Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Nearly Wordless Wednesday



Snapdragons!
Third year in a row these beauties have come back. First year they've all gone blood red.

For more of my photos, see Flickr.
For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Identity

Who are you? Are you, like me, a parent, someone's child, a grandparent? Are you, like me, a writer, or a scientist? Or are you something else entirely?

Do you identify yourself through your relationships or by what you do?

It is popular in some circles to denigrate what we do. People say, "I'm a human being, not a human doing," but honestly, all of us are doers.

In many ways, what we do, especially with our hands, makes us human. Those two opposable thumbs we developed along the evolutionary chain changed everything for our species. We became able to manipulate tools and make things in a way no other animal can do.

And as I thought about this more, I realized that one of my dearest-held identities is as what people younger than me have called "a maker."

I've always been a maker, but we didn't call it that when I was growing up. I'm not sure we called it anything, since it wasn't an identity anyone owned up to. But, to be honest, making things is what gives me the greatest pleasure. If I can hold the finished product in my hand, or at least touch it if it's too big to hold, I feel like I've done what I'm supposed to be doing.

So, what do I make? Well, books, for one thing. And facemasks, lately. And bread! Here is a series of photos showing my latest adventure: creating a sourdough starter from my existing kefir starter. The kefir has yeast in it, so I figured I could culture it up and add some flour (following a recipe, of course) and get bread. And it worked!

So, who are you? Are you a maker, too?








Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nearly Wordless Wednesday



View from my kitchen window* - the azaleas know nothing about a pandemic and just keep on blooming.

For more of my photos, see Flickr.
For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site.

*Trying to start posting on my blog again. Have been away for TOO long!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Annual Writing Report - 2019

This year is nearly over and I am determined to pull together an accounting of all that has happened in my writing life and beyond. 2019 was a very good year for me in terms of published pieces, including my first two novels that came out in the spring! Those led to lots of book promotion events, and because of that, and the personal challenges I faced this year (more on this below...) I didn't submit quite as many finished pieces as I would like. There's always next year!

BOOKS
I was thrilled when my first novel, Fearless, was published in February. Although this was my first novel to be published, it's actually the fourth one I've written. The first two are still not ready for prime-time, but the third, Belle o' the Waters, came out in April. Huge thanks to both of my publishers, New Meridian Arts Press and Mascot Books, for taking a chance on a new writer. All this shows that it's important to keep writing, and if a book just doesn't seem to be getting finished, go ahead and start the next one!

STORIES

I had four new short stories published this year, as well as two reprints of previously-published stories that were re-published in 2019. In addition, one of my stories from 2018, Solve for X was nominated for a "Best of the Net" award this year. Big thanks to the editors of Linden Avenue Literary Journal for their support of my work.

This year's new stories and reprints are listed below:

Motherhood, published by Good Works Review (FutureCycle Press), January, 2019

Time to Leave, reprinted by Derelict Lit, January, 2019

All the Birds Scattered, published by BULL: Men's Fiction, March, 2019

Amanda is Moving Back to Montana, Although She Vowed She'd Never Do It, published by Cleaver Magazine, March, 2019

Deathwatch, reprinted by KYSO Flash, Summer Issue, 2019

Annie Apple, published by Fiction on the Web, December, 2019

 SCIENCE WRITING

I have continued writing press releases, newsletter articles and web highlight pieces for scientific journals and other clients. The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has published a lot of my work, including thirteen Scilights in 2019. This link will lead you to all my bylined science-related publications for AIP.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE...

Although this post is largely about my writing adventures over the course of this last year, I really can't stop there, since so much has happened in my personal life in 2019, and all of it has had a large impact on my writing. Some of this was very good, some of it not so good, but all of it is important...so here goes.

In January, I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. I haven't written publicly about this anywhere yet, and I may do that eventually. I had no idea I was sick when I went in for my mammogram. They found a small tumor and I embarked on a series of tests, a biopsy, more tests and eventual surgery and radiation. All this happened, as it turned out, at the same time my two books came out! The publishing events were a good distraction from the medical worries, but it was all rather exhausting.

I was very lucky. My cancer was of a type that responds well to treatment, and I did not have to have chemo. I did have a month of daily radiation treatments and a lumpectomy, though, and I am now on daily medication - an estrogen blocker, which has definite and unpleasant side-effects. I'm due for my one-year follow-up mammogram in about two weeks, and am hoping for a good report!

The other major personal event this year is much happier, but I suspect it happened more quickly because I had a cancer diagnosis. My eventual reaction to that was, "Why wait?" My husband and I had been planning to take steps toward retiring in the western part of the US, back closer to my home turf and to our kids and granddaughter. To make a very long story short, we just closed on a home in Denver and although we have no furniture in it yet and my husband is still working full time in Arlington, Virginia, we have a foothold here in Colorado now - and I couldn't be happier. I will be spending a lot of my time in the mountain west with short trips back east, and the plan is to (eventually) move completely to Denver. More on that as it develops.

I wish all of you the best in the coming year, and good health for everyone!