Neda G…Her Flashy Fiction List…and a ciggy story.

From The Sisters of the Scorched Soles

Committed to our writing. Keeping our feet to the fire!

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The Scorch Report – October 1, 2018

Editors note: I am continually fascinated by the amount of determination it takes to sit down and keep up with this blog. There are so many amazing things going on right now…in my life, in my community, in my world. Alleghany Writers, Blue Ridge Fiber Fest, Alleghany Chamber of Commerce, AuthenticallyAlleghany.com   It’s a beautiful revival of literary and cultural arts in Alleghany County. Involvement in these projects brings such joy to my life.  It’s hard to pull away from playing to put words on a page!

But, I’m a working writer with a commitment. Each of the Sisters of the Scorched Soles has an assignment. Mine is this blog. If I don’t do my part, the other sisters will put a flame under my tootsies!

Jill has her short story collection and historic novel. Recent shoulder surgery has her a bit hobbled, so she’s spending time binge watching everything from drama to comedy, movies to multi-season series. Always good to study plot, character, and setting. And, when your shoulder is in a sling, it’s the best you can do.

Neda received very positive editor reviews on her historical fiction manuscript based on the life of Frederick Stowe, son of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She’s off on the next part of the process…editing, more research, market development.

While she was waiting on the editor, and since we must keep our feet to the fire, Neda decided to work on some flash fiction pieces.  After some research and analysis on places to submit and what the editors want, this is her concept:  A Pack of Flash.

The word count for flash stories was originally determined by what could be read while smoking a single cigarette, so Neda is working on a twenty story collection. Cigarette Stories – smoke ‘em and read ‘em. The perfect break!

 Here’s one from the pack….

Neda Gayle, Writer, Realtor, Bubbe. Jewish mother to the Scorched Sisters.

Birdlike Prey 

What kind of bird is it?
A pretty one she answered.
I like watching it fly then land so softly on its tiny little legs. They’re so cute. I like little animals, creatures.. but they have to be little.
And why is that? To fit in your tiny hands? She said it with a smile and slight chuckle.
Just little. Like Alice in Wonderland – when she drinks the bottle to get little.
Oh. She was not sure what he meant by the answer but with a slight tilt of her head she stared down at the little boy next to her, gently lifted him up into her arms and threw him against the brick wall.
He slumped over. Pigeons circled his feet and sparrows danced on his little legs.
 

Something for CoppertopMountaintop readers…………

Since we are all in this together, Neda is sharing her flash fiction research and links on this blog. They are freshly qualified and ready for you. If you use the links and find them useful……..let me know!

Google Link

Targeted Research: (More to come in future posts.)

Flash Fiction Online

  • 35,000 visitors monthly
  • Past 3 years good content.
  • Open to reprint submissions.
  • Offer pro payment for stories (.06 per word)
  • Many of staff like speculative, sci- fi. journal has that focus but tastes extend beyond that genre.

Everyday Fiction

  • 22,000 visitors monthly
  • Stories of mass appeal.
  • Categories listed on their sidebar where you can target what you want to read – it also provides insight into what they are looking for.
  • Pay token ($3 per story)
  • IMPORTANT: September 26th deadline for October submissions for October / Fall theme.

Brevity

  • 10-20,000 visitors monthly (conflicting info)
  • Non-fiction flash.
  • View their published authors -pretty significant.
  • Looking for pieces 750 words or less.
  • Pay $45 each

Pank

  • 16,000 visitors monthly
  • Founded by Roxanne Gay. She has a huge following
  • No maximum word count on their website, but pieces tend to be shorter
  • Publishing arm – Tiny Hardcore Press

 

The Scorched Report – September 1, 2018

From The Sisters of the Scorched Soles

Committed to our writing. Keeping our feet to the fire!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Our August long distance meeting was very productive.

Although none of us could figure out SKYPE, we managed to put together a conference call and get some work done.

 

Jill at her home office.

   Jill’s short stories centered on the five senses are coming along. Contemporary, thoughtful, and full of all the “sensual-ness” you would expect from stories about the five senses! We reviewed Summer of Love, Spec House, and A Normal Thing. After critique and discussion, Jill was off to her next assignment…a finished draft of the other two senses to be explored. We have sight, smell, and touch. Next is hearing and taste. I’m hoping Jill will let us preview a few excerpts here as she submits the stories to magazines and literary journals.

