Monthly Archives: June 2014

At Home for July’s Activities


It’s really summer, folks. We’ve come to the finale for June. Along the way we’ve looked at my poem examples and those of readers. That’s quite a bit in 30 days.

As we ready for July, I can say this. Linda Evans Hofke and I have heavy work ahead of us. Picking a winner of the poetry contest will test us to the limit. But it has been worth it. We’ll get to an announcement as soon as we can after the fourth.

Now, to next month’s activities. What I’ll be doing during the month:

  1. July’s Camp NaNoWriMo—Write, finish, and get into first edit of the first episode of my Wisher’s World series. YA Fantasy
  2. Poem-A-Day Challenge for Creative Bloomings. It’s time for our summer camp again. I was ill last year and didn’t get to go.
  3. Work on a fresh new look for this website and set up the next year’s busy editorial calendar with some new and regular features.
  4. Finish rewrite and edit on SF novella “A Grain of Truth”
  5. Post one article or update here per week.

That’s my coming agenda. How about yours? What are you doing during independence month?

Drop in a comment and share your news and plans. See you all soon. Happy writing.

At Home with One Last Haiga

As many of my friends and readers know, my sis is a photographer. She does all sorts of camera work but prefers landscape above all others. I’m blessed in that she gives me the use of so many of her shots for my poetry work.

This week is no exception to that generosity. She took some photos specifically for me during a day of shooting. She even processed the one I’m using today to accentuate the poem rather than the subject matter distract from it.

Let me set this up for you. The image is a close up of the blossoms waving in a common field of canola. These lemon yellow flower heads sit atop two-three foot slender stalks, much like wheat shafts. When fields are in bloom, as they are now, their color acts like neon post-it notes on the landscape. Everything around them either fades to insignificance or leaps out in stark, vibrant contrast, as if in competition.

Imagine a mountain valley dotted with scenes like this.

Photo Courtesy T. Wilkes

Photo Courtesy T. Wilkes

You see what I mean about vibrancy? Sometimes it doesn’t take much to trigger a poem or bit of prose. It simply sparks spontaneously. Haiga acts as the conduit for the transmission of thought/idea, plus image, from writer to reader. All of which brings me to today’s and the month’s final Haiga that’s written just a tad tongue-in-cheek.

Canola - Copy

I haven’t decided yet whether I like the placement of the haiku on this image. I may have to redo it so that the poem drops down a bit further and more toward the center. Give me your opinion if you’d like. I always consider other opinions, and encourage them.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this month of pictures and poems and have found new ways to express your thoughts, dreams, and philosophies. And if you have more haiku poems to share for June’s poetry contest/challenge, please send them in. You have until midnight June 30 to get them posted in a comment here for consideration. I hope you do send in a passel more.

I’ll have something tomorrow about when to expect a winner’s announcement, as well as what I’m doing for July on here and elsewhere. Until tomorrow, enjoy your day and thank you for stopping in to see this little offering.

At Home with Haiga and Writer’s Updates


Our contest is humming along nicely, with loads of marvelous verse coming in for the honored spot under the banner “Winner.” There are a few days left, though, so now’s the time to cement your chances with a haiku entry. Take a chance. Come in and dance with us and your words.

Having said that, here’s my haiga for today and maybe this week. It’s been awfully busy around here this month and the juggling isn’t getting any easier. I hope you enjoy this one.

DSCN1292 (2)

I love the western red cedar trees we have up here in Montana. When wet, like this fallen tree in Glacier Park, the colors leap out at you, begging you to touch and appreciate them.

I wish everyone had the chance to see them. But selfish me knows that if that happened, no one would get a chance to touch or see much of anything for the people milling around. Pity. Oh, well.

Now, here are some of my updates for this month.

I just finished the last chapter of my novella “A Grain of Truth.” Saturday it will begin its final revision and then edit. It goes out to Tor Books directly after the Fourth of July. Another short story is ready for final edit, which will go out about the same time to Orbit Books and its short fiction division online. The third short story will go into revision at that time.

