Category Archives: Blogging

New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

Here we go again, my annual Blogular tradition of revisiting New Year’s Resolutions for the year which is now passing, gauging how I did with each, and making new resolutions for the year to come. How long have I been doing this here (on this blog and its predecessor)? Hmmm….. *thinking.* Since 2006. My goodness (feel free to insert cliche of choice about time’s fleet feet).

P1160051.resized

Here are my old resolutions for 2012, in bold type, followed by my commentary as to how I actually did.

1. Currently, I’m planning a novel-to-be, working title of Maestro. The brainstorming is going fabulously, and my muse is kicking up her heels. Maestro is already hitting my sweet spot, and I haven’t even started writing it yet. In 2012, I want to get Maestro finished, edited, and available for purchase on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

I managed to complete a draft of Maestro, but it’s very rough — I haven’t even begun revisions or rewrites. Call this resolution a THUNK.

2. Get my original music (songs and instrumental pieces, composed on the piano and played and sung by yours truly) out there.

And here is where I can utter a resounding YAWP! In retrospect, I would call 2012 Thomma’s Year of Music. I finally got myself in a position where I could procure a digital piano and pursue my lifelong dream of getting my original music out there. I released my first album, Womanspirit Rising, in July 2012. So far, no songs, just instrumental, piano-based versions of my pieces, with touches of other instrumentation. I am proud of the album, though, and I will hopefully keep playing, recording, and releasing albums until I’m 120 years old. I’ve never had so much fun in my life! Bet many of you, my readers, didn’t know this about me, but music was actually my first love, before fiction.

3. In addition to Maestro, I’d like to write and make available for purchase other pieces of fiction, including short stories and possibly a novella or two. When you’re an indie author, it’s an excellent thing to have numerous fictional pieces available for readers who discover you and love your work.

THUNK. See comment above about 2012 being Thomma’s Year of Music.

4. BLOG MORE. And yes, I mean that. Both here and on Grace Notes, my creative writing blog, where I’d like to post flash fiction related to my works-in-progress.

YAWP! I did indeed blog more here, but not on Grace Notes. I started a series of what I call Dharma Posts on this blog, then I created a dedicated Dharma Blog called Green Mountains Walking.

5. This one isn’t a goal. It’s a “maybe.” But possibly — just possibly — I’ll release one or more of my titles in print.

A sort of YAWP! I’m in the process of readying my novel Heart’s Chalice for print, but it won’t go live ’til 2013. Watch this space for updates!

And here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013. Short but sweet.

1. Release my second music album, Reflected Moon. It’ll be comprised of both songs and piano-based instrumentals. Yes, I’ll be singing on the next album!

2. Finish drafting The Renunciate, my current novel-in-progress which is likely to be the first in a series.

3. Get The Renunciate ready for publication and available for purchase via Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

4. Blog on a regular basis, whether here, Green Mountains Walking, and/or Grace Notes.

5. Write more songs and instrumentals and become ever more confident and adept at digital recording, mixing, and mastering piano with vocals and other goodies.

And th-th-th-that’s it, folks! Happy New Year! :)

Random Bits in the Life of TL

Random Bits in the Life of TL

Good grief, nearly two months have passed since my last post here. *headdesk* Guess I’ll brush off the tumbleweeds yet again and put up a post, this one comprised of random bits. Pun on “bytes” most certainly intended.

1. I decided to create a dedicated Dharma blog especially for my Zen-related posts. If you’d like to check it out, I’d be most pleased. The name of the blog is Green Mountains Walking, a phrase from Zen Master Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra. I copied the older Dharma posts from here, re-homed them on Green Mountains Walking, then put up a brand new post on the brand new blog about — guess what — Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra.

2. My muse has been in high gear with music and writing. While music has been getting the lion’s share of the creative energy, I have a novel in progress and recently cracked 56,000 words. But the novel will be plenty longer than that. I’m taking my sweet time with the novel, allowing the story to unfold. I also have another novel in mind. Not sure whether to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. I’m really not ready to start the next novel, as it involves quite a bit of research. We’ll see. I probably won’t know whether I’ll undertake NaNoWriMo until October 31 at 11:59:59 p.m.

