’re ratting me out. Sinking, sinking.
“Hey, you –" the guard shouts, turbo steady. “Get up!”
I push the hair out of my face, so I can meet his eyes. If he’s going to kill me, I want to see it coming. Defiant, jaw set, teeth clenched, I charge forward.
Tackle. I bite his legs, rip at his arms until I’ve wrestled the turbo out of his grip. Now he’s up against the wall staring into the barrel.
“What’s your plan, young lady?” he says with a bored expression. “Ah, I may already know. You want to repopulate the planet with birds?”
I don’t speak. I don’t want to listen. I’m the one holding the turbo. I search the nearby cages for one large enough to set him inside. “Over there.” I swing the turbo.
“I wouldn’t release these birds if I were you."
They lie! The guards all lie to save their own bought skins. Living side-by-side with the Exploitation Class up on the mountain. It’s manipulation. I’d better hurry before more arrive. He could have set an alarm. The birds are worth more than gold was a decade ago. Food is our scarcest commodity. So are human lives.
“They’re sick birds, you know,” he says after crouching inside the cage. “They’re making the Upper Echelon’s sick too, haven’t you heard?”
“I know they’re sick.” I lock the cage. “Doesn’t mean the birds can’t live a natural life.”
“Cavers sent me,” he says. “I’ve been making sure those on the mountain eat every last bird. They’re dying up there, you know. The ruling class is disappearing. Couldn’t stop their exploitation and they never listened when we, the scientists, warned about the health of the birds.”
“Shut up.” I leave the slaughter room and enter the office, pull the wires on all security systems, and then return to the birds. Open the cages and I begin scooting the birds out.
“They’re sick,” the guard repeats. “They’ll be sick for generations.”
Ignoring him, I tip over buckets—is that grain? Squatting down, I scoop it back inside. I’ll bring what I can with me. Water buckets. Blood buckets. I smell ammonia and gag as I flip another bucket drum.
The geese squawk. Their webbed feet quickening, and I hold the door open until every abled body is outside, soaring into the chemtrail-streaked sky.
“Don’t do it!” the guard shouts. “I’ve been here for a long time making sure no one releases them into the wild.”
“So, you’re just keeping them here to suffer more forced-feeding. You’re lying.”
“It’s the only way to get the Upper Echelons out. They believe it’s their privilege to destroy every last living thing on this planet for their consumption.”
“No kidding.” I poke at two robins lingering behind while the guard rambles on issuing more warnings. “Where’s your tattoo?” I ask.
He pokes his dark brown arm through the cage, showing me the zig-zag river, the Caver’s tattoo and I take a deep breath. “What’d you do with the U.E. Guard?”
“Either you tell me or you tell Metropolis,” I warn.
“I feed him to the birds.”