I’m back at The Orchard Keeper in Speedwell, TN, for a few days. I’m not working on any particular project, just trying to get some decent writing done every day. I arrived around 3:30 or 4 yesterday afternoon, Sunday, and eked out a fiction piece about a guy who sells fireworks. It’s probably not finished, but it does have a beginning, middle, and end. It probably needs a lot of work before it’s submittable for any contests and publications, but I’m not really writing for contests and publications right now. If my blogs from last month ever get put up on my website, you can read my blog about deciding to “hire myself” to be a writer, and how that’s what I’m trying to do right now – just make the time for writing. Then hopefully the craft will become better as I write more and more. 

My goal is to get four blogs done this week, too. This is my third. So there will be this one about writing, then one about summer concerts. Unfortunately, I can’t upload them to my file folder to have them added to my website – even if content was being added right now – because there’s no wi-fi at The Orchard Keeper. There is at The Dollar General a few miles away, though. If I finish all these today and could pick out appropriate photos to accompany them, then I might go ahead and try to have two months’ worth ready to go up at once. We’ll see how adventurous I’m feeling by the end of the four blogs. I hate finding matching photos. That’s honestly the hard part…

But back to writing. There are a few publications that I’d like to try to get things ready for. Some are pretty lofty goals. Ploughshares, Cutleaf, moonShine. I’d love to get some stuff ready and in shape for Black Moon Magazine again – I had a poem in their inaugural issue a couple of years ago and haven’t submitted anything since. They’re a really great publication with super-fine editors! But in order to have things to submit for all of these publications, I need to be writing a lot more so that I have more things on hand to choose from, and to have what is on hand more polished, more finished, more ready to be submitted and judged against other works.

I leave The Orchard Keeper on Friday to attend the Mountain Heritage Lit Fest through Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) on Friday. I’m looking forward to getting to attend a few hours of that event, even though I couldn’t squeeze in the whole weekend due to obligations closer to home on Saturday.

On Saturday, I’ve been invited to speak and sell books at the Kingsport Public Library’s Beyond the Books Festival event. This is their first such happening, and I’m thrilled to be included. A lot of great folks and writer friends will be there – Rita Sims Quillen, Jesse Graves, Michael Cody, Jane Hicks, and many more. I hope that we have a great crowd and that we all sell lots of books!

I also found out week before last that I’ve been accepted at Hindman again this year! I’m especially excited, because this time I made it in short story, which will be taught by Jayne Moore Waldrop. I typically try to play it safe and submit within my comfort zone, Creative Nonfiction. But this year’s piece, “One Last Time,” although based on something that happened, took some fictitious turns. I really like the story and sincerely hope that my classmates do, too, and my instructor. 

Also, I’ll be attending my first Virginia Highlands Festival as an author this year, hanging out at the Appalachian Authors Guild’s tables selling books. I will be there on Friday, July 22, and Sunday, July 31st. I’d love to see your smiling faces, so if you’re in the Abingdon area for the festival, please feel free to come by and see me – and some other amazing Appalachian authors, as well!