3. I’ll still compose and share piano sketches, though intermittently for now and probably on the Dharma blog. I’m spending plenty of time with my piano, but my current focus is on working up vocals for Reflected Moon, my second music album which is in progress. I’ve already recorded the piano tracks for the album, and my current task is to record the vocal tracks and grow more and more conversant with my audio software. It’s a learning curve, a delightful one. It’s a bit bizarre, too. Usually, I play and sing my songs at the same time. Who doesn’t? Recording, on the other hand, is rather like karaoke! :)

4. I’m still getting up on the Magic Mountain for hikes from time to time. The fall foliage is nearing its peak in East Tennessee. Fall is a marvelous time of year — my very favorite season, though followed closely by Spring.

random bits, fall foliage, east tennessee, appalachian mountains

New Year’s Resolutions 2012

New Year’s Resolutions 2012

I can’t figure out which is more unbelievable: (1) that I’ve let nearly two months go by without posting here, or (2) that it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions again. Every year on the blog, I take the New Year’s Resolutions I made last year and evaluate how I did with keeping them. Then I make new resolutions for the year to come. I’ve been doing this for, what, going on six years now? Hey, it’s a tradition! And it’s always instructive about how my goals — and even my attitudes — can change.

thomma lyn grindstaff, southern fiction, appalachian fiction, heart's chalice, magical realism

Here are my old resolutions for 2011, in bold type:

1. Get Heart’s Chalice submission-ready. I WILL do this. No kerTHUNKs. No excuses.

*applause* — I accomplished this goal. I got Heart’s Chalice whipped into fine shape, thanks to my faithful Beta readers and to the expertise of my wonderful editor, Susan Helene Gottfried, whom I have titled Editor Laureate of the Universe (fellow indies, if you’re looking for someone who can help you polish your manuscript to a high shine, look no farther than Susan: she’s both a top-notch writer and a top-notch editor).

2. Get an agent for Heart’s Chalice (and future novels).

Here’s an example of how goals can radically change. I decided to go indie instead, and I’m self-publishing my fiction as ebooks (so far, I’ve released two novels including Heart’s Chalice, a novella, a collection of flash fiction, and two individual short stories). Going indie isn’t right for everyone — heck, there’s no one path that’s right for everyone — but it’s right for me, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it. If you’re interested in Heart’s Chalice (it’s a page-turner, even if I do say so myself), it’s for sale at Amazon’s Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Smashwords. And you might like to check out a stellar review. To browse the rest of my offerings, check out the sidebar of this blog, my website, or my Amazon Author Page.

3. Keep my freelance writing going — very important, high priority, and freelancing is wonderful, as well, for honing my writer’s tool kit.

*applause* — I accomplished this goal, too, and I am proud and happy to be working as Content Specialist for Blue Volcano Media, an outstanding web marketing and creative content company that’s growing, growing, growing. Exciting times lie ahead! *~*~*happy dance!*~*~* Working for Blue Volcano Media is an important part of my writing career, and I’m delighted to be a part of such a fabulous team.

4. Perhaps write completely different sorts of novels under a pseudonym. I’m going to be very mysterious about this. *singing* — “Oh no, I’ve said too much… I haven’t said enough.” LOL (apologies to R.E.M.)

kerTHUNK. And no, I’m not going to explain the mystery, either. Just forget I ever said it. T’was a bad idea. For me, anyway. (What was I thinking?!)

5. Get my original music out there. I have many songs and instrumental pieces, and they’re tired of being cooped up.

kerTHUNK. For numerous reasons, it just didn’t happen. But 2012 will be a different story (read on).

6. Draft Deirdre of the Sorrows.

kerTHUNK. Didn’t happen. Deirdre is still on my mind’s shelf, though, and it will be written soon.

And here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012.

