Category Archives: writing

Procrastination & NaNoWriMo

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NaNoWriMo

 

The pressures of November can be hard for writers. Do you compete in Nanowrimo? Do your goal for 50,000 words? Maybe you start that screenplay you always wanted to write? Whichever you choose, you will to outline, plan, and set aside time hoping NaNoWriMo goes smoothly. Only it doesn’t. You sit down to start writing on Nov 1 and realize you hate your idea, or you’re not feeling the characters you spent the last month planning out. Now you’re starting out behind the eight-ball trying to come up with a new idea. Writer’s block is hitting for all direction and days are ticking by, and your word count is in the gutter.

Snap out of it! This month is a time to remind yourself that if you successful adjust your schedule, even if all you’re currently doing is complaining, then you can make time to write all the time. No one is going to come and check that your word count is all for the same book. Be like me and procrastinate writing a blog, I’ve finished a few months’ worths already. I also have written short stories, essays, and website writing that I was putting off. Make procrastination work for you. Because when you see all the words, you have put down on paper avoiding writing you will realize you’ve been going all along.

Now stop reading blogs and write one of your and before you know it, you will be sailing through your word count and have short stories galore. Be flexible with yourself, and if you extend into December then your novel will be a wonderful early Christmas present.

After writing this blog I knocked out over 3,000 words on my NaNoWriMo project. All it took was getting started.

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Writing is Writing

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Getting Back on the Horse

     Writing

       This weekend I joined an intimate group of writers to embark on a short story-a-thon. The goal was to write a short story 5,000 words or less and publish the completed story on Amazon. It began promptly at 5 pm on Friday and ended at 6 pm on Sunday. Yes, we were allowed home to sleep. I wasn’t sure I could write and publish in a single weekend, but I surprised myself. Our host Sonja Dewing kept the group on track with writing sprints and socializing break. I can’t wait to work with her for Nanowrimo, maybe I not only finish but beat my goal.

My reason for signing up for this event probably wasn’t unique. I use to write a lot. I’ve complete short screenplays, YA novels (young adult), and numerous short stories and flash fiction. A couple of years ago life got busy and my time for writing dried up. I’ve been trying to restart the flame for the last few months, but I’ve only gotten sputtering starts. After this intense weekend of writing, I feel almost back on track. It is Monday after all and I’m sitting here writing.

Thank you Plot Duckies for the support and the motivation to get me back to doing the thing I love, writing. Check on Facebook to see when the next short Story-a-thon is and jump in.

award

Check out my winning story at Amazon! 

 

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Doggies Treats

“Son of a bitch. It’s bad enough your God damn dog tore up my prize tomatoes but now he killed my chicken too.” Jon stood clenching his fist. His face the color of his prize tomatoes that were strewed about the yard.
“Dude you need to chill. He just animal and that’s what they do man” the young man said from the other side of the fence his eyes match the color of Jon’s face.
“If I catch that damn animal-“ Jon shook his fist in the air and stomped across his yard slamming the sliding glass hard enough to make it rattle. A few beers and some football later Jon woke up on the couch to the sound of dog, howling. Armed with the shotgun he kept by the door for an emergency, he stormed out the door to find the dog digging up all his potatoes. In the silence of the night, Jon grabbed the barrel of the gun and swung it over his shoulder like a bat and crept towards the dog. “Gotcha” he whispered.
***
“Hey man, I’m making some burgers. What do you say I make you one and we bury the hatched,” Jon waved at his neighbor over the fence whistling has he flip the sizzling meat patties.He through one on a bun with fresh topping. “When until you taste what fresh lettuce can add to a burger.”
“Hey man, thanks. Have you seen my dog?” the young man walked up to the fence and shook hands with Jon.
“No, I’m sure he’ll be along.”
“Yeah man,” He took a huge bite of the burger and pointed at his mouth smiling and nodding.
“Special recipe for special occasions,” Jon said with a smile. “I’ll get you another to go.”

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In Preparation For June

Burning eyes, far-away voices. How? Why? I’m not ready. I’ll never be ready. Forcing air into my lungs, I closed my eyes, my ears, my heart. Images flash through my mind, the past, the future, anything but today. Arms crossed, fists clenching. Everything fades away except the fire in my belly. Peeling my eyes open the sun is setting over the empty cemetery. My shoulders drop, my fingers wrapped gingerly around the small vial in my pocket.

It was never any good without you, my love.

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FOFVA- Friends of Film Video and Arts

New Mexico-based Friends of Film Video and Arts is celebrating its 10th anniversary with big changes. Anne Stirling a founding member of FoFVA is spearheading the new direction with the help of dedicated FoFVA members, not only will they continue to be a relationship building group, but now they will be going into hands-on production.