My latest article for Wordsmith Studio will go live soon, but in the meantime you can see it here. The Studio had been having a few issues, which delayed its delivery. It should be in its proper home in a day or so, though.

I’ve begun major prelim work on my fantasy series “Wisher’s World.” It will be a series of stand-alone books centered on a specific fantasy world. The heavy writing will begin in July. This is a series I’ve been building for a while now and have just slated for the actual writing.

I’ll get back to work on “Dreamie’s Box” after the first of July, as well. I’m hoping to get it finished by September so that it can get through the revision and editing phase by the end of October and go out to a publisher.

Those are my major pieces of work. There are the odd small pieces—FF chapbooks, poetry chapbooks, and other bits. There are always those lying around.

There you have it. If I can get my website redesigned (okay, so I have a lot on my plate right now,) I’ll decide whether to do a newsletter or not. Of course, my newsletter would be entirely different than any I’ve seen. I’ve wanted to do it for a few years now and might just talk myself into it this year.

I have only one other thing to say—have a great time with your life. Don’t take so long to decide who you are and what you want to do. Grab your life and wrestle it into submission for the best use of your passion. Be the boss. Take charge.

Okay, lecture over. Go out there and play. See you soon.

Virtual Blog Tours Come in Pairs


I was invited to do another blog tour this week. Imagine!

I’ve posted my second blog tour invitational at Claudsy’s Blog on my other website. Pop over if you’d like to see a bit more about how I function as a writer, or something more about my life in general.

Enjoy your trip and your landing there. Feel free to look around and find something different to read.

And don’t forget to drop in on other bloggers working the tour. You won’t be disappointed.

Links to virtual blog tour venues and other fun blogs:


At Home—Virtual Blog Tour and My Writing Process

Carved Door

This post is part of a virtual blog tour to which Patricia McGoldrick, an Ontario writer/poet, invited me. I’ve come to know and admire Patricia’s work and her enthusiasm over the past couple of years. She adopted a quote from Joan Miro for her own–I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music” She shares many a poem and photos on her blog at Drop by for a peak!

And now on to my questions and answers.

1)     What am I working on?

The easy answer would be—a juggling act. At present I am writing the following:

  1.  A sci-fi novella—to be ready for submission by June 30th
  2. The development stages of a fantasy series—1st book to be started in July
  3. A chapbook of Flash Fiction pieces on the theme “Careful what you wish for”
  4. A poetry chapbook—sorting through hundreds of contenders is a bear of a job
  5. A cookbook that I’d really like to complete and get out this summer. (This is my procrastination project that must find closure soon before I go mad.)
  6. A redesign of my author’s website

Yep, I’m keeping busy this summer.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In poetry, I follow a lot of prompts and forms. I’ll try anything once—in writing, that is. I do a lot of free verse, but I’m moving into prose poetry too, now. I found a publisher who only works with prose poetry and found the challenge irresistible. Readers of my work soon notice that I don’t do a lot of rhyme or iambic work. I tend to be more an impromptu/accidental poet in that vein. If I have to think about it, I’m lost.

I tend to work with large themes, anchored in the philosophical frame of mind. I might write a piece of flash fiction around an early historical fact but frame it as a warning from the future about the disastrous aftermath of that event, invention, etc. As with my Flash Fiction Chapbook, the tiny stories twist in the middle to reveal the darker side of wish fulfillment.

I don’t often “go to the dark side,” but when I do, it stays with me for just a little while until it drains away and then sunshine and happier writing can return. I figure using the mood and getting it out is better than holding it in and letting it create a deeper pool.

 3)     Why do I write what I do?

 I don’t know that I can answer that. I get inspiration from anything/everything. Sometimes it takes only a word from someone else and it sparks an entire scene in my mind. Sometimes it’s as simple as a memory from childhood—a person’s face or circumstance, for instance—which triggers a cascade of what-ifs.

Writing about things that hold no interest for me is nigh-on to impossible. I can’t write about things that bore me. In the end, I write because I can’t stop myself. I discovered Tennyson when I was ten. All bets were off after that.

4)     How does my writing process work?

 When an idea whizzes through my mind, it does a ricochet act until it’s gathered enough auxiliary details to fix itself into memory. That’s when I write it down in a notebook or .doc file of story ideas. (I’ve learned that distraction is my memory’s nemesis.)

Many times the poem or story writes itself, beginning to end, with little help from my conscious mind. I don’t know precisely how it works when it does that. It’s as if the whole piece was there, waiting for release, and my fingers just happened to be available for use.

When writing doesn’t come easy, more thoughtful and deliberate word work results—at least for me. I’m a better poet for the experience.

My fiction usually goes through my fabulous face-to-face critique group. We meet each Friday to go over everyone’s submission for review. I encourage every writer to join a critique group, in person or online. They’re well worth the time and effort. The learning potential is enormous.

I give most pieces time and distance between revision and final edit to ensure perspective. My articles are often done on a short deadline. I do initial quick and dirty writing, revise at least twice, and the editor who receives it has choice of final edit, as usual. It works well for me that way. It reduces the overthinking factor that could waylay the original article idea.

Brainstorming, mind-mapping, and careful editing are my best tools. Having honest critiques on rough drafts saves months of work. Otherwise, I allow the world around me to flash ideas in my face like neon signs.

Having said all that, I’d like again to thank Patricia McGoldrick for asking me to participate in this blog tour. It’s been fun.

Connie PietersWriter/poet Connie Peters will follow me on this blog tour. She’s one of those truly unique writers who don’t have an active blog. I do believe I’ll host her here and consider it an interview. In the meantime, I’ll give you a peek at her face so you can get a feel for this marvelous lady. You can find her work at Creative Bloomings and other poetry sites as well as many print venues.

I’ll be back in a day or so with more Haiga and another pep talk for those reluctant verse magicians out there. Until then, happy writing.

And don’t forget to stop in at the other blog venues on the tour, like:

At Home with Combo Prompts and Haiga


What happens when a poet, having accepted a creative challenge, then promptly forgets and is too busy to do the work on time?

Well, in this case, you punt. Okay, so maybe you work like a maniac trying to tackle more than one writing prompt in one short writing session. Or perhaps, if you’re really desperate, you tackle those forgotten prompts as a combo creative effort.

That was my choice this morning when I realized I’d fallen behind on the 30 By 30 Creative Challenge over at Our Lost Jungle.

Day #17’s prompt = Frenzy

Day #18’s prompt = Breaking Up

Day #19’s prompt = You and I

Realizing that I’ve been working mostly in Haiga this month, I had to figure out a way to bring them all together in seventeen syllables with an image. Not easy. But, the prompts themselves dictated the form and the flow.

Let’s see if I can pull it off. You tell me if I did.


As you can see, taking the actual words of the prompt, a poem can be made. Does this use of the prompt satisfy the intent? Let’s think about that.

Would this be better to pull everything together, with intent of meaning?

DSCN0357 - Copy

The prompts are used, expressed, and given meaning while only using one as it stood originally.

So, you tell me. Which version is the best. I’d really like to know. Could there be more permutations to these simple prompts? Sure. How many? As many as an imagination could create in multiple creative mediums.

Try it yourself. And when you finish with this, drop your haiku poem (s) in a comment for the month’s contest. Who know’s. You could take away a lovely print with your poem on it.

Take care, all. Happy writing, and have a terrific weekend. See you next week.

At Home with Sensual Prompts


Yes, that is today’s creativity prompt at Our Lost Jungle. Well, I don’t normally work with this particular subject, but let’s see if I can do something with it; perhaps something unexpected.

I hope everyone is working on fantabulous haiku poems to add to our growing list sent in for this month’s challenge contest. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to offer here in the next couple of weeks.

Okay, back to that nemesis of the inhibited—sensual. What paths could a poet walk down with words long and short, warm and cool, solid and liquid? It does deserve a good think, doesn’t it?

I hope you enjoy what I came up with for this one.

Fire Female - Copy (2)

I know. It’s a really odd pic and an even more peculiar haiku, but it fits the prompt, makes a deeper statement (I hope) and fills the space on an unusual image of a flame.

