Monthly Archives: January 2012

Nonfiction Bragging – Front Porch at the Independent Weekly

Would you like to know how good of a year 2012 has been so far? This is the second time I’ve had to replace one of my planned bragging posts with a just published one instead!  Let’s hope this is a trend that continues.

This week, I’m directing you to an essay I wrote for our local independent newspaper, sensibly named the Independent Weekly, or the Indy if you’re a local. The Front Porch column is open to readers to send in 500-word essays on any topic, and it’s often a great place to get a sense of what others in the community are thinking about or just taste a little slice of someone’s life. This week, it’s my life you can dig into, or at least my opinions on the running craze and the constant fundraisers around us. Here is your teaser:

On Facebook, I complete the circle of life every day by reading the status updates of friends and acquaintances. Births, weddings, deaths, more births: They’re all there on display. Lately, it seems, there’s a new element of living that I’d previously neglected. I’m talking about races, the running kind—anything that ends in “-athlon,” “-K” or red-faced racers clutching their stomachs as they breathlessly pass a finish line.

Ostensibly, it’s both the method of choice to raise money for every known charity and the trendiest way to announce a transition from out-of-shape blob to exercise hound. Watching from the sidelines, it’s a little bewildering . . .

For the rest of the Front Porch, either pick up a free copy of the Indy at pretty much any coffee shop and many local businesses or head over to the web version. Thanks for reading!

Interview Bragging: WOW! Women on Writing!

Two weeks ago, I posted the first in my series of self-promotional blogs on Thursdays, titled the Bragging series, because I always feel less self-conscious about anything if I just embrace it fully. This week, I’m pointing you toward the interview I did with WOW! Women on Writing as part of placing third with the story I shared two weeks ago, Last Complaint. Here’s a little snippet from the interview where I describe what some of my thoughts were in forming the main character:

WOW: That’s so true. Creating a hook that keeps readers invested is the goal. Your creation of the main character is brilliant. She’s self-centered, lonely, demanding, and vulnerable. That’s a powerful combination. What does her attitude say about the state of humanity?

Rebecca: Since she spent her life not taking other people’s feelings into consideration, she essentially removed herself from humanity and they no longer wish to consider her feelings, either. Through rejecting the simple human connection that comes from things as basic as treating the people around you with respect, she has essentially lost the right to that same treatment herself. Not that I want people to read about a murder and cheer on her death, per se, but I do like that it’s a bit of a comeuppance for her and the way she’s lived her life.
Read the rest of the interview here. If you do, you’ll learn about my other motivations for writing Last Complaint (hint: they aren’t that deep), why I started this blog in the first place, and my long and sordid history with General Hospital. This was the first interview I did regarding writing, and it’s still one of my favorites, even if I gave the dreaded “Write, write, write” answer for what advice to give new writers. I still hang my head in shame when I remember it.

Nonfiction Bragging: 604 West Morgan Review for WRAL Out and About

Last Thursday, my first post for WRAL’s Out and About–their blog on the Triangle’s entertainment, food, and nightlife–went live, and I didn’t even realize it! If I had, you can bet I’d have let you all know about it then. I’ll be contributing a couple more pieces for WRAL during the course of the year, and I look forward to it! This first one is on 604 West Morgan, a fancy and delicious Italian restaurant hidden in downtown Durham’s warehouse district. Here is your teaser:

I have a compulsion when dining out in the Triangle – I must try a new place every time! We are spoiled with amazing options, and I’m lucky enough to have friends just as excited to try them all as I am.

My dining companions on this particular evening all work in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, so we wanted somewhere nearby. The usual suspects like Revolution, Rue Cler and Dos Perros were quickly eliminated – we’d all been to them before!

Where we hadn’t been is an Italian restaurant just half a mile away in the redeveloped West Village warehouses. Unless you happened to glance into the courtyard between the Flowers Warehouse and Cooper Shop buildings as you walked down Fernway or Morgan streets, you wouldn’t know 604 West Morgan was tucked away inside.

For the rest of the review, and pictures, head to the post!

Fiction Bragging–Last Complaint

I wouldn’t call it a resolution, but I am attempting to do a better job of that self-promotion part of writing. I hate self-promotion. I want people to magically find all my published work, become instant dedicated fans, and beg me to create more stories for them. Funny enough, that doesn’t happen on its own! Or at least not at this stage in my career. But this stage in my career is actually pretty awesome, because I’ve been published several times now, and that’s a huge building block in terms of ego and confidence to keep going.

Here’s my plan: I’m going to point you all to my published pieces one by one in case you missed them the first time they were published. I’ll report links to my interviews on other blogs as well, maybe revel in that time—ok, two times now—that Durham magazine interviewed me on the Triangle dining scene or those times—ok, two times now—that the Independent Weekly mentioned my name. Eventually, I’ll even  tell you all about how I’m writing the occasional post for WRAL Out and About, the first of which will be coming out soon. Yes, I’ve known that for weeks, submitted my first review last week, and I still haven’t told the interwebs about it—I really am that bad at self-promotion, folks.

Consider this the first installment in my bragging series, to be posted at least every other Thursday. Our first installment is Last Complaint, a horror short story that won me third place in WOW! Women on Writing’s Flash Fiction contest back in 2009. In it, a grumpy old woman finds out that airing her grievances isn’t always the wisest plan. Here are the first few paragraphs:

She parks her station wagon under the “No Vacancy” sign. This is the first inn she’s passed since dinner at that horrible truck stop diner. Her bowl of clam chowder had been lukewarm and the waitress had the gall to try and make her pay for it. She doubts she’ll be treated any better at this place, but she can feel her eyelids drooping.

“Bellboy!” she yells into the dark lot. No one comes. She sighs, then pulls out her suitcase and wheels it towards the small front office that glows with a pale green fluorescence.

“Can I help you?” grunts the middle-aged man wearing a stained gray uniform at the desk. He flips the channel on an old television set that’s perched on the countertop behind him.

“I need a room,” she says. “How much?”

“We’re full up. No vacancy,” he gestures towards the sign outside then stares at her, his mouth hanging open.

“That’s ridiculous,” she insists. “I have a nephew who manages a Hyatt.” She waits for this to affect him but his expression does not change. She continues, unperturbed, “There are always extra rooms available, that’s what he told me.  Even at the Hyatt.”

To continue reading, head here, and scroll down the page about halfway. You’ll find my picture and the rest of Last Complaint there. This picture was not taken with the story in mind, but it captures the mood of the latter half of the story, stumbling through a dark hallway half asleep.

Enjoy! And let me know what you thought.