1. Currently, I’m planning a novel-to-be, working title of Maestro. The brainstorming is going fabulously, and my muse is kicking up her heels. Maestro is already hitting my sweet spot, and I haven’t even started writing it yet. In 2012, I want to get Maestro finished, edited, and available for purchase on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

2. I’d also like to get Deirdre of the Sorrows finished, edited, and available for purchase on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

3. Continue to do my very best work as Content Specialist for Blue Volcano Media — what a wonderful job!

4. Get my original music (songs and instrumental pieces, composed on the piano and played and sung by yours truly) out there.

5. In addition to Maestro and Deirdre of the Sorrows, I’d like to write and make available for purchase other pieces of fiction, including short stories and possibly a novella or two. When you’re an indie author, it’s an excellent thing to have numerous fictional pieces available for readers who discover you and love your work.

6. BLOG MORE. And yes, I mean that. Both here and on Grace Notes, my creative writing blog, where I’d like to post flash fiction related to my works-in-progress.

7. This one isn’t a goal. It’s a “maybe.” But possibly — just possibly — I’ll release one or more of my titles in print.

Happy New Year, everybody! :D

A Fresh New Look For My Blog

A Fresh New Look For My Blog

After two years, I’ve decided this blog needs a fresh new look. And for those of you who have regularly read this blog (before the invasion of the tumbleweeds over the past year, during which I’ve done little to no blogging here), you’ll notice that I’m no longer calling it “Tennessee Text Wrestling.” I’ve used that name since 2006 (for this blog and its previous incarnation), but I’ve received so many hits from people looking for wrestling-related sites that I figured it’s high time I stopped confusing them.

What a year it’s been! I’ve learned a lot about life, loss and change. I’ve also learned a great deal about what I can do when I set my mind to it.

I’m still writing, cat wrangling, hiking and gardening, and though I keep busy as a freelance writer, I have plans for future novels. When do I not have plans and plots (pun on plotting novels definitely intended)? The harvest is rolling in, so between my writing duties and my vegetable-related duties, I’m pretty busy. Stay tuned for updates, though, and in the meantime, I’ll share with you pictures from recent hikes.

ghost flowers, indian pipesspied: the first ghost flowers of the season

laurel, appalachian mountains, rhododendron, flowersthe magic mountain festooned with blooming laurel — more this summer than I’ve ever seen

tadpoles, polliwogs, mountain stream, creekthis year’s crop of tadpoles are thriving in their mountain pond — more of them than ever!

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Good grief, look at the date of my last post — two months ago.  Has time really slid by so fast?  I guess it has, but I had to check the date twice.

But I just couldn’t chuck my annual Blogular New Year’s Resolutions.  I say “Blogular” only because I’ve been doing them on the blog.  Otherwise, they don’t have a lot to do with blogging.  Anyhow, I take my New Year’s Resolutions posted the previous year and assess how well I did with keeping them.  Then I make fresh resolutions.  Are you ready to rock and roll?  Goodness knows, I am.

My old resolutions, made for 2010, are in bold type:

1. Hone, polish and revise Heart’s Chalice into the best novel it can possibly be.

I made significant progress here; however, as much as the story has improved, it can still be better. And I won’t let go of it until I’ve done everything humanly possible to unfurl its potential.

2. Find an agent for Heart’s Chalice (and subsequent works).

KerTHUNK. You’ll see this resolution fresh for 2011.

3. Figure out what to do with Patchwork Stained Glass, a novel I rewrote and (re)completed a few months ago. In its first incarnation, written in 2006, it was known as Occam’s Razors (long-time readers of this blog will likely recognize that title).

Patchwork Stained Glass has been shelved, at least for now, for reasons that are too numerous and tedious to go into here.

4. Start the novel which will follow Heart’s Chalice (optimally, I want HC to be the first book of a trilogy).

Not sure I want to do the trilogy thing. Maybe, maybe not.

5. Consider doing something with House on Bear Branch and Beast of Stoney Creek, two creepy novels I wrote in 2007 (except that their titles suck eggs and are highly subject to change).

