Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Story Behind the Story

So I got my contributor's copy of Uncle John's Flush Fiction today. I do enjoy seeing my stories in print even though I've bought only one physical book in the past year or so (I really love my e-reader). I can't wait to read the other stories in the collection! So I got to thinking about my story and how it came about.


I belong to an online writing community called Codex. One of the great things they do is run contests several times a year. It's how I generate some of my short stories and how I've generated one novel (the one in progress). One of the contests is called Weekend Warrior. Prompts go up at the beginning of the weekend, and the idea is to write and turn in a 750 word (or less) story by the end of the weekend. Phew! A few years ago I read through the prompts but couldn't think of a story that weekend. So the prompt kicked around in the back of my head for a few weeks, and then the idea for a story sprang out at me one day like some sort of ninja assassin. I ended up writing a story that, on the surface, looks like a story about helpful gnomes (trust me, we all need and deserve gnomes like these), but what I was thinking about as I wrote was the secrets people keep from one another, and how sometimes even when we suspect (or outright know) another person's truth, we pretend we don't. I guess I was thinking about those people you see on the news who act shocked that their husband or wife or kids or co-workers or neighbors did something horrible, something that went on for years and is now coming to light.


On a completely unrelated note, the herb garden and strawberries are doing great, but absolutely nothing came up in the vegetable garden. I used the same soil in all three areas. What gives, Mother Nature? So I replanted the vegetable garden today.

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's Hard Out There for an Introvert

A few interesting articles have come out recently regarding introversion, including this interview on NPR. I had the chance to work with the Myers-Briggs personality test when I was in physical therapy school. I took the test, and it confirmed what I already suspected, that I was indeed an introvert. Many of today's work places are not designed with introverts in mind. My day job is in a wide open space with very little privacy. I think I cope with it just fine, but by the time I get home, all I want is to curl up in a corner by myself for a little while. Not easy to do with a toddler around. Impossible, in fact. The next best thing is hanging out in the backyard and letting him run around with the dogs while I decompress.

So I don't find it surprising that my major outlet is writing. It's solitary, requires silence (for me at least... I know some writers who need noise or music), and allows me to hang out in my head for a little while. Bliss! And I enjoy social media because it allows me to connect with people at my own pace.

It's been interesting watching my 2 year old develop. He's a bit like me in that it takes him a while to warm up to situations, and so I suspect he might be an introvert also. I wonder how he'll do in a school system that seems increasingly geared towards extroverts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy News!

I am pleased to announce that World Weaver Press will be publishing my first novel, Shards of History! This novel started as a short story at Odyssey in 2007. I was racking my brain for something to write about because I had to turn in a story (ack!) when I dreamed about homes situated in the middle of a very high cliff. When I woke up, I wondered what sort of people would live in such a home and then realized nobody human would be able to. That's when I started working out the rest of the story.

And the Winner is....

The winner of a copy of Uncle John's Flush Fiction is Susana! Congratulations! Send me your mailing address at rebecca dot roland07 at gmail dot com and I'll send you a copy! Now you have something to read in the library.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Green Thumb

There's something really satisfying about digging in the dirt, planting seeds and watching them grow, and eating what you've planted. And I like pulling weeds. Weird, right? But I like seeing my progress. I like making the yard look neat and tidy (yes, I'm a control freak). I like piling up tiny weed corpses. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't admit that last one. But pulling weeds gives me time to think. I think about stories I'm working on, or I think about my family, or I think about the grocery list or the latest news stories. You get the drift. I love the earthy, grassy smells, the sounds of birds twittering or kids playing in the nearby park. I love the crumbly feel of dirt between my fingers. Gardening is one of those activities that entices all the senses.

For the vegetable garden I used this method called square foot gardening, which is supposed to maximize your space. Right now it looks like I have a tiny archeological dig in the back yard. I'd post a picture, but I'm having technical issues right now.

Do you have a green thumb?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

So writing my first blog post on a measly four hours of sleep and after flying through two time zones with a toddler is probably not the best of ideas, but here goes.

I've been considering starting a blog--er, well, starting a new one seeing as how I had one a while back but never posted much--and some recent bouts of good news have prompted me to do so. Why call it Spice of Life? Well, I had to come up with something, and seeing as how I plan to post about anything and everything, it seemed a good choice.

For my first post, I'd like to give something away. Aren't I nice? One of my short stories recently came out in Uncle John's Flush Fiction, and to celebrate, I'd like to give one lucky person a copy of the book. All you have to do is express your interest in the comments section by April 10. Your name will go into the fanciest hat I can find (and trust me, I've got some fancy ones), and I'll pull out the name of the lucky winner. The book is a collection of short-short stories--aka flash fiction--making them perfect to read while sitting in the thinking room, or wherever you please.