Sometimes the verse’s message is more important than the image which inspires us. That’s the case here. The image is evocative, inspiring. From the view point of sensuality, fire and its flame have always lured humans and celebrated the coming together of two lovers.

Yet, even as lovers sink lower, under the spell of a well-formed open fire, when viewed strictly from the flames POV, its fuel with its encouragement to higher and higher flames, actually kills the devourer. Flame cannot exist without fuel. Its act of consuming the wood insures its demise.

The parallels between the flame of love and true flame and its life/death struggle come together here.

There you have it—my take on this week’s interpretation on a verse in Haiku for a Haiga.

Now, it’s your turn to show your work. Drop your Haiku for the contest photo in a comment below. Share with us, your deep thoughts in 17 syllables. We look forward to it.


At Home—Monday’s Kickstart Poem

IMG_9027Over at Our Lost Jungle, author Khara House is having her annual 30 By 30 Challenge. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

Well, in a sense it could be just that. Her challenge encourages her subscribers and others to create 30 new creative pieces during June’s 30 days. But Khara defines her use of “new creative pieces.”

The new work could be as simple as a new poem, a new scene, a new photo, or whatever strikes the person’s fancy that day. The emphasis is on “new and creative.”

Each day also has a prompt. Today’s prompt, for instance, is “sentiment.” The challenge: create something new that speaks to sentiment—not sentimentality. They are two different animals.

In that vein, I’m going to kickstart the week  with this Haiga as my something new for the day.

Salt Bird Bath copy - Copy

It’s my hope that those who come here find something new with each new post. Don’t forget to add your contribution to the poetry contest’s offerings in a comment. So many wonderful Haiku poems in varying forms have graced our queue already. Linda Evans-Hofke, my month’s co-host, and I have already seen what a difficult judging this will be. More excellent samples from the readers and subscribers would only make the judging more exciting.

Until next time, happy writing. Try your hand at something new today on the creative side of life.

At Home with Updates and Haiku

Fire's Candle Flame

Hey there, gang. I know. I’ve been neglecting you. That’s what happens when writing and life gets in the way of internet activity.

Truth time. I’ve been working on submissions for publication, marketing, revisions, straightening out life situations, and generally being a writer above being a blogger.

Sad, isn’t it?

Seriously, though, that really is what I’ve been up to. I wanted to get as many pieces of work out this week as I could. I haven’t managed that very well. Every time I got started, life crashed into the side of my desk and demanded attention.

As a result, I’ve only gotten three about ten poems selected for revision and submission. That’s always a job. I have two short stories in the midst of revision, but not in final edit. And I haven’t had a chance to finished my novella–though it’s close.

There you have it. Now, onto Haiga for the week.

I did this one this afternoon. Let me know what you think of it, please.

stock-002-008I hope this example can inspire and urge you on to your own haiga exploration. Remember that whether you’ve ever written haiku before or not doesn’t matter. What matters is stretching your perception and your expression.

When you stretch how you use your mind and express your senses, you develop more skills, hone the one you already have, and prepare yourself for more and greater heights in writing. There are no mistakes possible with this–only learning.

I’ll see you all again soon. I’m off to get ready for a write-in with one of my local groups.  Happy writing, everyone.

And don’t forget to  drop your haiku poems  into a comment for this month’s contest. If you need to review the photo prompt again, click here for that page entry.

Lighting Up Your Writing

Courtesy of BJJones Photography

Courtesy of BJJones Photography

Just a smidgen of self-promo work here today.

I have a new article up on Jonathan Gunson’s terrific website “Bestseller Labs.”

If you haven’t visited Jonathan’s site, do so. There are amazing articles there on writing, promotion, and marketing. Well, just about anything a writer would enjoy reading about the craft.

In this article, I discuss the value that lighting has in enhancing and embellishing narrative text, as well as how setting does more than come alive–it becomes a primary, if not the principle, character in a person’s work.

Please stop in to take a gander when you get a moment. Leave a comment as so many others have. I do respond as promptly as possible.

And have a fantastic rest of the week. I’ll be by tomorrow sometime to give you all a new photo and Haiku treat.

Happy writing!