Saturday, December 26, 2015


I signed up for NaNoWriMo last Month. November was National novel writing month. Although, for me, it was mostly just a month to stuff my face. I didn't stuff any more words onto the pages of my novel than usual. But I'm still plugging along. The creative sparks are simmering in the pot like fragrant turkey bones. It smells really good to me. I can't wait till it's finished and I can enjoy the soup. But to a vegetarian, it might just plain stink!

Novels aren’t written by muses who come down through the ceiling and shoot magic through your fingers and out onto your laptop’s keyboard. Before NaNoWriMo, some teensy part of me still believed that because writing is a creative act, it should feel easy. But fairies don’t write novels. They’re written with one simple equation:
Time + Work = Novel  Stephanie Perkins providing inspiration over at National Novel Writing Month 
So I joined NaNoWriMo and really didn't do a darn thing with it. Except for two things. I uploaded an excerpt. That was easy enough. The second thing I attempted with great difficulty. I wrote a blurb. The first, unedited draft of a blurb.  I'm not sure why encapsulating my story is such a difficult task. But here it is... 

Oren Walton is a farmer. He has worked the land of his birth for his entire life and persevered through

unthinkable loss, never losing his innate sense of humor. Now, he has Parkinson's. A disease that is

 pushing his good nature to the limit of human comprehension. He's hallucinating. Or, at least that is

 what his daughter Sedona and Lady Friend Lavinia are trying to persuade him to accept. He doesn't

 believe it. And after Oren finds love with a mysterious newcomer, he doesn't want to believe it. But

one thing is certain for everyone that loves Oren. The conflict these hallucinations create and the

 mystery that surrounds them will never be forgotten.

Keep writing until you reach the end. If you get stuck, take your protagonist down a different path. This isn’t the draft that you’re going to publish. This is the draft that will help you figure out what story you’re really trying to tell. Stephanie Perkins

An unedited excerpt from The Chorus of the Crows...
Oren stared at the man in the mirror. The hazel eyes of his youth were starting to brim with the soggy

 look of an old man. His thick black hair had turned silver long ago. But still remained a steadfast

source of pride The lines underneath his brow ran deep. They were like a time line revealing each

summer of plowing, every turn of the earth and all the hard work of harvest time.  Despite that, to his  

chagrin, the ladies at church always said he just got more handsome with every passing day. That  

 always made him blush. Oren picked up Amelie’s antique horse hair brush and ran it through his hair, 

front to back, always shaking.  When he was done he held the old brush in mid-air and time seemed to 

stop for a  moment, then he placed it reverently back on the dressing table.  It had been so hard to  

fasten all the little white buttons on his shirt; he put on his favorite tonight, the dark green linen; washed

 and pressed by Lavinia of course. Shoot, there goes another pang. Oren shook his head and

proceeded to gingerly step into a clean pair of bib overalls. He had to sit down on the bed half way 

through the process. It was either that or fall down. And he preferred the former. After he snapped the

last buckle, he slapped his hands on his knees and finally spoke, “Well, I reckon I’m spiffed up about 

mighty nice by now. I sure hope that sweet young gal is a waiting on me like she said.” Oren pushed

 himself up and walked out into the dining room and through the kitchen to the front door. He switched 

on the mudroom light and let the screen door slap behind him. “I expect it might be a late night,” he

said. Then he slowly made his way to the R.V.

Happy New Year fiction readers and writers!

Be sure to fly back to the Chorus of the Crows on January 30th for my first post of 2016.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Christmas Card

The Christmas card.

The holiday letter. Ho hum.

I was wondering what to write about in a post that clings to the calendar from December 19 - December 26th. Hmmm. Well, it's Christmas. Fa, la, la and holiday hoop-la. Everyone will put their smart phones down, and instead of posting a text, they will post a heart felt holiday letter and card. The old fashioned way. Right? Wrong. 

The infamous Christmas card is getting dropped faster than Santa's reindeer hitting severe sky turbulence. The poor deer's. I blame the government. And their scrooge stamps. Or, as the younger generation must think of them, useless, old fashioned and expensive adhesive paper. We used to have to offer up our DNA just to get one to stick. Now that the tech is tongueless, nobody uses them. I barely had a chance to savor the taste of tongueless technology before it was all over. I guess I'll have to settle for hot, buttered rum.

Have you seen the illustration on pinterest or facebook where Santa's reindeer have to go number two? Really bad. While they're on duty. They all have to poo. All at the same time! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and of course Rudolph. All spew poo. Poor Santa. His suit will probably need to be dry cleaned. But the worst part of all is that all of our future gifts and Christmas cards end up looking like the inside of a sky shitter. It's hilarious. That might also explain the lack of cards this holiday season. They could still be drying out up in Alaska.  

That's why I attached my Holiday card in this post. It's cheaper, easier and much more sanitary. I really hate that the internet is faster than Santa. I miss the good old days. But at least I still have rum. Appleton, Flor de Cana, Siesta Key and good old Bacardi. 

Here's a Christmas funny I ran across on the internet...

OK. Here’s a Christmas Challenge: Name all 10 of Santa’s Reindeer. The answer is in the extended entry...
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (that’s 8)
Rudolph (9)
Olive the Reindeer. Don’t remember Olive? Of course you do, sing the song:  "…Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names, they never let poor Rudolph join in any Reindeer games.”

Posted by Gruntdoc

My fingers are crossed for some last minute sanitary snail mail. Merry Christmas fiction readers and writers!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Pitcher

I don't know anything about baseball, but bad pitches tickle my funny bone. I'm talking about literary pitches. I recently found a blog that has plenty of game in the pitch department. I ran across Ask the Agent - Night Thoughts about Books and Publishing  Well, I don't care when the secret agent does his best power thinking. Although, it sounds like he's a night owl. All I care about is that Andy Ross is an agent. An agent must have something useful to say, right? 

Andy Ross seems like he has a sense of humor. And from what I've learned so far about the difficulties of getting a book published, an aspiring writer must have a sense of humor. Or we'd end up sitting in a straight jacket staring at 4 walls covered from baseboards to popcorn ceiling in rejection letters. Andy humorously wrote in the above link about bad pitches in acquiring a literary agent. Just for fun, I created my own list. You can be the judge of whether these 4 forgotten book pitches are good or bad... 

1) This is an educational, non-fiction novel about 101 things you can do with cat fur. This is no filament of my imagination. But a thoroughly researched compilation of crafty follicle facts. The millions of potential readers (most of whom already own cats) will acquire new knowledge in what to do with the age old dilemma of cat fur disposal. Did you know that you can throw cat fur into the wind and a local bird might use it to feather their nest? I bet not. And there are 100 more where that came from. 

2)  This is a real pot boiler. Literally. After watching the movie Fatal Attraction, I was inspired to expand the current repertoire of well known things you can boil in a pot. It is a dark comedy. But could also be considered a cross genre in the foodie category. Eating local is so been there, done that. Boring! My book will explore eating everything you can find in your own backyard. Or your neighbors. And then some. 

3) This is a work place tell all to end all. A cubicle tradgicomedy that does not easily fit into the box. It is an Office Space meets Boxing Helena. A Revenge of the Nerds meets Horrible Bosses. A satire of a romance of a tragedy. This novel will bubble up around water coolers all over the world. It will be relate-able to the typical office drone, but with its cross genre possibilities, sales will blast through the roof! I've already sold the film rights to Hollywood. It will open on Casual Friday the 13th.

4) This is a Miss Piggy meets Christian Grey kind of story. A chocolate covered bacon yarn of epic proportions. A cross genre of erotic literature, romance and food porn. There has never been another novel like it! Famous Dave has already agreed to sell copies in select restaurants. But I don't want to seem like a complete ham about it. Readers will literally pig out on my book!

Got extra time on your hands? Grab a martian, (a martini to Jack in The Shining) take a seat at the bar and read my review of On Writing by Stephen King

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Color Purple

"Up close, he was almost purple." Pam Jones from Bridget Jones Diary. 

This is such a simple line from the movie. But it inspired a running joke between me and my husband. For years! Pam Jones was referring to her paramour. A colorful, make up challenged T.V. personality. Well, around the same time as the first Bridget Jones movie, (I still haven't read the book) there was a local T.V. evangelist appearing on commercials. And he was orange. I'm assuming it was a spray tanning malfunction. Thank goodness for small miracles of giddy joy. After that, any evangelist that had the misfortune of crossing our T.V. screen was always curiously purple. At least my husband thought so. 

The funny thing is, Mr. Orange, A.K.A. Mac Hammond is back on the air. There was a fleecing of the flock scandal surrounding him around the year 2007. Mac was smacked by the hand of the media. I don't know if he was ashamed, but he probably turned a ghostly shade of white over that one. Now, he's back in action. He can be seen locally around 6:55 am on CBS. Ironically, I've been watching and listening with open ears. As it turns out, one of the characters in my novel is a Methodist minister. So when I saw a familiar super charged tan man grace the air waves again, I tuned in. I listened. And what he had to say was actually pretty inspirational. Go figure. Go Mac Daddy!

When I inserted one of Mac's quotes into a previous The Chorus of the Crows post my husband couldn't believe it. I think he thought I was one step away from joining a cult. Or was experiencing temporary insanity. Neither of us are church goers. Well, I never shoot the messenger. It's research, right?  

I'll end this entry with a favorite literary line about color... 

"It can't be denied your hair is a terrible red; but I knew a girl once-went to school with her, in fact-whose hair was every mite as red as yours when she was young, but when she grew up it darkened to a real handsome auburn." Mrs Lynde from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Don't get lost. Be sure to navigate over to Springtime in Magnolia for my review of the wayward book, Where'd You Go Bernadette.