Beast of Stoney Creek (and I still loathe that title) will remain shelved for the time being, but I intend, soon, to completely rewrite House on Bear Branch and retitle it Deirdre of the Sorrows (it’ll morph into a mystical, metaphysical, wild and woolly ride of a novel in Heart’s Chalice‘s vein, but a completely different story, new characters, and fresh world building).

6. Write short stories. Speculative fiction, since that seems to be what I’m segueing toward (HC can’t decide whether it wants to be women’s fiction, paranormal romance or magical realism, but it’s leaning toward women’s fiction w/magical realism). Submit to markets which publish speculative fiction in order to build publishing credits. Plus write short stories and flash for my blog readers.

Submitting stories to markets = kerTHUNK.  For the first part of last year, however, I did a great job with writing short stories and posting them to my short story and poetry blog, Grace Notes. But life got crazy, and I fell off the short story wagon. Don’t know how much short story writing I’ll be doing in 2011. If I can make time for it, I’ll do it. If not, I won’t. (p.s. — Anybody know how to create more hours in a day other than going without sleep?)

7. Get better about promoting myself and my work. I’m disciplined about writing; I need to become disciplined about promotion.

I’ve gotten better at this, especially with regard to my freelance writing.  Progress — YEAH! :D

8. Keep blogging, keep hiking, keep gardening, keep reading, keep playing and composing music, and above all keep loving and laughing and learning.

KerTHUNK on the blogging, doing okay on the hiking (will do still better, though), and thumbs up on the reading, music, loving, laughing, and learning.

Okay, here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011:

1.  Get Heart’s Chalice submission-ready.  I WILL do this.  No kerTHUNKs.  No excuses.

2. Get an agent for Heart’s Chalice (and future novels).

3. Keep my freelance writing going — very important, high priority, and freelancing is wonderful, as well, for honing my writer’s tool kit.

4. Perhaps write completely different sorts of novels under a pseudonym.  I’m going to be very mysterious about this.  *singing* — “Oh no, I’ve said too much… I haven’t said enough.”  LOL (apologies to R.E.M.)

5. Get my original music out there.  I have many songs and instrumental pieces, and they’re tired of being cooped up.

6. Draft Deirdre of the Sorrows.

My 2011 resolutions follow the K.I.S.S. acronym; that is, Keep It Simple, Stupid.  So there you have it.  We’ll see, this time next year, how I did.

Happy New Year, everybody!  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll blog more.  I’ve missed it.  But there’s that time thing again, and I’ll have to see what I can do.

We got snow last week.  Check it out.  The prettiest place for snow is on the mountain.

Catching Up (or trying to)

Catching Up (or trying to)

I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long.  Time has really gotten away from me.  *blinks*, is 2010 already half-gone?  Or nearly so?  It simply can’t be!

Sigh.  Plea to time:  SLOW DOWN, why don’t ya!?

Let’s see — first off, my friend Gwen Mitchell bestowed upon me the Soulmate Award.  Thanks, Gwennie!

It comes with four rules:

1. Five recipients.
2. Make up something about the people you give the award to.
3. Link to the people you give it to.
4. Link back to the original award post.

Bwahahaha. *rubbing hands together*  Here we go:

Dorothy Bumber.  She and I, kindred spirits, both have faeries who live in our gardens and tend our flowers and veggies.

Ann Pino.  Her rabbit, Cadbury, and my cat, MaoMao, are one and the same, and their secret lies in shapeshifting.  And in all seriousness, please check out Ann’s newly released novel, Maelstrom.  It rocks — quite literally. One heck of a fun read.

Susan Helene Gottfried.  Trevor and Mitchell, from her fictional band ShapeShifter, are actually real people, and they like to come over and jam with me while I play my piano.

Jannie Funster.  She and I are twins separated at birth — storytellers and musicians who tell stories through our music and make music via our stories, and we commune on projects whilst we dream.

Leah Utas.  We are both ardent mountain climbers and are looking forward to the challenge of Mt. Everest.

And speaking of awards, my friend Paige gave me the Happiness 101 Award.  Cool beans, and thank you!