Anne, with the help of FoFVA, wants to re-invent how quality television is made; by creating a new, cooperative production with one of her projects that is close to her heart, Quirky View. Quirky View, a television show showcasing real people doing real things that are fun and different, will be the vehicle to help FoFVA grow from a networking group into a hands-on, broadcast quality, film-training program, that gives back to the community. “This endeavor will be a great way for people to get involved in a production and see it through,” shares Stirling. “Quirky View a top quality, well respected, and well-received series that is in demand year to year as an upbeat, off-beat content that highlights people doing things they are passionate about.

It will be a long year of working out the details, but FoFVA will begin a production schedule in January 2015. With a small-dedicated group, FoFVA hopes to make a business model that will inspire others and add diversity to television and movie line-ups. What will be the outcome from designing a new business model for production? The production will continually train new people in all areas of film including cross-training members, giving members a place to teach and share experiences from the film world, and a database of FoFVA members to showcase their talents, projects and skill sets. FoFVA hopes one day to be a clearinghouse of all things film in New Mexico; for now building a community of quality filmmakers helping one another is the priority. It will also give members a chance to own a share of the production the way customers own part of their local co-op.

FoFVA will reach out to all the film organizations in New Mexico, guest filmmakers, and online submission from all over for Quirky View segments to make a fully collaborative endeavor. Professionals in all areas will be brought in to mentor and keep the production running as members learn what needs to be done.

FoFVA is celebrating 10 years by leaping into uncharted territory to demystify the film industry and make it accessible to people who might not have another way to learn, hands-on. This first year maybe a rough one, but it will be full of surprises and wonderful adventures into cooperative productions.

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Souvenir Shop

Flash Fiction 48 hour challenge: location truck stop, prop diamond ring, genre suspense

     A collector of trash finds not all souvenirs are what they seem

     Inhaling slowly from the cigarette pressed between his lips he watched through the kitchen window waiting on the only customer. Customers were few and far between in the greasy spoon and employees even fewer. The ones that did come to work never did last long. He remembered cursing the day he inherited this dump from his scumbag of a father. But, that was also the day he found the collection in the basement. He would finish what his dad started, a tribute to a bastard.
He exhaled slowly tapping the ashes from the cigarette on to the grimy floor, before flipping over the burger on the grill. His eyes watched as her golden blonde hair swayed in the sunlight while she wiped down the faded tabled with a rag. She always scrubbed a little harder when she was going to use it. The way her hips moved back and forth reminded him of the need that he had to fill. His smile grew as he plated the burger and fries and rang the bell. Tonight would be the night.
Annie bit into the burger causing grease to flow down her arm and onto the dingy table. She had been at this truck stop, just left of hell, almost a week and she was tired of waiting. She dropped the burger down on to the paper wrapper and wiped her mouth with a napkin. She broke a piece of the meat off and tossed it across the table to the cockroach that lived in the cushions on the other side of the booth. She watched the critter scurry out grab the meat and drag it back to the hole it lived in. Unlike the roach she refused to continue to dwell in unsanitary filth for very long. Her fingers stroked the diamond ring hanging from the string around her neck, hidden by her dirty grey tank top. Blinking back the tears she gathered her trash and retied the apron around her waist.
She locked doors just after midnight flipping off the lights. Her boss, the cook, had left hours ago. She stretched her arms over her head with a yawn, and walked back into the storage room. She peeled off her clothes and walked into the employee bathroom. In the sink she used her tank top as a washcloth and slowly bathed herself. While she dripped dry she washed out her the rest of her clothing and hung them about the small room. She padded carefully to the back of the storage area where a small cot was set up. With a sigh she lay out on the bed and closed her eyes picturing better days.
Biting his lip he allowed his excitement to grow as he watched her safely hidden behind shelves of food. He turned the long sharp knife over and over in his hand; he still got stage fright before the kill. He rubbed himself against the end of the shelving unit. He’d been waiting a long time for a pretty blonde to come his way. He would savor the moment. He eyes darted to the trapdoor a few feet away. Just under it was his family. A beautiful brunette, a redhead, and a blonde still wearing her clothes from the 60’s that father had left, but they all smelled of him. This one had been kind enough to remove her clothes so he wouldn’t have to find a new outfit to display her in.
He had been practicing on the trash that rolled through here for years. It had taken him many tries to perfect the taxidermy methods in his father’s journal. After many messy mistakes he was sure this would be the one. He watched as her body relaxed and her chest began to rise and fall more slowly. He would make it a quick jab in the neck. She would bleed out quickly and the hole could easily be repaired or cover. He moved slowly towards the bed forcing his hands to steady. He loomed over her for a moment before raising the knife. Closing his eyes in anticipation, he plunged the knife down, but something wasn’t right.
His eyes popped open to see Annie’s crystal blue eyes staring into his, her hands gripping his wrist tightly. With a low growl Annie wrenched his wrist and pulled her legs up wrapping them around his neck. She slammed his head into the wall behind the bed before pulling him down on the bed and tightening her legs. Pulling with all her strength, his shoulder made a loud cracking noise and the knife fell from his hand. His groan muffled by the blanket on the bed. She tightened her legs until the struggling ceased.
She kicked the limp body into a pile on the floor and made sure there was no sign of life. Reaching into her backpack she pulled out a list of names, missing girls from the area from the last 50 years, and satisfyingly stuffed the list into his mouth. Standing, she caught a glimpse of the ring still hanging around her neck, a stark reminder of why she still does this. It wouldn’t bring her back the love she lost, but it was a reason to keep going. She stepped over the body and lay down to sleep. Her clothes would be dry by morning and she would move on.

