02.22.10

Mailbox Monday – February 22nd

Posted in Event at 6:01 pm by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday.

No books arrived at my house for the second week in a row. I’ve started and stopped a lot of book reviews this week.  Can’t seem to finish them for some reason.

What showed up in your mailbox this week?

Kicking My Behind

Posted in Writing at 3:51 pm by Amber

I started writing a short story earlier this month for a 2/28/2010 deadline.  It was about half way written and (unbelievable for me) somewhat plotted out. 

Then I realized (1) I shouldn’t be including characters who aren’t in the story more than once.  This reduced the current number of characters from four down to three and (2) the main character is not who I thought it was.  It helps I was already writing from the (newly named) main character’s point of view, but I don’t know him very well.  For days I have been stuck.  This calls for drastic measures… like writing an autobiographical poem for him.

The short story may not be ready for the deadline but I want it to be the best short story it can be.

02.19.10

Henning Mankell Interview

Posted in Event, Uncategorized, Writing at 3:22 pm by Amber

Yesterday morning I had the chance to listen to Henning Mankell on NPR’s Morning Edition.  His latest novel doesn’t have his famous character, Inspector Kurt Wallander, in it.  In fact, it’s mostly populated by women characters.  Mankell read the opening scene.  It is a desolate landscape and put a chill down this listener’s spine.

It was really interesting to hear him discuss his next piece of fiction.  Based on a true story, the main character is a Swedish woman who travels to Africa and becomes an owner of a brothel.  But that’s all he would say. 

It’s not uncommon to talk about the premise of a novel only to lose the steam and enthusiasm for it.  Even worse is to talk about it and let the unenthusiastic response of your listener discourage it from being written.  What comes across well in the execution is usually missing from the verbal premise of it.  Nick Hornby almost talked himself out of writing High Fidelity when he realized how boring it sounded.

02.15.10

Mailbox Monday – February 15th

Posted in Event at 1:49 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday.

No books arrived at my house this week.  I’ve spent my time catching up on writing book reviews and writing some short stories.

What showed up in your mailbox this week?

02.11.10

The Concubine’s Daughter by Pai Kit Fai

Posted in Review at 7:14 am by Amber

From the book flap of my Advanced Reader’s Copy provided during a LibraryThing’s Early Bird Review giveaway:

When the young concubine of an old farmer in rural China gives birth to a daughter called Li-Xia, or “Beautiful One,” the child seems destined to become a concubine herself. Li refuses to submit to her fate, outwitting her father’s orders to bind her feet and escaping the silk farm with an English sea captain. Together with him, Li takes her first steps toward fulfilling her mother’s dreams of becoming a scholar—but her final triumph must be left to her daughter, Su Sing, “Little Star,” in a journey that will take her from remote mountain refuges to the perils of Hong Kong on the eve of World War II.

This tale is told at a leisurely pace so don’t expect to be pulled into the story immediately.  It takes about twenty pages to be firmly planted into the culture that surrounds Li-Xia’s birth. 

Li-Xia is willful.  Her father decides he will fetch a good price for her sung-tip (a contract giving another person ownership of her) by binding her feet.  It doesn’t work and instead of being hobbled by the bindings, she learns her freedom is only limited by how far her feet can take her.  Eventually she becomes a scholar who can read, write and calculate sums.

It is the story of Su Sing that is the most interesting.  Each successive generation has new societal challenges and heartbreak.  Su Sing is fortunate to be raised by people who care for her and who value education.  She is a scholar and an athlete. 

I am not sure each woman’s story could stand on its own but combined they do provide a powerful portrait of women who want to overcome their circumstances for a better life.

02.09.10

Write Your @ss Off Progress

Posted in Event, Writing at 1:12 am by Amber

I made this a little bit harder then it should have been.  Or maybe it didn’t occur to me to break up the 8 hours over the entire weekend instead of shooting to get it all done in one day.  I checked on what other people were doing and found a few that took a few hours each day to get things done.  Sunday was a productive day working on various writing tasks. 

  1. Read a bunch of emails from various writing groups so I feel better having those gone.
  2. Researched some new markets in Duotrope.
  3. Prepared a submission for a contest due by the 26th.  (They take snail mail.)
  4. Submitted a short story.
  5. Posted my January submission statistics.

Overall I spent about 4.5 hours on everything.  It feels good to have some stuff cleared out.

Mailbox Monday – February 8th

Posted in Event at 12:36 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting the Mailbox Monday meme.

Admit One by Emmett James appeared in my mailbox this week!  Sent to me by Lisa Roe, Online Publicist.  It’s one of the few books that my husband has been curious about.  A memoir, it recounts the author’s childhood associations with films and his surprising Hollywood adventures.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?

02.08.10

January 2010

Posted in Status Report, Writing at 12:21 am by Amber

These statistics are all for short stories, poems, or contest entries. Book reviews are not included.

  1. Sales in January: 0
  2. Rejections in January: 0
  3. Submissions sent out in January: 0
  4. Total stories/poems/contests pending responses: 3

I’ve been working on a new poem to submit to the annual poetry contest held at an Ohio art museum.

No new updates from the Unsent Letter Market.  I’m thinking despite the best of intentions, the editor is still stuck on reviewing items from April 2009, the month before I sent in my submission.

02.07.10

Saying Goodbye to An Old Friend

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:08 pm by Amber

About a week and a half ago, my Palm T|X fell from our phone cabinet and my keys went with it.

The screen itself appears to be holding together but there’s funny business going on underneath.  Where you see yellow in the picture, the dead grey pixels are slowly taking over and spreading out.  It’s getting difficult to see people’s addresses and phone numbers in my contact list.

I started off with a Palm V.  I’d play Mahjong while waiting in long lines.  There are years of Palm archives on my computer that contain contact and calendar information.  If an appointment wasn’t on the calendar then it didn’t exist.  It took me a long time to figure out how to use Graffiti so my letters were recognized.  I bought a keyboard for it thinking I would write story ideas into the memos but the keyboard never worked right.

When I thought my Palm had been lost in a recliner I bought another one to replace it.  After a week or two, I really dug into that recliner and found the original one.  I kept the one with the better buttons and sold the other one to my friend Rob.  He loved having it, but left it on top of his car one night after work and drove off without it.  Rob was distracted when he answered his cell phone.  He did find it, but it was in such bad shape he bought another used one.

A few years ago my husband decided I needed an upgrade.  He knew I wouldn’t do it myself.  My Christmas present was this Palm T|X.  It had color!  Sound!  Wifi!  Bluetooth!  I could no longer play Mahjong during long waits but I could read books with the Adobe Reader.  Or check my email at the airport.  Or figure out from imdb.com what movie my family was watching while at the Topsail Beach house.  One of the really cool things was color coding all my calendar entries.  If it was Orange then I was going to see a movie.  If it was Pink, then I had something writing related to do.

Palm stopped making the T|X in March 2009.  A few months ago the Palm OS stopped on mine and I had to upgrade to a higher version.  I found out the hard way it couldn’t setup recurring tasks like the old OS.  Put a check mark in the box and it would not generate the same task for the next week; I missed that feature.  And the desktop calendar didn’t show the color coded entries.

It looks like an iPhone is my near future.

02.05.10

Write Your @ss Off Weekend!

Posted in Event, Writing at 11:59 pm by Amber

Earlier this week I found out about Write Your @ss Off Weekend hosted by Moonrat and I forgot to share the news.  It’s a day to devote to writing tasks but putting that behind in the chair is also encouraged.

Much of Ohio is under a snow emergency so this would be a great weekend for me to participate.  If I get my writing stuff done on Sunday I will let you know.

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