As part and parcel of this award, I must tell ten things that make me happy.  Not hard at all, I assure you.  I’ll even provide photo illustrations, where appropriate. ;)

1.  Watching the garden grow.  Or should I say, explode.  We used fertilizer this year, and well… talk about some huge vegetation.  The cabbage plants are enormous, and the potato plants are twice as tall this year as last.  And though I feared we’d have a dry spring, we’ve gotten fairly decent rain.

Check out this garden.  Soon we’ll be getting all kinds of yummies, and in the meantime, we’ll keep picking the bugs off the potato plants.

Our potato plants (hopefully, you can’t see the bugs):

Broccoli plant working on a floret:

Ginormous cabbage plants:

Green bean plants that are already climbing their wires:

Tomato plants, already hanging full of developing tomatoes:

And sprouting corn:

2.  Hiking.  I’m not a writer who can do constant BIC (butt-in-chair).  I consider myself productive, actually quite driven, but I’ve got to get out and shake off the mold on a regular basis.  No, on a frequent basis.  And for me, that means going to the mountain.  Every hike is different.  There’s always something new to see.  For example, fresh ghost flowers, growing in the same location as the old ones from last year, which are still standing like mummified matchsticks.  As you can see, the new ones are just now pushing themselves out of the dirt.  Ghost flowers are fascinating — rare and strange and lovely.  You can read more about them here.

Thanks to recent rain, the tadpoles on the mountain are thriving and still have a well-watered pond.  Here’s a tadpole hanging out in a skeletonized leaf:

Soon, there’ll be scrumptious snacking on the mountain — behold, blackberries in development.  In my appetite for blackberries, I rival any black bear.

The forest looks particularly lush after a spring rain.

The mountain laurel is starting to bloom.  Here are the first blossoms I’ve seen, this warm season.  The rest of the laurel will soon follow suit.

And no series of spring-on-the-mountain pictures would be complete without a dazzling drift of daisies.

3.  Writing novels.  I’m proud of myself, having recently completed first-pass revisions to Heart’s Chalice.  But much work remains to be done on that novel.  I’m going to let it bake for the rest of June, then come July, I will dive, in earnest, into second-pass revisions.  This story has been a long time coming together, but I believe — hope — it’ll be worth the wait.

During June, I’ll brainstorm rewrites to House on Bear Branch, to be retitled Deirdre of the Sorrows.  I also have a completed novel, Patchwork Stained Glass, on my plate, on which I have put final polish.  And more novels are bubbling in the constantly-churning stew of my mind.  Stay tuned for updates.

4.  Writing short fiction.  Check out my story blog, Grace Notes, to read flash fiction based on my novel-in-progress, Heart’s Chalice.  I haven’t updated Grace Notes in a while, because I’ve been focused on revising the actual novel.  Another consideration — I don’t want to tap out Heart’s Chalice short fiction before the book can come out.  But I will be writing short fiction again, you can count on it — whether about Heart’s Chalice, or another novel.

5. Playing piano and writing music.  While my inner editor has been ruthlessly whacking at my novel, my muse has come out to indulge my other great artistic passion:  music.  I’m entering a new songwriting phase, and I’m finding it particularly delightful.  At some point (hopefully soon), I plan on recording my music and making it available online.

6.  Ballicai.  In other words, my much-loved cats.

Marilyn MonREOW:

Dorydoo:

Brainball and MaoMao:

7.  Writing and reading poetry.  Often, my poems become song lyrics.  If they’re sufficiently lyrical and rhythmic, that is.

8.  Studying philosophy.  I’ve been doing quite a bit of that lately.  Everything from ancient Greek thought to modern philosophers.  The meaning of philosophy is “love of wisdom”, and that’s a direction I seek to grow: in wisdom.

9. Blogging.  Yes, I still enjoy blogging, even if time is passing too quickly, I keep crazy-busy, and I don’t wind up blogging as often as I would like.  I’m fairly active on Facebook, and from time to time, on Twitter.

10.  Love and friendship.  Speak for themselves, in a way which can’t be done justice in words.