Another Well Crafted Novel from Susan Henderson

THE FLICKER OF OLD DREAMS

A Book Review

Susan Henderson followed Up From the Blue with another awesome read, The Flicker of Old Dreams.

You took me inside a work of art on so many levels. I became your characters. I was Mary as I read. You broke my heart, made me desolate and strange. Then you put me back together and gave me confidence.

You showed me I don’t have to stay in a place of oppression and misplaced anger and stupid blame. You showed me collective stones and hurt inside townspeople clinging to something and someone to blame for their fate.

The characters will follow me, just as they did after reading Up From the Blue. The hounded me as I closed my Kindle and settled in for the night.

I live in Montana and I can see my breath when I send my dog out to hurry, even in April. I suspect the people of Petroleum will cross my mind each time I pass through our smallest townships.

This book will grab the reader and make them ‘feel’ and ‘become’ Mary. This grabbing is an art and craft I may never master in my own writing. I have so many questions about how Susan Henderson managed such a complicated subject. What inspired her and kept her going all the way to the end.

Thank you for writing. When I work on my watercolor this afternoon I’ll think of Doris.

To all of you involved in crafting this novel from writing to editing to cover art and formatting, you crafted a work of art.

Bio 

Susan Henderson is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets award. She is the author of the novels Up from the Blue (HarperCollins, 2010) and The Flicker of Old Dreams (HarperCollins, 2018).

Shorter work has been published in The Future Dictionary of America (McSweeney’s Books, 2004), The Best American Non-Required Reading (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure (HarperPerennial, 2008), Drinking Diaries (Seal Press, 2012), Create a Writer Platform (Writer’s Digest, 2012), as well as a number of magazines and newspapers.

In 2009, Susan attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers workshop on a full scholarship. She lives in New York and blogs at the writer support group, LitPark.com.

Find Susan on:  Twitter |  Facebook |  LitPark Blog

What is Your Shoe?

Welcome to a Fiction Friday Post.

an air jordan 360 shoeWhat is Your Shoe?

On Wednesday during chat at The Writer’s Chatroom I mentioned a short story I  read is following me around.

It is the mark of an excellent writer when long after reading a character, plot line or theme stays in the forward reaches of our minds. That place we access in idle moments, letting the dog out to hurry, mixing paint on a butcher’s tray or simply watching the shower curtain as we sit down to pee.

I love a poem or a short story. Both, when well done are art forms. I feel privileged to receive such gifts from writers. The story I want to share with you came up in The Writers Chat Room. I said it had to do with a shoe and it was following me around. But I did not have the title and I couldn’t reach the book without some physical gymnastics. But before I went to bed I climbed up on the edge of the trunk and fetched the book out of my canvas and watercolor bag.

I told the people in the chat room it was about a shoe. Saying it is about a shoe does not do it justice.

The reason Float follows me is because every family has a shoe. Something plain to see. Something that bothers everyone on some deep and hidden, yet, obvious level. If after reading Float you claim your family does not have a shoe.. then I suggest you look a little closer.

My families, foster and biological all had them. We might look at them askance as if they were a distant blur in a telescope eyepiece. A galaxy that disappears if you look at it directly.

Reginald McKnight is the author of He Sleeps(Picador, 2002), The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas (1996), and I Get on the Bus (1990), among others. He is a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Georgia.

In 2016 his short story Float was published in The Georgia Review.  Float was awarded The Pushcart Prize and appeared in the 2018 Pushcart Prize publication from The Best of the Small Presses. This is where I found it.

The complete story is online for your reading pleasure. It is a short story, it won’t take much of your time but I am warning you, this shoe will follow you in days to come. How long? I’ll let you know. For now, I can picture it vividly.

 

Float

by Reginald McKnight

Walk into my room and come to find one of my Jordan Air Max 360s floating about five foot off the ground.

Read More Here

Welcome to this Fiction Friday Post.

Please feel free to read the entire story and come back. Hit the reply to post and leave a comment. You do not have to share anything about your own personal shoe.

If you have a short story or novel for that matter following you around, please share the Title and Author who made it so.

Cleveland Chronicles – Dog Days of Summer?

Welcome to a delayed post of Cleveland Chronicles.

