Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I spy...

...a wee baby bunny in the leaves underneath the ancient lilac...and just to the left of where she's hidden, there's a bit of fluff where the nest is...and possibly there's a little round and brown bottom of a sibling tucked under the leaves...


...she sat very still for her portrait this morning...I love the little white spot on her head...

My kitty boys were out yesterday, enjoying the beautiful day, it was Crouching Tigger-Hidden Pooh who I discovered stalking the nest (I knew about the nest, I wasn't sure of it's exact location)...I scooped up the tabby and put him back inside...found the Fatty-Woo and took him in too...now Max...I have to keep the doggy's nose out of there (he helped point it out to Tiggy-Pooh!) He adores baby bunnies, he loves picking them up and bringing them to me (he thinks I'm a good mommy and must take care of it), but there's no mommy better than a bunny mommy for baby bunnies...and these babies will stay where they lay...

I worked in the garden yesterday, did some painting, did a little bit of writing (I'm revisiting the work in progress, Layers of Illusion) , it's been a lovely weekend...

Dusty Waters received another excellent review this week (posted on Amazon and Goodreads!) and it is now on 203 peoples To-Read list since that fine review, and two more copies have sold...I have to say, my little self-publishing experiment has been a success... literary fiction is a tough sell, and I'm glad that so many have found it interesting enough to add my little ghost story to their list and the ones who have bought it or received it through my giveaways have been generous with their reviews. I'm looking to have my second novel The Fractured Hues of White Light ready sometime in May, I'm still working on book cover ideas, so far nothing has "sparked" or "sparkled"...it'll come...

I have a book signing coming up on May 1st at Fat Cats in Johnson City, NY...it's National Free Comic Book Day...and it's Derby Day too, it's going to be a good day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday morning...

This is the leaf that I picked up off the ground outside of the Newhouse Building the day I met Joyce Carol Oates. A little souvenir of the day, and I photographed it on our stone step by the side door...I love the old stone steps, they're awesome! Weathered, pockmarked by the elements and time...

It's a quiet morning, this week was a week with emotional upheaval caused by outside sources...and some inside... our boiler has apparently conked out, so that one more f-ing on my laundry list of upsetting things, but I'll deal with that in due time, I'm not making an emergency call to the repair man on a Sunday morning, I'll call tomorrow...at least it's not January, we have the woodstove, and space heaters, we're good. As usual, I take the good with the bad, I try not to suffer too much over such things, but well, I'm only human and so I get riled in my own special way... I'm much better today. I immersed myself into trolling through my photographs, printing special ones, working on the adjustment of images, cropping and levels, black and white and tints, pushing an image to its limits and then bringing it back...would this be considered digital painting? Dunno, but I like the idea of a digital sketchbook. Thankfully, this quiet, busy work settled me down yesterday, and so, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites...

A fading star...the squill is already done for another year, so beautiful, so brief.

A blue stone... it is a much paler blue in person, but I pushed the color around for the fun of it, pulling out the details that were lost otherwise...looks like a piece of our blue marble seen from space...
And of course, the classic rose... always the drama queen of flowers... although this one was nibbled upon by some critter... a bit of a Blanche DuBois... I love the look of it, tho' she seems a little grayer than I like, but the tint turned out nice... I'm sure I'll revisit her and tweak the image some more...

I spent one sunny evening this week underneath the bushes photographing the little white violets that are very prolific on my acre, they're just scattered everywhere...I love them! It was one of my most pleasant moments of this week of turmoil, and I found a sense of peace in that patch of sunshine, sitting in last year's pale leaves, surrounded by these delicate flowers with a powerful scent, I adore them... and this little one, with her face to the sun, so hopeful!

In spite of things that went wrong this week, I'm still hopeful because of the things that went right...

I've been working on my "brief" promotional description for The Fractured Hues of White Light, I've gone through every single copy of synopsis-sis-sizzz, that I've written to the various agents in the past, and gleaned the 'gems' from them to make this one. It's hovering at around 250 words, and I'll need to trim it down to the barest bones possible, but I thought I'd share what I have so far, I fear it seems a bit pieced together, I'll smooth it out before long:

The Fractured Hues of White Light is an emotional journey that explores the inner-tickings of the human heart—who we love, why we love them, mother, father, daughter, siblings, lovers, spouses, and friends, it’s all love in some form. Samantha Ryder is autistic, it is because of her handicap that she often fails to articulate her emotions with an appropriate demonstration. Ironically, the ‘normal people’ who surround her are just as incapable of communicating their feelings, and handicap themselves with secretive obsessions, thus causing a snowballing sense of isolation full of things left unsaid. They love her with unconditional bonds that vary in degrees; her mother Lenore’s maternal nurturing is sorely missed after her death when Sammy was six. Her father, Whitley, is a possessive narcissist, but his heart is always in the right place. Memories of the protective love of her father’s stepson, Guthrie, filtered into her adolescent fantasies. Her half-sister, Helena, exhibits a lackadaisical tolerance and irritable impatience, yet offers a clinging-vine possessiveness in spite of herself. The lingering romantic feelings of her friend and former lover, Sylvester, manifest in his boundless patience; their continued friendship stands firm on a foundation of trust. When Sammy agreed to marry Preston she initially believed that she could learn to love him, but the empty bond between them causes her to emotionally lose ground. As their marriage falls apart, Preston becomes dangerous; forcing her to go on a journey of self-preservation away from the familiar security of home, her escape threatens to be her undoing.

