Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cutting through the Crap

is much harder than one would think when you're the writer. Words that I savored like hot caramel sauce when first placed upon the page, still have a cool appeal on the second go around. It's like editing with a demitasse spoon, when what is needed is a backhoe. I've found it can become very tedious.

One would think I could let go of all the extra verbiage, slim this book down to a sleek, bestseller model, but no. It's as hard as dieting. I can be good for a short while. Then, bam, I have to add a few luscious morsels that have popped in my head. It's like eating junk food. Irresistible and deadly.

Okay, I have to keep visualizing these beautiful words as not good for me. Sigh. When will fat be back in? Getting rid of the crap is harder than it looks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gone Hunting

Yesterday was a riding day and I went foxhunting. It is cubbing season here. That is when we take out the young hounds with the older ones and prepare them for the coming formal season of hunting. They learn to stay with the group, listen to the huntsman, and discover all the scents and sounds of the great outdoors. The goal is not to find game but to train puppies and condition the older hounds.

We hunt early at seven in the morning here, and while getting up in the dark is not on my favorites list, watching the sun rise as I drive to the meet is. The early dew steams in the morning rays creating misty valleys filled with the promise of adventure. I get up before dawn, feed my horses, clean the stalls, groom the one I am going to ride, turn out the others and head to the fixture for the day. A fixture is the place we will meet to hunt.

The hunt is short, young hounds get tired easily, so do out of shape riders. On the way home I marvel at the wonder of it all. The natural interaction of man with his world. Being taken back in time, being reminded we are one of the animal kingdom. Sometimes we lose sight of that in our man-made world. It is good to be reminded of the balance of nature and that we are meant to be a part of that picture.

Did you know that hunters are the best land conservationists? They understand the vital need to keep the wilderness, preserve farmlands, and pure water supply. They know the human's place in the world. Foxhunters will work tirelessly to save the countryside.

Yesterday, I went foxhunting, rode across land that will never be developed. Fell in love, as I do every time, with the beauty of nature and thanked God for creating this natural balancing act that keeps our world a thriving planet.

Gone hunting; when you hear someone say that, thank them for doing their part to preserve your world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

There's a Story Hiding in My Brain

For the past few weeks I've found it hard to concentrate on the novels I'm working on. One is a mystery, "Painted Black", and the other is women's fiction, "Reflections From The Hot Zone." Both books have been fun to write and are now in the rewrite/editing stage. Aha, some would say, you just don't want to do the real work.

While this is true, that isn't the reason I can't concentrate. In side my head there is story growing. It feels like a deep, dark, serious book in the making. Bits and pieces flit by on the screen behind my eyes. I see a frown, hear an argument, smell the grainy scent of alcohol. A character lurks in the shadows, unwilling to show his/herself. Waiting, I feel, until I promise to let the telling be the character's doing.

Does this ever happen to you? It scares me a bit. I'm not sure I'm ready to hear the truth hiding within the fiction. No one told me this would happen when I talked of being a writer.

Ah, I see the character's smile.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Flash 40 contest at Editor Unleashed Results

Happy dancing! My story "Ten One-Hundredths of A Second" made the Anthology and ended up fifth in the popular vote. Most of my buddies made it, too. As promised here is a list of the finalists.

And the winners, listed in alphabetical order, are:
Grand Prize: Fairy Tales, by Ravenne
At Last, neenerspb
Being a Cop, lmckelvy
Blind Justice, TrinityWolf99
The Brain Eaters, Lady Lawyer
Buck and the Twee Fairies of Interstate 20, cubagw
Circles, TheRazor
Defection, drwasy
Dreaming Lies to Change the Truth, kaolin
Fate’s Heavy Hand, jimbernheimer
Food of the Gods, judy b.
Frangible Choices, KeMari
Grief Observed, Laurita
Guardian Demon, JRTomlin
Mirror, Mirror gretaigl
Monday, Selena Kitt
Night Becomes the City, MPBerry
In the Nuthouse, d o’brien
Parklife, AlanBaxter
Pirated Twinkies, soesposito
Pure White, Stephen Book
Reflection, rjkelle
Rough Trade, JRhodes
Running on the Iron Rooster, Michael J.
Sales Call, graywave
Savor the moment, Kupohunter
Sign Language, LCourtland
Sportsmen, JohnOBX
Ten One-hundreds of a Second, DeborahB
The Distraction, Nocdar
The Mercantile Exchange, kenaipi
The Nearest Thing, John Wiswell
The Vial, bentguy
The Vigil of Clouds, Alegra
Time for a Change, Carol
‘Tis the Season, jmar2
Unscrambling Love, Angel Zapata
Wake up, Please, everyhopejd
What’s in a Name, Craven
When Don Cristobal Eduardo Stabbed his Wife and her Lover, Christopher James

Thank you to all for reading and rating stories!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Flash 40 contest at Editor Unleashed is winding down

and my story "One one-hundreds of a Second" is in the top ten on .