We are hanging out.

cleveland making a faceAccording to The Old Farmer’s Almanac we are past the Dog Days of Summer. Cleveland is stretched out on the hardwood floor casting me a doubtful eye.

So, here is the scoop..

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, while you can find online and also on your oldest relative’s oak bookshelf, the “dog days of summer” refer to the period between July 3 and August 11 when the “Dog Star,” Sirius, rises just before the sun. This is called heliacal rising.

We haven’t been doing much. Cleveland can retrieve my shirt from a drawer and close it when he is done.. this is a behavior I wish I could teach to my DH. Cleveland can also turn off a light and close the door.

We have Public Re-certification coming up in mid September. We will be brushing up on our manners and keeping our teeth and hair brushed as well.

Till next time, don’t touch anything sharp.

Writerly Wednesday Presents Safdar Muttaqi

Welcome Back to Writerly Wednesday.

My Guest this week is Safdar Muttaqi

Safdar Muttaqi photo
Safdar Muttaqi

Safdar Muttaqi’s 

Bio:

Part Myth

Part Legend

All Reality

Loved By Few

Hated By Many

Understood By None

The Dark Romantic Of The Night and the only guy on the planet who writes Unsophisticated Fiction For Those Who Don’t Belong.

Check out Safdar’s Website

Dark Musings | Ahh I Am Dead

Official Site of evil thoughts and badly written fiction by a guy who should be a best selling freaky author & radical poet

Interview:

1.   What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

Advertising my website with a sinister visual on the back of one of my leather jackets. When it comes to writing – marketing – or whatever else I’m involved in – I like to think of myself as the walking definition of unconventional.

2.   What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to
Self Publish?

Traditional publishers weren’t interested in my style of fiction. Self Publishing  was the next best thing.

3.   What do you have under your bed?

Spiders – dust – a box of comics – and plenty of broken dreams that can’t be fixed with glue or a needle and thread.

4.   Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

My brand of fiction is more about character and dialogue than plot. It’s a style of storytelling that only certain types of people will find entertaining. As a matter of fact – most critics would write my fiction off as – ‘All Style – No Substance.’

But that’s okay – my stories are designed to be read by those few individuals who are looking for something different and are sick to death of reading the same old crud the mainstream guys keep publishing.

5.   Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups,
writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I work with only music and a cup of coffee for company. When you’re the God or Goddess of your own fictional universe – you don’t need anything else.

6.   When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

My ideas often come from comic books – late night B grade horror movies – music – and sometimes dreams. My most recent book – Safdar Muttaqi’s Forever Drifting Through The Great River Of The Sky was inspired by a woman I’ve never met but only seen on TV.

7.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other
tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on
fogged bathroom mirrors?

Microsoft Word on my laptop when I’m in the house. When I travel I usually stick with a pad and pen.

The Secret To Unsophisticated Thinking: The Love Misery Cycle – Book One

cover art Blurb: 

A love sick fool.

A writer with problems.

A young mum looking for answers.

A little girl dancing with death.

A dark force from the past.

Buy Link 

THE SECRET TO UNSOPHISTICATED THINKING: LOVE MISERY CYCLE (Saf’s Unsophisticated Fiction For Those Who Don’t Belong Book 1) – Kindle edition by Safdar Muttaqi. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading SAFDAR MUTTAQI’S THE SECRET TO UNSOPHISTICATED THINKING: LOVE MISERY CYCLE (Saf’s Unsophisticated Fiction For Those Who Don’t Belong Book 1)


Second Title by Safdar Muttaqi

FOREVER DRIFTING THROUGH THE GREAT RIVER OF THE SKY: LOVE MISERY CYCLE BOOK TWO (Saf’s Unsophisticated Fiction For Those Who Don’t Belong 2) – Kindle edition by Safdar Muttaqi. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading SAFDAR MUTTAQI’S FOREVER DRIFTING THROUGH THE GREAT RIVER OF THE SKY: LOVE MISERY CYCLE BOOK TWO (Saf’s Unsophisticated Fiction For Those Who Don’t Belong 2).

Buy Link

Thank you for being my guest this week.  Your’s was a great interview to celebrate the return of Writerly Wednesday.

