15 January 2012

Back from Residency!

We are the Troublemakers!!!!
 (Shirts in honor of Mike Arnzen. See here!
Hi everyone! Residency at Seton Hill University ended Wednesday night and as soon as I finished my five hour drive home, I collapsed and caught up on sleep for the next couple of days. My brain is only just now starting to turn back on.

This residency (my fourth) counts as probably one of my more interesting ones to date. Lots of random things to keep it entertaining!

I made a more significant effort to socialize (believe it or not, I have difficulties with this), I was more assertive in my writing workshops (with both critiques and rebuttals), and I brought with me to res a nifty costume for the Wine Social, as well as my harp, so I could practice playing it in front of lots of people. All of this in addition to several three-hour course modules and special guest presentations from authors Sophie Littlefield, Rachael Herron, and Juliet Blackwell. Busy, busy, busy!

Anita Blake, The Mad Hatter, and Belle

There was so much going on at this residency that I'm struggling to remember most of it. Thankfully I take copious notes (I'm old school, so they're handwritten) that I can look over to jog my memory. I know that I got some great feedback on my novel, not only from the workshop, but from the modules themselves, where we got to share some of our work and ideas with our fellow students and authors.

I was the queen of miscommunication at this residency, and ended up standing up my mentor on two separate occasions just because I didn't pay attention or forgot things. That was pretty embarrassing. But I appeased with alcohol and impressed with harp playing.  I like the idea of impressing Scott Johnson (the man's a legend; check out author Carla Anderton's graduation speech), but I need to do it by turning in quality work to him each month and making this novel the best I can make it.

I got some validation that my hard work is paying off. My novel received several gasps, grins, and nods for some plot points I revealed in class, and even a highly coveted, "Stop! Don't tell me what happens next, I want to read it!" (Thank you, Monica Schryver! You have no idea, that made my month! You and Kirsty Smith both!)

And probably what's even more exciting...I'm beginning to find that my work (my writing) speaks for me. People remember what I've written...even if it's from two or three residencies ago. They ask me if I've gotten further along on the project, and they can't wait to see more from me. This is hard to do when you are a bit on the shy side (or socially awkward side), so the fact that people are able to place my name to my writing (without me shoving it in their face, overtly promoting it, or talking very much about it) is a huge deal. Really! I know I'm being bragadacious right now, but I can't contain my excitement about it!

The first night I arrived at residency I showing my new crit partner Ryan to some of the faces of Seton Hill, and when I introduced author Anne Harris I'd mentioned I had a few workshops with her and that she's top notch. Anne remembered my work! She was able to recall that this term's sub was a continuation of a previous term's sub, and I said something along the lines of "Wow! You remembered! That's a really good sign!" And she responded with something to the effect of, "Yes, that is a good sign." 

People can remember what I write. Which means...I am writing memorable fiction. Which is nothing short of awesome, and it means I have to keep up the good work and not only meet but surpass expectations. It's going to be hard work, but I'm going to do it!

And last but not least....I went to Seton Hill's chapel for the first time and was gobsmacked by how enormous and beautiful it is. It reminds me of some of the churches I visited in Europe. Here's a couple pictures:
Image (cc) KEB
Image (cc) KEB
That's about the most I can remember of this residency. That, and Dr. Wendland giving me a nice smooch on the cheek for playing my harp during the graduation reception. I may bring the harp in June and do the reception thing again, with or without the promise of kisses.

Now it's back to the grindstone...not just the novel, but with classes and academic reading. Friends and family, I now retreat to my desk in the corner. I'll resurface in a few months.

In the meantime, you can check my pulse by checking out my website. I still plan to post regularly during this jam-packed (and admittedly tough) semester.

Stay tuned!


  1. I love the photos! And this is a great post...good memories here. And you will kill this semester. :)

  2. Oh, hooray everyone! Thanks for your positivity and support!


Want to add to the conversation? Please leave a comment. As you are a guest in my house, I reserve the right to moderate. Comments that are disrespectful, irrelevant, or spam will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding.