She Goes Away

Mothers who love their children take them along.—Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior

When my mother goes away

she visits men in cages;

she has always known

the words:

revolutionary,

dissident,

are synonymous depending

on who locks the gate.

When my mother goes away

she takes me with her

sometimes and we walk

along the causeway,

looking for gates.

*

This poem was first published in my collection Lupercalia.

Photo by Matias Jacobi on Unsplash

July 2019 Stats

Word Count:

15,541

Days I didn’t write:

16

Submissions:

Zero sent out, zero accepted or rejected.

Project Notes:

So I spent the first week of July on a successful Camp NaNoWriMo writing streak. I think I jinxed myself because I shared in our cabin chat that I’d never successfully made my word count and won camp before. And while everyone was supportive and not negative by any means, I completely fell off the map that second week and I was not able to recover.

I had many false starts and many stuttering attempts at writing in the second and third weeks of July. But then on the fourth week I had an epiphany. I wasn’t writing one book, I was writing two. And they needed to be told from different perspectives.

Once I separated the two plot lines, characters who were sullen and silent in my brain became active and positively vivacious.

So while this month was NOT a productive wiring month at all, my projects are better off for it.

Another thing that I did this month was completely (again) re-organize my publishing schedule. I threw all my plans out the window. And I’m thinking, from now on, unless I KNOW FOR SURE WITHOUT EVEN THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I will be able to finish a project, I will not be announcing any specific publication dates. On my About page you’ll find a list of all my projects and the year in which I plan to release them. But I will not be getting any more specific than that until each book is done.

For more details about what’s going on with my series The Slaughter Chronicles, check out this update post here.

For news about my new short story project, click here.

*

Photo by Grégoire Bertaud on Unsplash

June 2019 Stats

I’m really embarrassed to share this information because I did really, really bad this month. But this is how life works sometimes.

Word Count:

I’d be surprised if I hit 4,000

Days I didn’t write:

Almost all of them.

Submissions:

Got 1 acceptance. Nothing sent out.

Project Notes:

SO this month was terrible for my productivity. Mr. J drove up from Alabama in the first week and we stayed in Arkansas for a few days before driving down to the Florida panhandle to visit my aunt for a week. Then further down the state to visit Mr. J’s grandfather for another week. And then a few days in Mr. J’s home port before I flew back to Arkansas.

But even thought I didn’t do a lot of writing (I gave up tallying my word counts and days after the first week) I did a lot of outlining and brainstorming. I fleshed out secondary characters and sub-plots. I worked on motivations and story arcs. It was a productive time in every other aspect of writing except actually writing.

My two other main projects, Resonance and The Heart of the Forest Cycle, are progressing more slowly than I would like but they are progressing. The biggest news there is that instead of being a trilogy of novels, The Heart of the Forest Cycle is going to be at least two volumes of short stories and novellas. I have a lot of characters in that series and tying all of their story lines together was becoming increasingly difficult so I’ve separated nearly everyone’s stories and things are flowing more easily. I might be able to publish the first volume sometime in the fall but I’m still not going to make it a priority. The Slaughter Chronicles comes first.

July is Camp NaNoWriMo. I will be participating this year. I didn’t win camp this past April but I also had unrealistic expectations. So for July, I will work on finishing the first draft of Havoc’s Moon and polishing Moon Shine for publication in October.

Here’s looking to a larger word count in the future!

Red Liniage

A poem inspired by Khadijah Queen’s 2014 Naropa SWP Workshop at the Jack Kerouac School Of Disembodied Poetics.

Red Liniage

My name is string tying the hawk’s legs red.

My mother’s name is springtime in a land where she wasn’t born red.

My father’s name is pencil markings of the bombs red.

My sister’s name is lovely flower red.

My brother’s name is unstoppable fission red.

My grandmother’s name is sorrow on a soft wind red.

I come from a people known for moonshine bootleggers, broken cathedrals, and long voyages across the sea.

Remember me.

May 2019 Stats

Warning: I did not do so well this month…

Word Count:

14,428

Days I didn’t write:

11

Submissions:

1 rejection. Nothing sent out.

Project Notes:

So you can clearly see all the things I didn’t do this month (mainly write). But here’s what I did do:

I attended the Arkansas Writer’s Conference and met some extremely lovely local writer ladies.

I am working hard to study for the College Algebra CLEP exam so I can enroll in Biology and Chemistry classes this fall.

I moved all my furniture from our apartment into my house in Arkansas. I have a new writing space and everything! And with that move came the re-introduction of Mr. J’s cat Tiny Rick into our family. Titain and Leela are not pleased.

Also quit smoking AGAIN and withdraw has killed my productivity.

June is going to be no less busy. I’m taking a vacation to Florida with Mr. J next week and have to do a few more home repairs for my mom before we leave. I’m working on the final edits of Moon Shine and hope to be ready to publish it when I get back.

I’ve also been working on my urban fantasy series: The Heart of the Forest Cycle. At first I thought it was going to be a trilogy with each book focusing on different central characters but now I am thinking it needs to be a two-volume collection of short stories and novellas set in my magical universe. Because I’ve woven so many plot threads and am having a hard time connecting everything.

Whenever I find myself in a plot jam like this I find cutting things down is the best thing to do. I’m a poet first, fiction writer second, and I utilize a lot of my poetry skills to fix my fiction. I like to think they give me a unique perspective.

So what was going to be BOOK ONE of the HOTFC is now three stories about modern fairies set in the same universe. I’m working on adding two additional stories to give the collection more meat.

I’m not going to plan for it but if I can stay on task with my work in The Slaughter Chronicles I might be able to keep my original August deadline for the Heart of the Forest Cycle.

So far I have published one novella and two short stories this year. My original plan was to publish two more novella, one more short story, and three novels. So that’s five things I have not published yet and we’re already half way through the year. And I want to go back to college in the fall…

My new plan is to publish at least the two novellas and one novel bringing my total publications this year to 6 pieces of fiction, which isn’t bad. If I can maintain my self-discipline and stick to my plan the short story collection will come out as well but, again, I’m not going to push it, I have too much going on.

See you on the other side!