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The Hillerman Legacy Continues

911860.spiderwomansdaughterJournalist, turned novelist, Anne Hillerman has been writing from an early age, following in her father’s footsteps. From article writing to editing and now restaurant reviews, Hillerman ran the gambit in the newspaper world. Back in 2004, for she began the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in honor of her father, and now has written her first novel picking up the series her dad left behind.

Anne began her career over twenty years ago, starting out as a copy editor, and then moving into reporting. She started at the Santa Fe New Mexican and then moved on to work for the Albuquerque Journal. Moving into reporting was a learning experience that Hillerman wouldn’t trade for the world. It helped her learnto write against deadlines, hone her skills to word counts, and gave her confidence in her writing abilities. Fact sorting was the most relevant skill she learned for her later career as a fiction writer. There are so many facts and details that a writer can add to a story or an article. It takes discernment to know which of these facts or details is going to impact the reader. It’s a skill that most writers spend lifetime learning. Hillerman states, “Being a reporter introduced me to some many different kinds of people and gave me a lot of confidence.” Taking on the role of editor allowed her to work with some talented writers. While helping other writers tighten their work and create stronger prose, Hillerman learned to refine her own writing.

Hillerman and her husband, Don, worked together to produce many books on New Mexico including: Santa Fe Flavors: Best Restaurants and Recipes (winner of the 2009 New Mexico Book Award), The Insider’s Guide to Santa Fe, and many other titles, none of which were novels. After her father, Tony HIllerman’s, death in 2008, she decided to write the next book in the series that her father had created. Hillerman wrote Spider Woman’s Daughter in 2013, partly cathartic, partly to honor her father’s memory, and, of course, to pay homage to the characters. The story, number 19 in the series, picks up with Leaphorn, Bernie, and Chee, with the addition of some new characters. Staying true to the main characters in the story, she gave her own twist to the new mystery and allowed all the characters to grow in the addition. Devote readers maybe be surprised who solves what in this installment of the series, but it will keep you guessing right up until the end. She is in the process of completing number twenty and signing a book deal for three more installments. These characters will be around to save New Mexico from the criminal elements for years to come. “I loved his stories,” Hillerman shares. “I love his characters… his setting.”

Wordharvest, founded in 2002 by Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg, supports the art of writing. They began the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in 2004, now celebrating its tenth year, Tony participated in the inaugural conference that was focused for mystery writers. Originally intended to be a one time event, the conference went over so well that it became an annual event. It was opened up to create a space where writers of all genres could come to learn and share experiences in the 2010 Writers Conference. The event is three days long and held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Day one consist of hands on writing workshops, day two the craft of writing, and day three the business of writing. The conference days are packed with speakers, special guests, and panels to give new and seasoned writers information on writing from all angles. Along with the conference, they run a contest for new mystery writers every year. “We thought it would be fun to shine the light on the wonderful talent that New Mexico has in terms of writers,” says HIllerman. Writers who have not published a mystery before can submit their mystery novel for a chance to win a $10,000 advance. Submission deadline is June 1st, and it must take place in the Southwest. Please visit www.wordharvest.com for details.

Anne Hillerman – talented writer, inspiring editor, and community involvement keep her busy and traveling all over New Mexico. She still finds time to do restaurant reviews during her travels. If you’re a mystery reader, or a writer, Anne Hillerman should be on your list of people to follow. She is doing amazing in the writing world and you can be a part of her journey.

