Monday, December 2, 2013

The Squawk Back experience.

You may have noticed that my last posting had no link to the story I mentioned.  Link to Shaving Fate here.
On Friday I recieved notice that Shaving Fate had been accepted and then it proceeded to ask for certain things (like a bio) and to promise that I would have a say in the editing. On Saturday I received an e-mail that had the entire story, as I had written it.  No edits necessary apparently.  The editor's notes at the top said, "This is what is going live on Sunday." 
Then on Sunday the story is posted.  There is quite a bit of it that has been edited out.  It's not a bad job of editing, I have to admit that.  I might have even agreed to the edits, although they rip the tribute to my fellow writer completely out. 
My problem lies with the surprise element.  My second problem is that suddenly my e-mails to the editor are unanswered.  I guess the squawk back from me is 'Foul Ball'. 

The Story Behind Shaving Fate

Squawk Back took Shaving Fate

Yes.  Another publishing credit for another story.  But it’s not just another piece.  This story is a special one and I never broke faith with it despite the time and effort it took to place it.  It was written as a response to two pieces brought to writer’s group.  The story behind the story is about to begin.  Gather round. 

Within our group, at the time, was a sister and brother combo.  The sister has and continues to be the anchor for the group and the brother, who also dabbled in writing, had many health concerns and lived in the extended care wing of the local hospital.  Initially his sister would read his pieces at group, but eventually the group started meeting at the hospital so that he could comfortably join us.  One meeting these siblings read their stories which were both titled ‘The Man Who Shaved His Face Off.’  They had challenged each other to use one of the brother’s pet saying in this way.  It was a fun thing and I remember thinking that I wish I had been involved with the challenge.  It must have been in the back of my mind because the next step towards ‘Shaving Fate’ occurred when I dipped into my movie review book – which I use for plot sparks – and I read about a man who had shaven off his facial hair and no one noticed.  He took this as a sign that he was generally not noticed and it lead to tragic results.  Hmmm.  What if?  What if someone read one of the short stories titled The Man Who Shaved His Face Off and he shaved his mustache off and that act lead to his conviction for murder?  I ran with the strange little idea and by next meeting I read Shaving Fate at writer’s group.  It was good for a smile or two and I may not have sought publication for it except  I heard that the brother later said of the story – you don’t really know if he’s guilty or innocent, do you?  A simple comment but it gave me confidence about this particular story.  

There are other things that this man from our writer’s group said concerning writing that have stuck.  His words ‘something has to happen’ occasionally haunt me still.  And that is why, after this man’s death, Shaving Fate has become my tribute piece to Terry Trefiak.  Thank You.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The News as a Source of Inspiration

As many of my stories do, Flashover started as an experiment.  The news of the hour was the fire that ravished an Alberta community, and I simply knew there would be a thousand stories that would come from the event.  I hope that there is a non-fiction writer that will gather them but it wasn't going to be me. 
However the news kept coming in and I realized that it was research that was being given to me on a platter.  So I set the story within the town that was about to go through a similar catasrophe.  Many details of the fire came directly from reporters on the scene.  I didn't research, I read.   
The characters and their conflict evolved to the current form and Flashover became the title after I realized that lives could switch and jump as quickly as fires.

Flashover can be found at

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Link to 'Gladiolas'

Gladiolas is the title of one of my published stories.  The inspiration for this story came to me after reading Difficult Mothers by Terri Apter.  It is a self-help/information book that I had to read.  I have been mothered by a difficult mother and I confess, have been a difficult mother myself.  So be it.  I did the best I could and so did she. 
When I brought the book down from the shelf this morning, I found this scribbled note inside.  I wrote:
It's hard to believe the old ways ever happened, much less continue to influence.  My mother once asked if 'everyone' (exasperation heavy in her sigh) 'were to jump off a bridge would I do it too'; a question that required me to say no, but the same woman approved of my marrying and forgoing education beyond grade school because those were bridges she had already jumped off of.  During those years the twin skewers of my desired indepence and her constraints held me like a weiner over the campfire. 
So that's a peek at the story behind the story.  FYI - the only common ground between the mother in the story and mine is the glads.  Here's the story: