Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday was busy :-)

Started the morning with a hearty breakfast courtesy of Cracker Barrel. I should have realized that "first available seating" down here means the smoking section. The smell of cigarette ash still lingers on the jacket I wore so I switched to my long coat for the day.

First stop: Hartwood Winery. They were holding an open house wine tasting along with Tomahawk Mill Vineywards. I bought a couple of bottles from each. I may be tempted to uncork one at my upcoming holiday party.

Next stop: Fredericksburg Battlefield Center. Watched a 20 min. movie describing the grueling Civil War clashes that took place around here. Took a short walk along the Sunken Road where some pretty intense fighting went down. Bought an interactive DVD-ROM of Civil War battles.

Final stops: Caroline St. This is the main drag for "Old Town" Fredericksburg. Either side of the street is populated by antique shops and other novelty spots. I visited the local apothecary, a micro-museum about Hugh Mercer complete with a staff that plays in character from the 18th century. Picked up a little book on Revolutionary era medicine. Then I went to the Fudge Shoppe. They have the most delicious pumpkin and peanut butter chocolate fudges. They ship everywhere so I may order more to offer my guests at the holiday party.

I got a bite to eat, went back to my room, called some friends and family. I drive back to NJ in the morning.

This week has been rather relaxing as I hoped. It puts me in the frame of mind to get this next book started. Didn't take the plethora of pictures I expected, but that's fine. It was about unwinding and such. Didn't give me a magical cure to all my troubles BUT I did enjoy myself.

P.S. There is a saying that goes "Happiness is only real when shared with others" or something to that effect. Trips like this are fine but, they also point to those moments you enjoy arm-in-arm with those you call friend or something more.

In many ways this reminded of a trip to Gettysburg several years ago. That was a lovely time. And I would have enjoyed having the company I had then with me here. Happiness is best when shared by those who can appreciate its nuances equally and THAT is what I miss the most.

Friday, November 21, 2008

nice tour, bad onion rings

The ghost tour was fine, something to be more appreciated in a warmer season. I'm still trying to get the feeling back into my fingers and toes.

There were some similarities between this tour and a ghost tour was on several years ago in Gettysburg. Both tours were organized by the same man but the fact that some of the stories carried certain similarities was rather...ODD.

After the tour I got a bite to eat a local chain restaurant. The onion rings were, as my nephews like to say "disgusting".

I think I will do Fredericksburg again sometime but in the summer months and definitely will try to stay at a B&B in the historic downtown scene. I'm sure the onion rings will be better there,

Going to see a man about a ghost...

So Fredericksburg is supposedly the most haunted town in America. Ghost tour starts in about two hours. Going to grab a bite to eat first. Not much chance I can take photos tonight, pretty dark out already. You will simply have to rely on my expert narrative to share the experience.

Then tomorrow, wine festival and battlefields. Maybe check out some antique shops since I am in the neighborhood.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I have arrived in Virginia

I am now in Richmond at the home of my sister, Melody, her husband, Joseph and their sons Joshua and Justin. Made the drive in mostly good time until I hit traffic just south of Washington, DC. My nephews are confusing me with another of their uncles from their father's family. I have to keep saying "I'm Uncle JP" every few minutes. It's kind of funny. But they are very little so the confusion is to be expected. I'll spend the night here and then Friday head up to Fredericksburg. I booked a ghost tour for myself for Friday night. Fredericksburg is the most haunted city in the country, so they say... We shall see what the night brings. Stay tuned, more to come...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let's see if this can be fixed...

Rather than junk my suddenly busted wine cooler I am sending out for repairs... keep your fongers crossed

Submitting again...

I have taken to heart the comments I got back and worked through the night on rewrites. I will hit the post office soon to send out my latest version of the manuscript to a new agency.

I don't think simple fixes will get people excited about the story but I have some idea now how to present this story in a new light.

Also, I need to start packing for the road trip to Virginia...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

well at least I have something to work on

Finally got some much appreciated feedback...

Sure it was a rejection but at least someone actually told me something.

While my writing is clean, I am just not gripping the reader and getting them interested in my characters.

In other words...I'm boring.

what good is competent writing if you aren't interested in seeing the characters through to the end?

Tomorrow, I begin rewriting "Riding Ten Thunders"...again

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This week...

I am off from work this coming week...
Car is fixed and just in time for the road trip. Looks like I will be heading to Fredericksburg, VA on Thursday. Historic sites, ghost tours and a wine festival. Plus my sister and her family are just one hour south from there. I will blog during the trip, bringing the laptop.

The trip will also help me get a solid start on the next book. I have had this idea in mind for a few years but I think it finally came together the other day.

By chance this morning I found an agent who is running a quick contest for manuscript queries. The first 50 submissions with the appropriate quiz answer are guaranteed some actual feedback. I hope my submission was received in time. The way you pitch an agent or publisher may be even more important than the book itself.

I mean, no one is going to bother reading a book if they don't like the way you broach the topic...

So keep your fingers crossed.

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away