Come Back Soon for Another Writerly Wednesday Spotlight and Don’t Touch Anything Sharp!

 

Fiction Friday Short Short – Eraser

clip art of a pink eraserThe Department of Defense has perfected a new weapon, code named Eraser.

Much like Facbook’s Block Option, the US Government can find and make individual people disappear. Going beyond the limits of Facebook’s Block, this weapon makes the person vanish from everywhere. Poof. Without a trace. No records.

What are you writing about?

I’ll Do It, I’ll Do It

I have been so busy I’ve neglected my blog.

I inherited The Writer’s Chatroom.  When Audrey was at the end of her rope with work, family with health issues and life in general she mentioned closing the Chatroom Site.

Of course, as a true addict to the regular chats, my hand shot up, like Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter.

I’ll Do It, I’ll Do It

clipart hands in the air

During the past, several weeks I built a new site and moved some information from the original site over.  I added a variety of bells and whistles.

Then a group of people suggested a Forum.  Now, I’ve had courses in CSS, HTML and JavaScript but a Forum runs on PHP.  A forum also requires commenters to have membership on the site.

man and his broken website

Two things came together on Thursday evening leading to the destruction of more than a month of work.  I could not build a Forum.  The Forum I was building had changed twice and both applications were owning my pale white butt.  Then I began to worry about all the people coming into the site and randomly registering and gaining privileges to make changes to my site.  I am very security conscious and this wasn’t sitting well with me.

I opened an offsite forum for people to use to solve my issues with registered users and potential site wide hacks.  After doing this I went to the user restriction area and made a change. During this change, I broke the site.

I tried to fix it for many hours of mind sweating drama.  What began as a 500 Error became a 404 Error on all pages.  I couldn’t even look at them.  Only the main page showed and I couldn’t post or make changes.  I couldn’t add pages.  I couldn’t do anything. Of course, by now it was TOO LATE to backup and start over with what caused the demise.

In the meantime, I had assigned the Forum work to one of our Moderators.  CB and her committee got the forum up and running while I spent Friday and Saturday rebuilding the website from memory.

Today, I am tending things I let slip away.

I need to write another article for the Cleveland Chronicles.  I need to get back to the novel I set on the back burner, again. I need to chill.

Thank you CB and company for the great work you have done on the Forum. I never could have regained my sanity without you.

As you go about your day, don’t touch anything sharp!

 

Welcome Back To Writerly Wednesday

Welcome to Writerly Wednesday

Cup of Pens ClipArtIt has been awhile since my last Writerly Wednesday post. Welcome back. If you haven’t been here before, I post Writerly things here. I sometimes spotlight people in the Writing Arena, Authors, Editors, Publishers, Agents and people with mad marketing skills. I have guest guidelines here on the site if you are interested.

What I really want to share is news about The Writer’s Chatroom.

The Writer’s Chatroom has been open to guests since the olden days of the internet and it has gone through at least two major incarnations. Now it is going through another change.

Our head moderator, Audrey Shaffer has been running the place for twelve years and felt it was time to close up shop or pass the torch.

I’ve been hanging out in the chatroom for about eight years and it has become a habit. We have a mix of visitors and regulars pulling up virtual chairs every Wednesday and Sunday evening. I couldn’t envision my weeks without this chatroom so I volunteered to take up the torch and run with it.

The Chatroom is moving to my subdomain. I am keeping much of the content from the main site but bringing the core of the chatroom up to modern standards and expectations. The look and feel will be different but I am one of the few people in the world who things change is good. Change is growth. Change is good for our minds.

I want to invite you over to the new digs.

The Wednesday and Sunday Chats still happen at the regular site. This will eventually resolve at the new site. Join us at http://writerschatroom.com/Enter on Wednesdays at 6PM MDT and Sundays at 5PM MDT.

Audrey Shaffer is not completely disappearing, she is still running a lot of the background magic. We are thankful for the things she used to do and the things she continues doing.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II

Monday marked the two year anniversary of Havan’s crossing.  It also marked the first Monday as Team Sally and Cleveland II.

