Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Sometimes it just happens. I woke up this morning and painted for an hour, then wrote a 4 part flash fiction story, sent it off to a magazine and wrote some more. You gotta do stuff when it strikes you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I placed three more flash fiction pieces with FLASHSHOT – no scheduled dates for publication yet, but look for these titles in September/October: ARTIST'S MODEL; IF YOU FEED THEM,THEY'LL STAY and WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
I worked a bit on the novel this month, but it's slow going as I am stuck on one of those pivotal plot points and can't make up my mind. Sometimes you come to that literary fork in the road and can't decide which way to go. Yes, I know: I should write BOTH – but really, who has that kind of time? Oh, yeah, that's right - I do. Sigh.

Okay, maybe I'll write it both ways and see what happens.

The problem with that approach is that sometimes both ideas work out and you have to choose between 100 pages of something that works and 100 pages of something else that works. Worst case is the Time Wasting Effort in which you produce 100 pages of something that doesn't work and another 100 pages of crap. That's just plain depressing.

So it's back to 100 word flashes that either work right off or get deleted.
Here's a sample of one of my recent flash pieces – this was published in FLASHSHOT on July 6th 2009:

Daily Genre Flash Fiction
By Kate Thornton

"Sorry, no casino," the man at the desk said.

Michele blinked. What kind of local tribe had no casino?

"Stay for lunch, we have the Breadbasket Buffet, Buffalo Grill, and Corn
Doll Café."

She chose the café and ordered soda, pizza and chocolate cake.

Her waitress smiled. The resort was the old Chief's idea, just something

to keep everyone busy.

From the top floor, the view was reservation land planted thick with corn.

A train of tanker cars stretched from the processing plant.

There was no need to build a casino, not with the ultimate revenge -
high-fructose corn syrup.

copyright 2009 Kate Thornton
That's a sample – quick and to the point, under 100 words and with a grin at the end if possible.

Pros of Flash Fiction:
It's quick and easy to read
It gives the writer immediate satisfaction

It takes as much time to write short as it does to write long
It is a bitch staying under 100 words and still painting the whole beginning-middle-end picture
Characters must be drawn fully in only a few words

But I love the puzzle of it, the challenge. Sometimes I'll write a 500 word piece, then edit it down to 75 or 100 words just for practice. There's nothing as satisfying as a concise sentence with exactly the right words. It's hard to do.

Practice it – take a "what if" idea ("Hey, what if that guy over there trying to operate his new Blackberry is really more than 800 years old?") turn it on a plot point ("The very old guy with the Blackberry discovers that his ancient fingers can text, if he goes slowly. But his messages can only be deciphered by other 800 year olds on the planet.") and write it out so it makes sense. Then trim it to 100 words.

See? Not easy…

Writing is difficult and takes a lot of time, but it's a breeze next to painting.

This month I will pick up 2 pieces from Bunny Gunner's SUMMERTIME show and 2 pieces from the da Center for the Arts WATER show. I will drop off 2 pieces for Ashley Ashley's GONE FISHIN' show. I am working on a larger piece for the HEAVY METAL show and a large piece for no show in particular.

I am still experimenting with my painting style, although I seldom stray from my compulsion shape, that ubiquitous circular thing I am forced to put in every painting.

But it has been so hot lately that I have had trouble with my paints – I work in oils and use a quick drying glaze medium to thin them for transparency. It means stuff dries too fast in the heat. If I thin with oil, then I lose the texture I need and the stuff never dries. I keep plugging away at it, though.

And I had an idea about the 2 pictures from the SUMMERTIME show. I did 4 pictures for the show, but only sent 2. I think I want to have all 4 framed on a black background – sorta like my "LEARNING THE NUMBERS 1-10" (shown in photo below between OBIE & AMY) only not vertically, but in quadrants. It won't be cheap, but I think it will look great. The pictures are about heat.


We had a few friends over for drinks last week – it was fun. Here 's a pic of OBIE LOAGUE and his friend AMY. OBIE owns the Sugar Rush Café & Gallery and AMY bought one of my "NAM'S RED DOOR" series paintings.

Here's JER in the Eames chair and that's BRUCE EMERTON 's friend FREDDIE waving. That's BRUCE EMERTON and LINDA GARNER in the background.

I love having company – next time maybe a full-fledged party – or maybe just several evenings of different guests.


The Summer Orchids in full bloom. Okay, the whole patio – pretty in the daytime, a magical place at night.

Drinks at DBA 256 on Fourth Saturday – with Jer, Linda Garner, John Clifford of Pomona Heritage and of course Tibbi, proprietor extraordinnaire.

We dragged one of the large rubber tree plants into the house too – indoor/outdoor living!

