Monday, October 23, 2017

Nature vs. Nachos... & a Special Annoucement

Mindy Tarquini is the author of Hindsight (SparkPress, 2016), a gadget slave, and an upmarket fiction writer with a weakness for quirky characters and magical realism. Her second novel, The Infinite Now (SparkPress), releases tomorrow and is available through all the typical venues. Mindy is very excited about the launch. She is celebrating by working on her third novel.

Today she joins us with a guest blog post. Then read on for a very special announcement.

Nature vs. Nachos

Lao Tzu said, Nature does not hurry, yet all things are accomplished.
Who is Lao Tzu? I had the same question. And Google. It turns out Lao-Tzu was a Chinese Philosopher credited with developing Taoism.
Oh. What’s Taoism?

 Living in harmony with the Tao, which is an ordering principle that makes cosmic harmony possible. (Per
Which means what?
That nature doesn’t hurry, yet all things are accomplished. And by their deadlines.
And that’s great if you’re a buttercup. Or a mighty oak. Neither has any ability to fight their natural imperatives. Allowed to proceed without obstruction, they achieve their goals. Not like us.
There’s that Girl Scout meeting we promised to lead, the Bake Sale that needs four dozen Halloween-themed cookies, and, well…it’s Nacho Night.
The phone rings, our texts beep, our damned garage doors let us know they are opening and closing. Sheesh, even my air conditioner feels the need to remind me when it needs a new filter.
The laptop is open, the word processor primed, but Facebook sent a notice. Oh, and that webinar on how to write efficiently starts in 15 minutes, and omg! Is this NOT the cutest little journal for listing my story ideas, my character sketches, store my coupons and chart my weight and calorie goals? Look! It’s covered in butterflies and wistful sayings and comes with felt-tip pens (neon colors!) to highlight my inspirations.
These are not obstacles; they are distractions. And while the distractions happen, guess what doesn’t?
Your novel. Your short story. Your web page. Your social media setups. Your necessary research and reading. Your everything you truly would rather be doing, but for some reason are not.
Because you aren’t Nature. You’re a writer, the protagonist in your own play and so used to putting protagonists through the wringer, you don’t know what to do when your own way forward is not choked with prickly pear.
Just stop.
Do you only have fifteen minutes? Write a page. Do you only have five? Write a paragraph. How about one? Write a sentence.
Do you not have your word doc or Scrivener with you? Then jot down subplots, note the character’s motivations, gather those dangling plot threads. Go ahead, look up something you need to know, then write down what you learn.

But wait, you left the cool bullet-pointed-multi-colored-journal-you-had-a-take-a-course-to-understand at home?
Do you not have a note-taking app downloaded to your phone?
Oh. Yeah.
So long as those ideas and descriptions, those turns of phrases, and to-do lists are bouncing around in your head, they will never be anything more than a frustration. Once written, they become something to work with, either a good idea, or a bad idea, either something to be kept or something to be discarded.
It doesn’t matter their color coding; it matters they are written down, brain-dumped, listed so they can be considered.
The cookies are baking, you have a few minutes. The phone has voicemail, you can pick it up later. And the nachos? That’s what takeout is for. When our paying jobs need attention, we give it, so why do we put writing at the bottom of the list? Our jobs are what we must do. Our writing is what we want to do.
And it won’t get done if we busy ourselves with all the things we think we need to before we can do it, or in order to do it, or to get ourselves into the right headspace to do it.
Nature does not hurry because Nature is always working toward its goal. That’s why all things are accomplished.
How about you?


Spinetingler Magazine announces that it will begin regular publication of a print magazine. The long-running eZine will continue to publish web content between print issues. The first issue will be published in November 2017 by Down & Out Books.

“As is true in life, the events of the past have a tendency to influence our actions in the future,” said Sandra Ruttan, co-editor of Spinetingler Magazine. “It is the support of our readers that has enabled us to return with this print edition. With their continued support we hope to be able to continue to bring exceptional short fiction and features to you for years to come.”

“I am a life-long fan of short crime fiction,” said Eric Campbell, publisher of Down & Out Books. “And when Sandra and Jack Getze, her co-editor, approached me about putting out a print edition of Spinetingler Magazine, I didn’t hesitate. The variety of features and quality of stories is exceptional.”

The Fall 2017 edition of Spinetingler Magazine will feature original stories by Tracy Falenwolfe, Karin Montin, Jennifer Soosar, BV Lawson, Nick Kolakowski, David Rachels, and more. There are author snapshots of Con Lehane, Rusty Barnes, Mindy Tarquini, and others. Book features and reviews fill out the magazine’s pages.

About Spinetingler Magazine: Founded in 2005 by K. Robert Einarson and Sandra Ruttan, the ezine ( was later acquired by Jack Getze and transitioned to an ongoing publication format online. 
About Down & Out Books: Celebrating six years as an independent publisher of award-winning literary and crime fiction, Down & Out Books ( is based in Tampa, Florida. For more information about the magazine, or to request an interview with the editors or publisher, contact

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