Danica's Eye - Photograph copyright Rhonda Parrish

Facelift

Danica's Eye - Photograph copyright Rhonda ParrishIt was time. This blog needed a facelift, so yesterday instead of tackling anything on my freaking epic to-do list, I changed up the blog’s layout. Because that is how I roll πŸ˜‰

So now it’s all new and different and I’m trying to stop tweaking things and give it some time so I can get used to it and decide if I like it LoL

There’s an annoying thing that has happened to the most recent dozen or so blog posts I made though. See, first I installed a free version of this layout, and then went through all the blog posts that would show on my front page and set featured images for them. I had to do that, you see, in order to have thumbnails show up on the front page. That wasn’t a big deal except that as soon as I set the featured image the blog post incorporated that image into itself. Still not a big deal, it just meant I had to delete the original occurrence of the picture so that there wouldn’t be duplicates.

But then I decided to upgrade the theme to a paid version.

Once I did that the blog stopped automatically integrating the featured images into the blog posts they are associated with >_<

There is an option I can select which will make them start doing that again, but really, I’d rather they didn’t (as it gives me more control over where the pictures go) but also, I’m too lazy to go back through the last twelve posts to re-add the pictures. So if you happen to look at some of the older posts and you’re going ‘Uh, no pictures?’, well, now you know why.

Other than that and the usual number of little bumps along the road the transition has been pretty smooth.

So what do you think of my new layout? Love it? Hate it? Prefer the old one?

Rhonda Parrish

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Blogging from A to Z 2014

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

So, I’m signed up to do this again this year. Which means I need to get my butt in gear and come up with a theme. I know it doesn’t start until April but I need to pre-schedule at least half of my posts in order to get through with my sanity intact LOL

If you’re not familiar with the Blogging From A to Z Challenge you can learn more about it here.

Published: The Other Side of the Door

My story, The Other Side of the Door, is included in Issue #8 of KZine. I love this story. I love this story.

I wrote it while we were on vacation last year. On this particular evening, we were in Digby Nova Scotia staying at the Come From Away Inn, right by the water. Our room had a balcony that opened up to the ocean and I spent a lot of time out on it looking at all the different kinds of watercraft, taking photos and soaking up the atmosphere. In fact, I wrote The Other Side of the Door the very same night I took this photo from our balcony:

OutOfTheFog

This is also a very personal story to me, which is not to say it’s autobiographical by any means LOL but I did pick bits and pieces from it out of my own childhood. As you can imagine that makes it extra special to me, and makes me both excited and nervous about sharing it with the world. I do hope you’ll check it out though πŸ™‚

KZine #8 available on Amazon

 

Social Media Changes Everything

Social media makes everything different. It really does.

I had a rough few days this week (which means my family did too) that included numerous trips to different doctors, three EKGs, a load of blood tests and spending ten hours in the emergency room.

Spoiler: I’m okay. Not 100% yet, but getting there.

The reason social media comes into this is because I was like… how much do I share? Where do I share it? Does anyone care to hear about these little dramas that afflict my life, or is sharing that just attention-whoring? If I do tell the story, what angle do I take? “Shit be scary”, “Emergency rooms are an amazing study of human nature”, “Just the facts, ma’am”, “Ten freaking hours in emerg?!?!” or something totally different?

Ten years ago these things wouldn’t have ever occurred to me. I would have called my Mom (once things were resolved probably–I wouldn’t want to worry her) and possibly emailed a couple friends, but mostly people would have learned, or not learned, about my little scare slowly over weeks and months as we ran into one another socially. That’s all different now.

I have friends, family and acquaintances online. I have a following. It’s not a big one LOL but it exists.

That all changes things.

Now I have to figure out what to share, how much of it to share, and where to share it. The Twitter crowd isn’t the same as the Facebook or blog one…

What about you? Do you have a policy of sorts, or do you figure it out as you go? I’m doing the latter, but seriously thinking about coming up with some sort of policy… even though history has shown I’m not fabulous at sticking to them LoL

Anyway, I’m back at work, though at a slightly slower pace than usual. So if you were waiting to hear from me you ought to soon πŸ™‚

Every Day Poets Logo

Published: Their Closet Existence

I felt like I should go take a photograph of my closet to go with the announcement but after about half a second of thought I dismissed that idea LoL

My poem, “Their Closet Existence” was published today on Every Day Poets. On its surface this is a poem about mine and Jo’s closet, but on a deeper level I think it’s about who we are. Deep or shallow, I am really proud of this poem and I hope you’ll take a look and give it a read.

Goals for 2014

Each year, like so many other people, I see the changing of the calendar as the perfect time to look back over the past twelve months and set goals for the next ones. It’s super helpful to me and I look back at my goals over and over during the year, whenever I feel myself going off course… They help keep me focused on the things I want to do, motivated when depression decides to rear its ugly head, and give me things to celebrate when I achieve them. Also? Posting them publicly helps make me feel accountable to someone (that would be you lol) and serves as motivation for the thing that is my motivation. Whee!

Because these goals are so integral to my life, I set them in a lot of categories, not just writing. It seems like a lot, but it works for me.

Health

  • No drinking pop. Period.
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
  • Run 5k

School

  • This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.

Editing / Publishing

  • Complete Fae and promote the hell out of it.
  • Pursue other anthology ideas
    • I am really, really, really enjoying editing anthologies right now and I’d like to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of 2014.
  • Increase promotion efforts for Metastasis
    • I need to come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion. Not only for Fae and Metastasis, but everything I edit and/or publish. Oh hey!
  • Figure out a way to set concrete goals for promotion. Set concrete goals for promotion.
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if interest exists
  • Publish and promote A is for Apocalypse
  • Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
  • Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
  • Complete the edits on Grammy’s book

Writing

2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!

  • Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
    • By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
  • Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
    • One of these may be one of my pen name projects
  • Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
  • Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
    • Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
  • Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
  • Complete sekkrit collaborative project
  • Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
  • Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
    • …except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered Mondays

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books.
    • Have 25% be non-fiction

Misc

  • Create a publishing website (company name, etc. but only to publish my own projects.)
  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Shoot at least one roll of analog film per month
  • Finish the ship cross stitch I started *mumble* years ago
  • Complete the top of the quilt I’m doing in memory of my mother and post it on JoFigure
  • Attend at least two writing conventions

Looking forward, with these goals to help me define the trail, I am really looking forward to 2014. I hope it builds on the momentum that developed in 2013 and just keeps getting better.

ETA: Some goals under Misc.

Wildfire

I’m working pretty hard on the edits for Fae today, but I find that my productivity stays highest if I take little breaks in between to do other stuff. It keeps my mind sharp (ish LOL) and keeps the words from beginning to blur into one another.

One of the things I did today as a break from edits was to go through all the active* pieces I have and decide which ones were due to be trunked. The following poem is one of the condemned, but I like it well enough that I decided to share it here before moving it into the /Retired/Trunked folder. Sadly(happily?) I don’t have a schmexy photo to go with it.

Wildfire

Charred skeleton
reaches blackened limbs,
cutting lines, like lightning
through the slate sky.
From trunk to twig,
flashes of scarlet and orange
pierce and flicker,
marauding across its surface
as ashes drift,
and mingle with dirty snowflakes
which sizzle and snap
then vanish into nothingness.

*stories and poems I’m attempting to find a publisher for

Nanton -- Copyright All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

That Reminds Me…

I watched this video this afternoon (the cat on my lap was *not* impressed, let me tell you) and it made me smile:

My smile had a little something to do with the pissed off cat, a little something to do with the dog in the video and a whole lot to do with memories from my childhood.

As a kid I lived in and around (on farms) a handful of different small towns in southern Alberta. For as long as I can remember my grandmother has lived (and still does) in Nanton, Alberta. We lived there too when I was quite young, from about 4 until 9 or 10. I went to kindergarten in ‘the old school’ there the last year it was open and grade one at A. B. Daley School the first year it opened. When I left my first husband it was Nanton that I moved to with my very young daughter to do the single mother thing, and I lived there for a few years before moving up here to Edmonton to be with Jo.

Many of my happy memories from my childhood in Nanton have to do with summer (let’s just say I never fit in at school LoL).

Nanton used to have a noon whistle. It’s my understanding that it was actually an air raid siren, but since it was peacetime it had been re-purposed. Every day when there was no school (so summer and weekends) my brother, cousins and I were sort of let loose on the town. We had bicycles, a season’s pass to the swimming pool and active imaginations, what more did we need? And every day we knew it was time to come home for lunch when we heard the noon whistle.

Actually, we knew it was time to come home for lunch when we heard every single dog in town begin to howl.

The dogs always started to bark and howl a couple seconds before the siren went off.

I guess they could hear it before we could and it must have hurt their ears, poor things, because let me tell you — no matter where you were in town, when that siren went off, you heard it.

Anyway, that video reminded me of those days. “Simpler” days. You can’t go back, but sometimes it’s nice to remember and smile.

I don’t know when they stopped the noon whistle, but I bet all the animals in town, especially those who lived nearby, were grateful when they did πŸ™‚

Anyway, I just wanted to share that and it was a few too many characters for Twitter or Facebook LOL I’ll try to make my next post writing-related πŸ˜‰

Eve

So I wrote this poem a while back. The bad news is that it’s about as subtle as a cast iron frying pan to the face, which makes it a wee bit tricky to place in a publication. The good news is I still like it, so I’m going to share it here instead of trying to sell it somewhere.

Because I can. :-p

Eve

Eve was the first feminist
biting into that apple
not because of a serpent’s whispers
but as a giant fuck you to
the man trying
to hold her down

Yup, subtle as a frying pan to the face… but I like it πŸ˜‰

In Less Than a Year…

At the beginning of last year Jo, Danica and I made a ‘Good Things Jar’. The idea was that over the course of the year we would write down good things that happened to us and put them in the jar then, at the end of the year, we’d open it up and read all the great things that happened. Our ability to remember to add things to the Good Things Jar was a little spotty, but we did have a dozen or more little pieces of paper in there which we opened up and read over dinner yesterday. It was a lot of fun to relive some of 2013’s little victories.

Just before we had dinner (and thus read through the things in the jar) I learned that Metastasis was the best selling print book for Wolfsinger Publications in 2013.

Let that sink in for just a moment, I’ll wait.

Right. How awesome is that? The best selling print book for 2013! I’m SO pleased.

An interesting thing happened while reading the Good Things Jar notes though. A little piece of paper marked January 2nd said ‘Sold the idea for a speculative cancer anthology to Wolfsinger Publications!’ After we read that Jo said, “Now isn’t that interesting? It went from an idea, to a book, to the best selling print title for your publisher all in a year.”

Isn’t that interesting indeed.

While I’m super pleased to have edited the best selling print title for Wolfsinger Publications in 2013 I’m not done with Metastasis yet. Our sales are good, but they need to be better. They need to be fantastic.

We’ve got a reading coming up with Sandi Leibowitz, Scott Lee Williams, David Sklar and David McLain on February 1st at The Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st Street in Astoria, Queens, New York City) to start, and plans for more events (online and off).

Can we be the best selling print title two years in a row? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Let’s find out…