Be careful out there!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: The Last Few Months of Painting, Art, Writing and Surgery

I guess my twice-yearly update should be something momentous, but one of the reasons I have not updated since April of 2009 is that I have been busy with the minutia of life.


Okay, lots of painting. I had pieces at the dA Center for the Arts in the past few exhibitions. Someone nice bought my fund-raiser plate, "Jungle Chicken" before I had a chance to photograph it, but take my word, it was pretty weird. Someone else bought one of my very favorite paintings, "IN THE TIME BETWEEN", from the Members Show at the dA Center.

Over at SUGAR RUSH CAFÉ & GALLERY, I sold "NAM'S RED DOOR" which was exhibited at the dA's SIMPLY RED SHOW in February of this year. The buyer phoned me for the story on the painting and I was touched and delighted that someone wanted to know more about it.
Obie, the gallery owner at Sugar Rush, asked if I had more like it as it generated a lot of attention. As a matter of fact, it was part of a series I did on dreams of the
red door of a Vietnamese bar across the road from Ft MacArthur in my old Army days. I'll be delivering 2 of them to Obie next week when I get the wires on the back.

Currently on exhibition at SUGAR RUSH are several paintings, including my PATTERN RECOGNITION series from the SQUARE FOOT exhibit at the FIFTY BUCKS GALLERY and my tribute to one of my favorite painters, Fr. Bill Moore, "EVENING WITH FATHER BILL."

Coming up: 2 paintings in the H2O Show at the dA, a couple of paintings at BUNNY GUNNER GALLERY for the Second Saturday opening of the SUMMERTIME show and paintings for Ashley Ashley's GONE FISHIN' show.

On the enjoyment front, I was delighted by the recent show at FIFTY BUCKS GALLERY, PET SYMMETRY with knockout works by Jen Wilkins and Juan Thorp. One of Juan's painting was his proposal of marriage to Susie Eaton – I hear they are planning a February wedding at the dA Center for the Arts, and the gallery show will be SIMPLY WED instead of the usual SIMPLY RED show. Sigh – ain't love grand?

I heard my DH, Jerry, bought us a painting by Jay Merryweather at BUNNY GUNNER GALLERY, a surprise birthday treat. (My birthday was the same day as the dA' s 25th and just a day or two from Susie Eaton's of BUNNY GUNNER.) I think we can pick it up this week!

It was a great birthday – I celebrated for weeks: tea at the Huntington Library with special friend Nan, lunch at Akbar's in Pasadena with special friend Chris, lunch in El Segundo with special friend Trollman, lunch with Jerry and Brad at Sugar Rush and a Swedish Midsummer Festival Party in Pasadena with hosts par excellence, Tama & Johan, under the Swedish moon. Here's Brad at Sugar Rush...


I wrote three flash stories for FLASHSHOT magazine.
A SURE THING will be published July 6th
MARK DECIDES ON A CAREER IN PLUMBING will be published July 19th
NOSE JOB will be published August 5th
Check out FLASHSHOT and get fresh microfiction delivered every morning for free! (And you can read stories you have missed in the ARCHIVES)
I am trying to finish a nice crime story or three by several anthology deadlines. My story, CELL PHONE did not make it into the
Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime's forthcoming anthology, MURDER IN LA-LA LAND. They sent out rejections to everyone I know who submitted, but I have yet to see a list of who or what that got in. I've had a story in the past three out of four collections – it's blind submission, so there's no hanky-panky, just inexplicable editorial choice.

It will be making the rounds of all the usual places as soon as I get some time.

I'll be hosting a short story seminar at the BURBANK CENTRAL LIBRARY sponsored by the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime:

110 N. Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank CA
Tuesday, September 1st
7 to 9pm
Come and learn techniques for beginning as well as experienced writers!


I had a septoplasty in May as my nasal passages were blocked (a congenital defect shared with my brother.) I had a wonderful surgeon, but it was painful, healed slowly, and was very messy – I'll spare you the blood-and-everything details. If I had known it was going to be that difficult, I probably wouldn't have done it. That's why my brother assured me it was a piece of cake – he knew I really needed to have it done. A six-week recovery was topped off by a virulent stomach 'flu and a blinding (literally) migraine. But now that it's all over, I feel great and breathe much better.


All the summer orchids are blooming, some for a second time! The phaelenopsis & oncidium beauties are gorgeous. My brother and his wife will be visiting over the Fourth of July weekend. They've been on the road for a vacation for the past month and we are the last stop before they return home to Yuma, AZ. When they go on the road, they go on the road! They visited Montana & Idaho, among other places.

Friends at the FIFTY BUCKS GALLERY – also friends at the American Legion Hall (yes I'm a Legionnaire!)

Be careful out there!