Saturday, April 14, 2012

Revising Grace

The revision is completed and I am very happy with it. Grace and Worth now spend more time in Thebes, NY, after Worth comes home from Vietnam, and before they leave for Long Island. The decisions I made in January and February, really came together in the past 6 weeks. Thanks to the critiquers, especially Wendy for comments on the Epilogue.

My agent has the revision. From here it is subject to the opinion of others, but it feels good to have my own opinion. I love it. I didn't want it to end. It's shorter and denser than before.

Go, Grace.
Oh, and the last word is "home" which was the last word of the original novel, Wounds, in 1975.
Back to basics.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

From a Newly Discovered Blog

A Quoi Bon Dire?

     Seventeen years ago you said
Something that sounded like Good-bye;
     And everybody thinks that you are dead,
                         But I.

     So I, as I grow stiff and cold
To this and that say Good-bye too;
     And everybody sees that I am old
                         But you.

     And one fine morning in a sunny lane
Some boy and girl will meet and kiss and swear
     That nobody can love their way again
                         While over there
You will have smiled, I shall have tossed your hair.

Charlotte Mew, The Farmer's Bride (1916).

100 Statements/Questions About Grace at War

My latest ploy to get back into the novel, saving the good parts and changing the weak ones. It is a journey into thickets and dark corners. So trying. A trial. All my words are in the dock--and I am defendant, judge and jury.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Guest Post

Letting Go of Your Work
By Charlotte Rains Dixon
Letting go is hard to do, especially when you're trying to let go of your creative baby.  I know, because I'm in the midst of sending my novel to another round of agents.  Now, if you're in the muddle in the middle of your novel right now, it may be hard to anticipate that you'll ever have difficulty sending your work out because right now you feel like you'll never be done.  But, trust me.  It is indeed so.  All of a sudden you're nearing the end and your work slows way down.  All of a sudden the thought of sending your baby out into the world causes anxiety attacks of the highest order.  What to do?  Go through the following checklist to make sure you're ready.
1.  Critique.  Have you gotten a writing group (I'd not do a thing without mine) or found trusted critique partners with whom to share your work as you finish various drafts?  Have you gone through and over elements of plot and character and made sure they work together and contribute to the novel as a whole?
2.  Edit.  Have you gone through the final manuscript one more time, reading as a line editor would?  Have you checked over every bit of grammar and spelling?  And please, please, please, have you made sure there are no red or green underlinings left over from Word's grammar and spell check efforts?
3.  Research.  Have you looked for the right agent or publisher to whom to submit your work? Have you drawn up a list and made certain that your potential agents all work with whatever genre you're selling?  Have you carefully read the submission requirements?
4.  Gird yourself emotionally.  Have you prepared yourself for the process by remembering that rejection is part of it?  Do you have emotional reserves gathered through whatever works for you—meditation, exercise, yoga, prayer?
5. Send it off.  Enough said.
6.  Celebrate sending it off.  Are you willing to celebrate your accomplishment?  Of course you are.  Break out the bubbly!
7.  Keep working.  Are you ready to keep at it?  To work on building your author platform through social media and other outlets?  Are you willing to start on the next book or article?
Source:Writer, mentor, and coach Charlotte Rains Dixon is passionate about helping writers, coaches, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals succeed, achieve, and profit in their careers and lives through writing.  Visit her for more tips and techniques on writing—and living—at

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Easter 1952

I entered this poem in the Pratt Library Poetry Contest! Fingers crossed!

Easter 1952

We march into the spring green cemetery,
the daffodils stupidly on fire and oblivious,
the whole world alive, save one
the one we are here to visit.

My black patent leather Mary Janes
squish in the soggy green grass
as my brother and I approach,
soldiers without weapons,
except for my black plastic zippered coin purse,
inside a dollar, a quarter and a nickel.

We, the reluctant soldiers, aged seven and nine,
are commanded by aunts in black coats and heavy
black- laced shoes,  
a buzzing black hive of grief
that may explode in tears at any minute.
The grass mined with the danger of it;

We are stoic, we are impassive.
We are motherless children
paying Easter respects at gun point of guilt

We advance on her grave, gripping grape hyacinths
To be planted by aunts kneeling on newspapers
Troweling into the living earth.
The ground cries out at our steps.

I lose the purse.
One little loss
To stand for everything.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Back Into the Deep Water

Revising the end of the novel per marvelous comments from several editors who wanted more focus on the relationship of Grace and Worth and less on distracting antagonists.The war is the antagonist now as it always was. My agent and I agreed on a plan and a deadline. Briefly sidetracked by a poetry reading last night.
Two examples of new poems:

NYC Cops 1968
“They worked this place over real good,” says Cop 1.
“Yeah, your TVn stereo are gone,” says Cop 2.
The two cops are in my apartment, guns drawn,
I asked for help
When I came down the block and saw my open1st floor window.  
“Um, well, I didn’t actually have a stereo or TV,” I say.
Sorry to disappoint them.
“Look it in here,” Cop 1 is in the bedroom.
“They freakin’ tossed it,” says Cop 2.
True, my clothes cover bed and floor
Every bureau drawer gapes open.
“I left in kind of a hurry this morning,” I confess.
Cop 2 is shocked. “You left this mess?”
Cop 1 holsters his gun, smirks, “Next time, latch your window.”  
I imagine him cuffing and charging me--
bad housekeeping in the first degree.

Watching  Super Bowl XLVI in a Home Theater
Wow, the screen’s so big,
It’s like I’m there
In Lucas Oil Stadium
And Eli’s throwing the ball to me
Sitting in a comfy recliner
eating M&Ms,
Sorry, Eli.
I couldn’t catch a cold
Let alone a football.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Forging ahead with novel 2
Hoping the best for Grace, 'tis true
In November started novel 4
Now 50,000 words (and more)!
As December 12 deadlines near
I believe 2011 is Grace's year