 

 

 

 

 

Neda on sight at a model home.

Neda has her novel manuscript with an editor and is itching to get on to another writing project while she waits for the results. Flash fiction is the thought, and with Neda’s bountiful file of story ideas and drafts, she has the makings of some great short pieces to submit online and in journals. She’s doing research on places to publish flash fiction. If anyone has suggestions, leave a comment here or connect with Neda on Facebook.  I’ll post our finding in a future report.

 

 

 

 

Ginger lounging with snacks.

Look for Ginger’s post White Pants Rule coming this Tuesday. Have you stashed yours away until next summer? Or, do you subscribe to the “wear white whenever” philosophy? Opinions abound on this topic!

The Book Club Profile project for Alleghany News has four participants so far. A visit to the Olde Beau Book Club on Friday was a delight! They reviewed Amor Towle’s Gentlemen in Moscow, complete with photos and props to follow the story line. It really brought the story to life! Questionnaires are being sent to participating clubs, with the guarantee of a variety of results that demonstrate the variety of readers we have in Alleghany County.

 

A Weekend With the Sisters – Ready to Begin Again

As the Sisters of the Scorched Soles complete their first working weekend, goals have been established and assignments made. Permission to nag has been given and each sister has a timeline for our projects.

Neda has her historical novel about Frederick Stowe. Jill has her series of short stories about the five senses. I have this blog.

Let the writerly activity begin!

Establishing our roles in the Scorched Sisterhood: Neda, the nurturer and provider of food and comfort. Jill, the practical, logical, techie youngest sister. Ginger, the cheerleader and lifter of spirits.

 

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Ready to Begin Again

I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I reached the bottom of the mountain. How much I needed the comfort of my sisters and the ease of mutual analysis and shared opinion that comes through extended time with close friends!

There is the point at which you can say almost anything, be yourself, unvarnished. It came easy with my St. Joe friends. We had years of history and shared experiences. There was no BS because everyone knew the best and worst already. Nothing to hide.

My first two days were spent stripping the built-up varnish of daily life to let the natural wood  of my being breath for a while. I became a spiritual nudist, floating along on a cloud of joy, easily moving toward a positive and enriching purpose.

How fortunate we are to have found each other and to be at this point in our lives where vision can become clear and action can be taken.

 

 

 

 

 

My Last Dip In The Jury Pool

I was actually looking forward to jury duty! It’s been a busy few weeks and I was hoping to get a bit of diversion, maybe even some allowable judging of my fellow man.

The process was fascinating. Hearing the explanation of why we were there, watching the line as people waited to ask the judge for a deferment to a later date. This was her first trip to Alleghany. She was very attentive. Listened carefully to each plea to be excused. But, you could read her lips between the sweet smile. Nice try, but not enough of a reason to get you off. Back into the jury pool. It was people watching at its finest.

I heard names I recognized. Now they had faces. I saw faces I recognized. Now they had names. There were even a few who I knew by name and face, only to find out that name was not their legal name…which I could understand, since I was the Ginger Collins who answered to Barbara Anne when they called the roll.

It wasn’t an episode of Law & Order, but it was a genuine cast of characters who had me jotting down details to enrich my character descriptions in future stories. There were a few rugged individuals. Leather-tan faces, backs hunched over, a slight limp in the walk. I cast them as outlaws or eccentric millionaires. There were women with classic features, looking like they had finished the dishes and removed their apron just in time to get to the courthouse. Of course, there were a few bad fashion choices. There always are. But my favorite of the day was the man whose face was the rural version of British royalty.  The jug ears, the prominent nose. To my eyes he could have been a cousin to Prince Charles who somehow ended up in the North Carolina mountains. I spun a yarn around that visual for a good ten minutes!

Then it was over! After all the prep and procedure, we were released. This means I will never find out what those three men in the blue suits at the front table were talking about. Maybe that’s my next story!

The Sisters of the Scorched Soles

Bound together by a promise to keep each other writing.

We’ve set our goals and made the commitment.

We are putting our feet to the fire.

The Sisters – L-R : Jill Evans, Neda Gayle, Ginger Collins

People who are meant to be together find each other. The story behind the formation of our trio in 2010, proves it. That story later. Now I will just introduce us as three women in a critique group…very individual… yet alike in as many ways as we are different. From the beginning we truly enjoyed the style, substance, and subject matter of each other’s stories and worked together to get the words polished, submitted, and published.  This always made for long confabs, always over food, with lots of conversation on a variety of topics. But, it always came back to writing and the journey to publication. When I lived in Atlanta, our critique group sessions consisted of long and lavish lunches at Neda’s, followed by the reading of our latest pages. It was an entire literary afternoon. It was glorious.

 

The fateful trip to New York City in January, 2011. It didn’t get above 15 degrees during our entire visit.

In January, 2011, our trio traveled to New York City for a Writers Digest Conference. Our novel manuscripts had received rave reviews from what we considered to be discerning readers and we were confident agents would find our stories appealing. Our elevator speeches were flawless, our leave-behind material was impressive.  We were ready for success. It didn’t come. There were requests for 50 pages here and there, and a couple agents asked for full manuscripts. But nothing came of it. Nothing.

It was a level of disappointment that hit all three of us equally. We were experienced business women. Business analysis, marketing, advertising, and media…among many other things. When you put it all together, we were pretty smart chicks!  How could we be rejected? We were in agreement, never had we put that much time and effort into something and not come out winners.

After a period of mourning for my dream of being a novelist, I settled into mountain life in Alleghany County. I boxed up the writing, even gave some books away. I turned my back on creative writing and went back to the familiar of marketing materials, print ads, and press releases.

Jill started a photography business in addition to her active website business. Neda went from high-end retail to a new life in real estate. We connected when possible on my quick trips to town. Always lots of laughs and marvelous tales of our most recent adventures. We were busy with our new projects and it was clear that writing had fallen to the wayside for all of us.

Now we’re back. Energized, refocused on our writing goals, and taking the next steps. This blog post is my first step. Journaling our adventures, sharing what we learn, and finding the joy in writing that once kept us so inspired and motivated.

Once a week. That’s my posting promise. Here goes!

Soft, Round, Curly Words

When Ron Houchin met with our writers in April he stressed the fact that even though we may have our favorite place to write, with the atmosphere, music, silence, candle, cushion that gets us “in the writing mood,” we need to be comfortable writing anywhere, because if that’s where the spirit moves us towards a thought or idea or reflection, we should not wait to capture it on paper. Let those words fly onto the page, red hot, fresh out of the oven.

As I sit in the Alleghany Library I’m putting that advice into practice. I’m writing off the top of my red head as I decompress from one meeting and prepare for the next. Later this afternoon I’ll lead the monthly meeting of Alleghany Writers. Days aren’t usually this jammed and I’ve been working hard to unjam even more, but sometimes the personal, home, and community interests converge in a perfect storm that requires seamless preparation, full attention, and a professional manner. All the things that spell out work instead of play.

So, even though I am drawn toward creating a copy draft for a Horizon Bistro brochure, I feel compelled to write some words that are soft and round and curly before I start writing something as pointed and sharp as a promo piece for catering and carry out.

My first thought is to finish the piece I started early in the week for our monthly prompt exercise. It’s a picture prompt, and the challenge is to describe the setting.  The look, the feel, the abstract, the concrete. All of it.

I got a good start and knew the finish. What I didn’t have was a middle. When I started working on the middle the word count grew and the story took off into its own novel! I was going for a cute little vignette with an ending twist. What I got was a rambling beginning going nowhere.

Guess I’ll dig into the ramblings and carve out 500 words that describe the setting….an outdoor summer wedding. I’m envisioning the love story you see on the Hallmark movies. She’s the rich girl. Privileged. Not yet spoiled, but on her way there. He’s the hardworking guy who works on the family property. A “hand,” who has a special connection with her horses. Each sees the potential in the other. The photo shows the final scene, their wedding day.

I’m off to write some soft, round, and curly words………………………………….

Should I publish the final draft??