On the 16th we landed in Santa Rosa.  We began Team Training the next day on the Canine Companions for Independence North West Training Center.  I was one of five awesome people chosen for what is referred to as a ‘side’ placement.  We were there for a Successor Service Dog.  Between us we had retired 11 companions.  For four of us, this was our third dog.

Graduating Class - April 2017
Graduating Class – April 2017 (Graduates, Dogs and Family Members)

April 21st  we Graduated as Teams and met our Puppy Raisers.

Cleveland, received most of his training in a Prison Program right here in Montana.  He spent three months before advanced training in California with The Bradshaw Family where he was further socialized before going into advanced training.

I will be forever grateful for the Prison Program and his second family.  There are breeders, caretakers, trainers, volunteers, veterinarians, office personnel and donors to be thankful to as well.

To everyone involved, you did one heck of a great job and we intend to honor you by working hard at independence. 

After a ridiculous flight home on Saturday we arrived in the graveyard hours of Sunday morning and began our lives together.

I’ve been posting photos for nearly two weeks on Facebook.  I’ll be blogging about our adventures.  I’ll keep posting even the most mundane things.  You’ll see.

On Monday, Cleveland II was a new breath of life beside me and I think Havan is very pleased.  I can almost hear her tail thumping.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II
Cleveland II

Cleveland II is a two year old yellow lab who weighs in at 78 pounds.

If you’d like more information about Service Dogs and the Canine Companions for Independence program visit http://cci.org

Sally & Cleveland II CCI NW ’17
Havan CCI NW ’07 – ’15
Lincoln III CCI NW ’98 – ’07

 

 

And the Survey Says – Part 1 of 3

clipart of the word surveyI’ve been moderating over at The Writer’s Chatroom for around seven years.  Wow, have I been there that long?  I recently composed a series of Surveys and posted the links to them on Facebook and Twitter.  And The Survey Says..

Thank you all for participating.  If you haven’t gone over to answer the questions, the surveys are still open.  I’ll add the links at the end of this post.

First Survey Observations.

The first survey was short. It was a general getting to know you type of thing. I will attempt to tell you the results without resorting to statistics whenever possible.

And the Survey Says – Part 1 of 3

Q1 What do you write?

The choices were Fiction, Non-fiction, Blogs and of course I do not Write.

About two thirds of people claimed to be fiction writers followed by non-fiction not even a close second. I was surprised to see that only one in four writers had a blog.

Q2 Have you Visited The Writer’s Chatroom?

An equal number of people indicated that they were regulars at the chatroom, they simply don’t do chats and they keep forgetting the time of our chats.

Just over a third of the writers indicated that they come to chat when they can but life gets in the way.

Q3 What is your gender?

Three quarters of the writers were female.

Q4 What is your age?

On this one I discovered very few writers aged 44 or below. It could be those writers don’t know they are writers, they might be raising the first wave of their family or heavily employed. They certainly don’t seem to participate in surveys if they are lurking out there.

The bulk of writers are between 45 and 65.

If we wanted to attract more young writers and more men we probably need to find out where they hang out online and get their attention there.

In a walnut shell —

The average respondent is a woman between 45 and 65 who writes fiction and non-fiction and either has a full plate on Sundays and Wednesdays or simply forgets we are here.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the survey. You all rock.

Survey 1

Survey 1

Survey 3

Legwarmer Weather in SouthWest Montana

Legwarmer Season
Legwarmer Season

 

It is Legwarmer Weather here in SouthWest Montana.  Nature has new artwork displayed between the panes of glass on my front window.  It is 5 degrees and the snow is tiny and drifting lazily down like dandelion seeds floating on the wind on a warm spring day.

I have been working on my tablecloth.  I spent last night weaving in tails.  91 of 660 motifs are done.

Yes, I have my WIP open and once in awhile  I click on the window and revise a few words.

Mostly, I am working on coding a page for this website from scratch.  I’m using micro-syntax to make my book page as SEO and text reader friendly as possible.  My only real worry is breaking the Internet.

I’ve brought Writerly Wednesday back but I don’t plan on making it a weekly feature this time out.  Submission Guidelines are available on this site.

It is Legwarmer Weather here in SouthWest Montana.

Until next time, don’t touch anything sharp!

Image of Crochet Project