I guess there are ghosts in this one... but they're the memories of the living...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On Writing...writing on...

That blue spring haze in the grassy corner of the acre is lovely squill...I have watched this patch grow from a few blue stars here and there, to a skirt around the foot of one of the Norway spruces...it's been a lovely day...

Just when I thought all my crocuses were done in by the summer-like heat that we had last week, I found this lovely girl sitting up tall in a shady place where she was protected...I love her delicate lavender stripes and purple throat!

Dusty Waters received another good review on Goodreads from one of my giveaway winners. She says that she will keep my little ghost story on her library shelf forever...I wrote her a thank you note, telling her she just made my day. I could just cry sometimes. It's readers like this who I write for...

Through Library Thing I followed a link to an LA Times essay by Dani Shapiro A Writing Career Becomes Harder to Scale http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/07/entertainment/la-ca-endurability7-2010feb07 I nodded my head, grumbled various curses that weren't so nice and muttered, mmmm-hmmm, oh I know...I've had my share of uncertainty, rejection, and disappointment to feel what she wrote all too keenly. The essay pretty much lays out why I've gone ahead and taken my writing career into my own hands, I can't compete with the block-buster bestseller mentality that the industry is courting, I have no grand delusions of making millions and running myself ragged in the process to please the corporate mentality who'd cut me off without a care about my goals or creative well-being. Making money has poisoned the beauty of the creative process...now I know this might sound like a pie-in-the-sky ideal, but I went into writing my novels feet first into the reality of the creative situation, there's no money in it...Grandpa Gordon said as much about my going to art school when I was eighteen and thought I knew everything about it, but in spite of my being such a know-it-all, I believed him because he was a good business man, and very wise. So I became determined, stubborn, "endurability" as Dani Shapiro calls it. I sit at my desk night after night, muttering my mantra, "practice, persistence, patience" and I go forward. I keep a day job to pay the bills (thankfully, I happen to like it well enough, not everyone is so fortunate.) I squeeze in the time to write on my own time. The words tumble from the keyboard onto the screen, and I work them until I'm satisfied with the image they create. I've been seen carting around a ream or so of printed paper, bleeding with red ink, post-it notes fluttering around the edges, as I make my way through another draft toward a finished book. You know, I could cry sometimes because I'm so happy to be doing something that I love so much...and so I go forward, one book at a time to one reader at a time.

And so here it is, another week has gone by and once again, I have set aside The Fractured Hues of White Light, yes, once again, maybe for the last time. I've passed the new changes on to my Fred to update the proof in InDesign, and we'll go over them in due time. I'm very tired, very satisfied, I do believe this is it. I finally found that one last thing that was bothering me way way back near the beginning of chapter one (in a sense it felt so buried that it felt 'way back' rather right there in the front!) It was a solitary sentence that seemed unattached to the words around it. So I fiddled with it all day yesterday, cut and paste, re-writing, reading, leaving it for an hour or two to do other things, revisiting, re-working, juggling words around, trying other arrangements, reading the section of the chapter while asking myself, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY HERE? I took lots of walks with Max around the acre, giving my brain a rest...who would think that one little sentence in a paragraph could be so much trouble? Well, it is trouble no longer, there is harmony there now, and I'm happy. It's a labor of love writing a book, a study in patience...I could never expect anyone to understand the joy and sorrow, the ups and downs that I experience while writing a book. In spite of the frustrated mutterings and the gritting of teeth, pensive stares and burning eyes, worry lines and deep sighs, it's done to my satisfaction. She's closer to being published than ever, and I'm blissfully happy. Possibly in time for my birthday I'll have a new book in hand! One with a yellow cover...Sammy's color.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Misty Morning...

My Fred and I pulled over one fine morning (April 1st) and took pictures of the mist... there was a touch of frost on the ground and the day was warming up with the sunrise... it's just been very weird having 80 degree days so early...

I've been playing with color and cropping again...
I just wanted a sliver of this one...

This next one is pretty much untouched, I only toned it down just a little bit...


...the old trees in the flooded place are gorgeous...and the frosty weeds with the ribbon of mist make it so fragile...and my favorite tangle of vines and briars...

I "finished" my proofreading marathon today (is it ever truly finished?), but I will be spending more time spot checking places that I want to change and to check on things that I thought about changing, but passed over as "okay"...and then I'll do random spot checking here and there before I turn it over to my Fred for one more pre-printing proof. We're almost there, I can't throw up my hands yet. It has been frustrating to find things wrong in a manuscript that I've been working on steadily for over a year, but that's okay. (I'll keep telling myself that!)

It's okay, really. It's worth the extra effort to make it right.