About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Experiences with Musa Publishing... A Blog Hop Post!

I've been having an excellent experience with Musa Publishing, the publisher of my stories "Honeymoon" (out now, and also available on Amazon) and "Arthur Cleary" (to be released on November 2nd). My editor, Megan Embry, has been great, as have the others at Musa with whom I've had the pleasure of working. My stories are in Musa's Erato (GLBT) imprint.

A brief summary of "Honeymoon" follows:

Can two men drawn together by past and present events find love when and where they least expect it?

And here's a little of what the story is about:

Unable to forget a secret of his past, Lee Mullens arrives at the Haver Corners Inn on his wedding day, alone. Guilt-ridden and confused, he retreats to their planned honeymoon location only to meet the attractive Sanders Hamilton.

Sanders feels the pull to his melancholy guest, and sets out to befriend the young man. But what grows between them is so much more than friendship…despite the fact that Sanders runs the inn with his wife.

Can Lee and Sanders overcome the conflicts in their lives and find their way to each other?
 
I enjoyed writing "Honeymoon" and creating the main characters, Lee Mullens and Sanders Hamilton, and the secondary characters, Rochelle Hamilton and Brian. I hope those who have already read "Honeymoon" have enjoyed it! It was not only fun to write, but the editing process went along smoothly and pleasantly. I love the cover art for the story, so a big thank you for that goes out to cover artist Kelly Shorten.

I have recommended to some of my excellent writer friends that they submit work to Musa Publishing, and I've told many reader friends to check out the site and look for works that they might like to read. Each of Musa's imprints is named after one of the Muses, and there's definitely something for everybody: romance, mystery, paranormal, speculative fiction, GLBT, young adult, etc.

For those of you interested in GLBT romance, whether you've read it before or would like to read it for the first time, please check out "Honeymoon". I hope that you'll be pleased with what you find!

Note that this is a blog hop post. It's here to celebrate the first anniversary of Musa Publishing. In that celebratory spirit, I'm giving away one free copy of my story "Honeymoon"! All you have to do is sign up to follow my blog and leave a comment about this post. By October 7th, I'll choose a winner and give you your free copy of "Honeymoon"! Thanks!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hitting on the Right Word

I love when I'm writing or editing and hit on just the right word for a sentence. Today I hit on the word "opulent" to describe an ornate fireplace, and I felt ridiculously good about it. I'm not saying it's brilliant or even remarkable, but it just felt to me as though it worked, and that felt good. I hope my editor and readers will agree!

It can be tough to find the right words overall, but sometimes especially tough to find a single right word. It's as if a sentence is stuck in a rut and you need a word to give it more punch, but you can't quite find it. Often, it's on the tip of your brain, but you just can't quite access it.

I use a thesaurus sparingly, and often just to get an idea of some other words that are synonyms for my word. The thesaurus gets my brain moving. I use it sparingly because I think when a writer relies on it too much, the writing shows that and runs the risk of becoming purple prose. Finding a different word all the time--what might be perceived as a new and exciting word--can be a dangerous proposition. First of all, that new and exciting word might not have exactly the meaning you intend (the English language is filled with many shades of meaning), or it might just come off as pretentious. So my advice is not to get addicted to the thesaurus, but to use it as one of many resources.

Sometimes free writing can bring to mind the word you're looking for. Or just daydreaming and letting your mind wander through forests of words until you discover the right one. And sometimes, you've got to set the work aside, and when you pick it up again, the word will come to you. And when it does, it's usually very much worth it. And it will leave you feeling ridiculously good. Another piece of advice I can give is to read a novel, a poem, or a nonfiction piece when you're looking for a word. You might come upon it, or else it will just come to you while you're reading something that you really admire that's written excellently.

Whatever you do, I wish you great words in the right places! And I wish you good feelings about what you write, whatever it might be.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Higgs Boson Maybe

To the tune of "Call Me Maybe":

Hey, you just found me,
And this is crazy,
'Cause did you find me?
Higgs Boson maybe.

For all my science geek readers!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From the End to the Beginning...

My novel, Purple Loosestrife, is finished, but I'm still editing it. Mainly, I need to go back to the beginning to be sure that it fits with the end--to see that all the threads weave through properly and tie up at the end. I also want to have the early chapters really shine in the event that someone should want to see a partial (or full, for that matter) manuscript.