 

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Kansas Bleeds

KansasBleedsFrntNew Mexico native Melody Groves has a deep love for anything cowboy and Old West. Winner of six first-place writing awards, Melody is a member of Western Writers of America, SouthWest Writers and New Mexico Press Women. She writes for Wild West, American Cowboy, True West, New Mexico Magazine and other regional publications. When not writing, she’s busy playing rhythm guitar with the Jammy Time Band. Kansas Bleeds is a coming of age story everyone can relate to. Hotheaded teenager, overbearing father, big brothers putting in their two cents and negative outside influences, except this story is set in the old west where shootouts replace arguments and teenagers are considered grown-ups. Luke, our hotheaded teenage antagonist, is married and himself a parent who is trying to break free of his father’s views. But, it’s not easy when your family is living in your parents’ house. The language and feel of the book transports the reader to 1862 Kansas, a place and time of hard living, and the polarizing effect of the war even in the territories trying to stay out of it. Through out the story you will spend as much time cheering for Luke as you do wanted to shake some sense into him. A reader, like myself, with limited interest in the Wild West the story kept me turning the page well after bedtime. The hard choices a family has to make and the tragedies that spur them on, will make you grateful and sad when you reach the end. The Wild West holds a special place in Melody’s heart and she invites you to show you what a wonderful and mysterious world it could be. Leave yourself plenty of time for reading because sleep won’t be coming any time soon. Checkout more at New Mexico Entertainment Magazine

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Near Death in the Neon City

The thing about Vegas is that it’s not just one night; an eternity can pass between sunset and sunrise. I cannot tell say certainty that what I’m about to tell you is fact. I can only affirm it happened and let it serve as a warning to others who are foolish enough to venture into the night.
Seductive shimmering stars of neon light, up and down the boulevard drawing people into the boisterous opened mouthed casinos. Play Here, Win Big. Bewitching girls hint at untold hedonism to all who enter. The song of the slots a siren’s call, the scintillating color attracts the eye, a paradise or hell dependent on the roll of a single dice. Once inside, one of the menagerie of sensory stimulation a path twists through the vastness, never does it pass an exit.
Stale cigarette smoke permeates the low coin tables while the sweet cherry aroma of pipe tobacco separates the high limit tables. Angels in heels without wings rush by with plastic smiles, bringing nectars from the Gods to the brave seated at the tables. Large enforcers in suits watch over the room handpicking the visitors that will elevate to heaven or plunge down into the rings of hell.
Time does not pass here once you enter. No clocks to tick, no digital display, no windows to let you know the sun has risen to burn away your sins. Time passes differently in these walls than in the real world.
The masses that come here begging to have their everyday lives suspended for a few meager hours, will risk everything for the smallest of wins. Where else do people come and pay for the privilege of experiencing death, night after night, in all its stages. After the first big loss there is denial, the feeling of being alone and taken advantage of. Another roll of the dice brings on the anger at one’s self and the casino for tricking them into playing and losing. Another inferior hand and its time to make a deal with the Powers That Be. Another bad beat leads to depression and misery. Another pathetic hand and acceptance sinks in, with the idea to acquire more capital. But, in Vegas the final stage of death does not come, only the sun returns to save you from yourself.
In the night anything can happen, rising to the status of a God or sinking down to hell or falling further down where even the gut snakes and degenerates can no longer find you. If you’re lucky enough for the sun to rise and you are given a second chance, flee. Pack your bags and run because if night falls again you will never escape.

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UNM’s Writer’s Conference

Despite protest in downtown and Nob Hill, and a helicopter falling on UNMH causing the shut down the entire campus Saturday morning, the 2014 UNM Writer’s conference kicked off right on time. Due to power issues the conference, that was scheduled to be at the sub on campus, was moved to the continuing education buildings. The conference open with Anne Hillerman, daughter of Tony Hillerman, as the keynote speaker. She spoke fondly of her father and his passion for writing and of her own. She shared some of her strategies for writing and share excerpts from her new book Spider Woman’s Daughter.

A panel discussion followed with agents and editors from New York answer crowd questions about the business of writing and publishing. Information flew from start to finish about how to write. Jason’s Deli followed the panel discussion with a catered lunch. The dining hall was lively with chatting and people browsing the shopping, book so f course on writing books.

After lunch the classes began. The set up allowed you to choose from three option for the first hour-long workshop and then two choices for the second and third hours of the workshop. It was also time for the editors and the agents to field pitches from the participant. There is nothing as nerve-racking as trying to sell a total stranger on your idea in 10 minutes. It went surprisingly well without anyone passing out or hyperventilating.

The annual event is something that anyone interested in possibly publishing a piece of writing should attend the knowledge to be gained in the first half of the day alone is mind blowing. The classes are icing on the cake of how to start your new career.

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