Saturday, April 30, 2011

April is the Cruelest Month?

In his famous poem, "The Wasteland," acclaimed poet (and St. Louis native) T.S. Eliot wrote:

"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

In many ways, April 2011 has not only been cruel, but devestating. Mother Nature showed her raw fury on Good Friday with the tornado that caused damage and destruction in Missouri and Illinois. Thankfully, no one was injured. Sadly, the tornadoes that whipped through the South last week left death as well as destruction. All who have been affected by these storms are in my prayers.

I was also saddened to find out that last week, New York Times bestsetting author Beverly Barton passed away from a massive heart attack. Beverly was a "steel magnolia" from Alabama and a robust and sassy romantic suspense author whose books I've reviewed, as well as interviewed for Although I never met Beverly in person, after reviewing so many of her books and reading her answers to my interview questions, I felt as if I knew her--and I respected her as a writer.

That's the sad news about this past month.

Now for the good news:

My lilac bushes by the front porch are blooming, and their sweet fragrance greets me every day.

This week, my husband and our grandson spent time out at our country place in Osage County. Our grandson is on spring break. With all the rain, the Gasconade River (which abuts our property) is up, but it didn't keep them from having fun. The found several pounds of morel mushrooms and saw turkeys and deer. I can't wait until they come home later today day so I can see all the pictures they took.

My granddaughter had a good month, too. In the middle of the month she traveled to Columbia after winning first place and the right to represent this district in a state-wide leadership conference. Her soccer team won 1st place in a local conference and her team was undefeated (until last night). The team that defeated them last night "played dirty," with slide tackles and faking injuries when our players had breakaways. And sadly, one of her teammates was injured and had to be carried off the field.

April was also a good month for members of my critique group.

Alice Muschany won a 1st, a 2nd, and a 3rd place award in the sponsor and chapter categories at the Missouri Writers' Group Conference. Marcia Gaye won a 1st and a 2nd place in the sponsor and category awards at the same conference.

Claudia Shelton, also a member of my critique group received outstanding news. She is a finalist in the Daphne Du Mauier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense. Her unpublished category suspense (Please Be Careful) was among the five finalists. Keep your fingers crossed.

April was a productive month for me personally:

* I won 1st place in the President's Award category for Best Short Story at the MWG conference this month for published short stories. My story, "Criminal Minds," had been published in Hot Flash Mommas, A Shaker of Margaritas by Mozark Press.
* My personal essay "Read Away Vacation" was published in Flashlight Memories by Silver Boomer Books.
* Two of my short stories have been accepted for anthologies to be published later this year.
* I finished three reviews and two interviews for and

And finally, who could not be swept up by the pagentry, drama--and yes love--of the Royal Couple, William and Kate, in yesterday's ceremony in London?

Now that April is behind us, with its mixed memories and desires, I wish you all a wonderful month of May.


  1. So interesting that you used that quote today - I have been reading Louise Penny mysteries this month to distract myself, and the one I just finished also used that quote. It was a cruel month in many ways, and it was so for me too in some ways. Yet as you say, there is always yin for the yang, and we have to remember to be grateful for what is good. YOU had a great month with your writing - congratulations on all your achievements. I look forward to getting back to normal writing now that the A to Z challenge is over and life is hopefully, settling back into a normal flow. Though what normal is, I have no idea!

  2. Let's focus on the positives -- and you've got plenty. CONGRATS on reaching your Write1Sub1 goals this month!

  3. Congrats on all the considerable good news!

  4. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks. Anyone who was brave enough to take the A to Z challenge has my respect.

    Hi Milo,
    Yep! I didn't include that one accomplishment in my post because it gets special attention in the Write1/Sub1 box.

    Hi Vicky,
    Thanks. Hope you had a good month as well.

  5. Hi Donna,
    This was an action-packed month all right. But writing-wise you have accomplished so much. Congrats, and may I say, you deserve it.

    And thanks for the mention including our awards at the MWG conference contests. (In fairness, I won a 1st and 3rd (not 2nd).)It was a lot of fun entering - and more fun winning!

    -Marcia Gaye

  6. Donna,
    You are amazing, and I don't know how you keep up with all you do. Congratulations on all of your upcoming publications and for the accomplishments of your wonderful grandchildren.

  7. Hi Marcia,
    I can fix that, and congratulations on your two wins yesterday!

    Hi Linda,
    You are so sweet. Grandkids are a special gift from God.


  8. I have a graduating senior and April has been beyond busy. Our good news is receiving a 4 year recurring scholarship. On the weather front we have been so dry our hazard has been grass fires. Prayers of compassion for those suffering and thanks for the joys experienced.

  9. Hi Sally,
    Congratulations on your GREAT news.

    Prayers that you can get some of our rain to prevent grass fires.



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