A few more days left in the voting phase. Thanks for all that have read my piece! I'm excited for all who entered. If they are like me, they've learned a great deal about writing from reading all the entries. And, about human psychology by watching the ratings ebb and flow. Thanks to Maria and Smashwords for putting this on. I'll be gone when it's over, but will announce who won it all and where I ended up when I return. Best of luck to all my Nudger buds in the contest. Best of luck to everyone.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Editor Unleashed

A couple more stories you might enjoy if you get over to EditorUnleashed . Jim Bernheimer's, one called Hot Pink Jeans and Ravenne's. Of course there are many that are excellent. These are just some of my favorites. Enjoy and rate your favorites or all of them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Editor Unleashed

There is a contest on . I have a story entered. Go and read and tell me what you think. You will have to join to read and vote, but there are some great stories on there. Look for Ten One-hundreds Of A Second, by DeborahB, that's me on page 14 of the contest called Flash Fiction 40. Also, check out my friends, (JRhoades, JohnOBX, both on page 14 with me), Kim (kenaipi; page 13), (drwasy; page 10) and (Margie on page 7).
Look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hunter Pace Award

Yesterday, I took my thoroughbred on a hunter pace. This is a marked trail ride that you try to do at the speed of a hunt. It is timed and the closest to the optimum time, unknown to the riders, wins. Everyone wears a number and there is a start judge and a finish judge. I've yet to do well. This time I was determined to finish in a "feel good" place.

My horse, Rustic, decided about a third of the way through that we were going entirely too slow. When I made him walk, he cantered in place, when I made him trot, he cantered almost in place, when I let him canter he sighed with contentment. "At last," I could feel him thinking, "she's gotten the message. Beautiful day, wonderful trails, it's time to thank God by using all the talent He's given us."

How did we place? In our minds we won the biggest smile and happiest horse award, definitely a "feel good" performance. In the minds of the judges, we were way too fast.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Affirmative Action

Brick solid, unyielding
Rain liquid, elusive


Brick holds rain
Rain shelters brick

Rain forms puddle
Brick shimmers, shines

Each is more

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What to do?

The sun is out, the horses are in. I really want to go for a ride, but the ground is mud. Deep, deep, mud from four days of rain. I'm not complaining, we've been in drought conditions for four years. Footing like we have outside is not good for horses tendons. They can pull something slipping and sliding around in the muck. Still, I want to go for a ride. What to do?

Monday, March 09, 2009

In The Beginning...

I thought writing a book would be easy. I had a great idea, a good main character, and plenty of enthusiasm. So, computer keys clattering I began my adventure. All went well until I got to the part called "EDITING". Ugh. Ever since, I've been stuck on page one trying to get the Beginning to be THE BEGINNING, hook, line, and reader turning the page eager to read what happens next, agent loves it, yee-haw, it's a best seller, beginning.

I'm not there yet. Do you think I'm trying for too much in the first paragraph?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bad, Sick Horse Poetry

The sun is shining
The grass is green
If that **** horse
Doesn't get well soon
I think I'll scream

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Time For a Sick Horse to Get Well!

This is supposed to be a writing day, or at least 2 weeks ago it was supposed to be, but, one of my horses caught a cold. If you aren't a horse person, you might think, big deal. If you are a horse person, you think, I'm glad that's not my horse!

When a horse gets a runny nose, cough and fever, alarm bells go off. They don't do well. Most virus' with these symptoms are highly contagious, so the horse has to be kept away from other horses, you have to make sure you don't carry the germs from the sick guy to the others, and his exercise has to be limited. That means he stays in a stall, and you get to clean it, at our house I get to clean it, over and over again for as long as the horse is sick. It is not fun.

A horse can hemorrhage his lungs coughing and exercise makes him cough more often. That's the reason for stall rest. He can be hand-grazed, where the others aren't allowed to graze. More time for his owner, me in this case, to spend with her precious animal. Standing in the cold, holding the end of a lead-line so he won't romp about. You hope he doesn't decide to do pirouettes from being stall crazy. A 1200lb animal on his hind legs, steel shoes flashing over your head, while you try to hold on to a rope attached to his halter, makes you sweat, but doesn't do much to warm your heart when it's 30 degrees outside.

Sometimes, the virus causes a secondary bacterial infection in the sinus, etc. Then you, me again, get to dose the stir crazy, stall-bound animal with antibiotics. In the powder form, the medicine is mixed with his grain, which you've reduced to a minute amount to try and cut his energy level. It does not taste good. The half that gets left in the bottom of the feed bucket can be mixed with molasses to make it palatable. Of course, molasses pours as slow as, well, molasses. So your hope that you might have five minutes to do something besides take care of a sick horse ticks on by.

One thing, I always get asked is: HOW DO YOU TAKE HIS TEMPERATURE?
Just like a baby. Stick it up his butt! And, hope he doesn't decide it's time to get rid of that grain and molasses before the four minute incubation period is over.

After almost three weeks, I decided my horse, his name is Bargaining Chip, and I needed to have a talk.

I said, "Get well. NOW!"

His answer?

Bargaining Chip shook his head no, he does not live up to his name, and then, blew snot all over my coat.

I wonder if I'll find time to wash it, after I clean the stall, graze the beast, mix the molasses, take the temp, clean the stall...

YorkWriters: Sketch a Novel in an Hour Exercise

YorkWriters: Sketch a Novel in an Hour Exercise

Monday, February 16, 2009

Safe and Sound

Today is a riding day. Sigh, things interfered and I didn't get my usual fix of sitting on a horse and thinking about life. I had to settle for thinking while I emptied water buckets and mucked stalls. This can lead to some pretty dirty thoughts. :)

Off to have dinner with friends, all horse people. I'll have to live off their adventures for now. I'm sure at least one rode through the woods or across a meadow and has a story to tell.

It's going to be a cold night, so horses are blanketed, hoses have been drained and the barn is shut up tight. There's something about doing that, that makes me feel good. I guess I'm weird, or making things snug, is like nurturing, when you are helping others, animal or human, it warms your heart. You feel safe and sound.

Have a good night, sleep tight, all.

Friday, February 13, 2009

To Plot, or Not to Plot - a Story - Is it a question

That needs an answer?

Okay, riding and writing are my big loves(after family) and yesterday I indulged in riding, so today I'll tackle my book, Painted Black. A post on made me stop and think this morning. Probably a good thing, because I prefer to wing-it. The poster was asking about planning a story, how do you plot a book. She was full of technical information she'd garnered from web searches, etc. It confused me just reading it, and it also made me worry.

Is my story, Painted Black, plotted correctly? Yikes, I don't know. I did it the simple way. A character popped into my head and began to move through an imaginary world. I asked myself: Who is this person? What is she up to? Where is she? What is her problem? Will she succeed? Who gets in her way?

Then I started to write. The story took over and I simply followed the adventure, one thing leading to another, until the adventure ended. Yes, I had to go back and fill in some blanks, especially when the person I thought would be the murderer turned out not to be the culprit. :) I had fun. Eventually, when editing, I put summaries chapters on index cards and listed key elements to make sure everything connected, but that was after I'd recorded the initial excitement of the story.

I think if I'd tried to plot out the whole story, making sure I had all the elements people say you need, not only for the big picture, but in every chapter, I'd have lost interest before I got started. It would knock my creativity for a loop.

How about you? Do you plot, then write? Or are you like me? Do you follow wherever the wings of an idea takes you, then go back and fix the glitches? Or do you have another approach? I'd be interested in hearing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February, Sunshine and a Horse, Gotta be a dream, right?

Today was one of those times I'd like to record and be able to play back when I'm thinking life sucks. Up early, I fed the horses, cleaned the stalls, let the cat out of the tackroom and scolded the little dog for chasing the big dog. Bet you thought I was going to say "cat", didn't you?

By eight, I was in my truck and hauling my thoroughbred to a hunt meet. This is his first year to be a foxhuning horse and he's still trying to figure out where the track is. He used to be a racehorse. I ate my Kashi bar, drank a coke, and played finger tag between country music and NPR on the radio. In twenty minutes, I arrived at the meeting spot, the first one there, and nabbed a prime parking space. When you're driving a F350 extended cab truck and hauling a twenty foot trailer, parking moves way up the priority list.

Eventually, others arrived, the hounds were unloaded, and Rustic(that's my horse)and I were ready to roll. The huntsman cast the hounds, sending them into deep, dense woods. Being a whipper-in(helper to the huntsman)I moved off ahead of the pack, but about fifty yards to one side. One hound spoke and then others joined and we were off.

I asked Rustic to pick up the pace and he said, "You betcha."
There is absolutely no feeling in the world like being on the back of a thoroughbred and asking him to run. It is what they are born to do. We streaked up a road, jumped a coop and tore down a wooded trail. He and I were both in a "yee-haw" moment and I almost forgot that my job was to watch for hounds.

The run lasted about ten minutes and then the hounds lost the scent in the wind. The huntsman picked another route, which left me somewhat out of the game. I pouted for a moment and then looked around.

There I sat, on an animal some people only see on television, in the middle of a meadow, the sun warming my back, with a million dollar view of the mountains in front of me, and it was mid-February. A slow smile erased my pout. Just think about it for a minute; February, sunshine and a horse,the makings for a movie, right? No one was there to record the moment,so no movie, but believe me some dreams can come true.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Let's uncomplicate writing!

I was just reading "Mad Utopia", another blog. It is filled with great advice, writing contests, etc. Now, if I could figure out how to link Jon's site with mine, I would. But, I digress. Reading his site made me wonder, when did writing become so complicated? Used to be a pen and a piece of paper, a few brilliant thoughts, then in an envelope and off it went to find a home. Now, it seems one must have a blog, a web-site, a following, before an agent or editor will even look at what you have to say. Do you think we will ever get back to writing because you are inspired, and reading because you are curious to see what this unknown author might have to say?