Writing never feels like it's done. I could keep editing and editing this novel, but eventually, I've got to start sending it out into the world. That said, even with my published work, I still look at it with a discerning and critical eye and think, "Oh, I could have done that better..." or "That word just doesn't fit very well there..." It's a never-ending process, but eventually you have to let works live and breathe on their own. It's like giving birth--a baby can only be in a womb for a certain amount of time, and then the time comes for it to enter the world.

So I'll start to seriously work on my early chapters, and then all my chapters again, and get this novel into the sort of shape I want it to be in as I send queries out about it to agents/editors/publishers. It's a somewhat intimidating and scary prospect--scarier, in my opinion, than sending out short fiction. But it has to be done. I didn't write this novel only to have it sit in a binder in my study!

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Own Pictures or Public Domain

I feel a need to let it be known that the pictures I use in my blog are either my own or public domain.

Meditation, Memory, and Writing

I started meditating several years ago and I've gotten to be pretty good at getting into the zone. I do mindful meditation because I find it impossible to turn off my brain and not let thoughts come in. So I let the thoughts come, but I think of them as a river flowing by--just thoughts moving along, no judgment about them, no angst, no concern. It's also like watching clouds drift through a blue sky with each cloud being a thought. It works for me, and I highly recommend learning about mindful meditation for anyone who can't turn his or her brain off completely but who would like to delve into meditation.


Recently I've developed the ability to "regress" while I'm meditating. I have an excellent memory (not to brag, but it's something of which I'm proud) and I can recall past events vividly and in great detail. So what I do while I'm meditating is tell myself to "go back" and concentrate on an event from the past. It can be anything--from a time when I was four and vividly recall pretending to make a chocolate cake for my mom and sister to eat, to a time in a college classroom, to something that may have happened fairly recently which I wish to recall and "relive". I can smell smells, see the events, hear sounds, feel the way I felt when the event took place, even taste something I may have eaten. It's quite an exciting experience, and it leaves me feeling relaxed, fulfilled, and happy.

It also leaves me ready to write. I'm calm and in touch after meditating, and if I've practiced this "regression", I feel that my imagination has come fully to attention and ideas are coming at me quickly. I don't necessarily write about the times I've regressed to. I may work on a current short story or my novel in progress, but whatever the case, I feel awake and alive and open.

So if you're interested in meditation, I recommend that you learn more about it and try it out. I can't offer any book titles or websites that have helped me specifically--I'm pretty much self-taught, plus I did take a brief course in mindfulness which included mindful meditation. But I'm sure there are good books and websites out there. A search on Amazon might be helpful, or just a Google or Bing search. Give it a try if you feel it might help you! It might not just help your writing, but you're whole sense of well-being. That's what it definitely does for me, and I'm grateful for it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Very Earliest Work

I wrote my first story, "Gregory the Giraffe", when I was four years old. It was written entirely in pictures, but I can still tell you what it was about. A giraffe named Gregory falls in love with another giraffe, but then breaks his leg. He's laid up in bed in a cast and can't see his beloved. But once he gets better, he gives her a huge diamond ring, and the two live happily ever after.

I wrote another notable book when I was seven. It was called "How to Be Healthy", and it was an instruction manual on how to keep from being maimed or killed. (I was a rather strange child.)

I wrote a lot of poetry as a kid, too. One poem that stands out in my memory was about finding happiness by flying to the sun, and then losing that happiness when realizing that one can't fly to the sun and is really all alone. Kind of existential for a little kid.

My first published short story came along in 2005. It's called "Lonesome Tonight", and I've posted it on this site. It's from a now defunct journal called Lynx Eye and isn't available anywhere on the web, so I've made it available in this blog. Just search on "Lonesome Tonight" and you'll find it. I'd be happy to have anyone who's interested read it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Amazon!

I've got a couple of my stories available on Amazon... Please click here to see them. Yay!

"Friday"

My literary short story "Friday" is ready for reading in Cobalt Review, Issue #5, Fall 2012. You can read it by clicking here. I'm excited about this story and hope you will enjoy it! It's a weird one--flash fiction, of which I'm so fond, and surreal and absurdist. You may never look at a Winnebago the same way again!